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. …

Monday, May 31, 2010

President: All religious groups free to perform positive activity

Antara News, Monday, May 31, 2010 03:28 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has said all religious groups in Indonesia were free to perform their positive activities without being prevented by any party.

In his address at Waisak national holiday to mark the Budha`s birth, enlightenment, and death at Kemayoran Jakarta Fair ground here on Sunday evening, President Yudhoyono said the state acknowledged and respected the rights of all people in the country with various tribes, religions, cultures, and languages.

"I would like to reassert that ours is a democratic county based on people`s sovereignty, and in a democratic country the government guarantees the existence of all groups, religions, isms, and ethnicities," President Yudhoyono said.

According to the head of state, no party in a pluralist country should create discrimination and selfishness without solidarity.

"In our beloved country there should be no group of people feels to be above the other group, because we all a the same level with the same right and responsibility," he added.

Accompanied by Vice President Boediono and a number of cabinet ministers on the occasion, the president said the plurality as a specific characteristic of Indonesia should be maintained in full sincerity and seriousness.

He added that all national elements in the country must be sheltered and protected by by upholding the motto of "Bhineka Tunggal Ika" (The Unity in Diversity).

"It is with slogan of Unity in Diversity that we can manage and develop our nation to be in parallel with other nations," the president said.

The head of state in his address also called on Buddhist community in Indonesia to continue maintaining and developing the noble values of this moderate, tolerant, and pluralist nation.

"Let us build friendship and brotherhood among us in this democratic era to gain a perfect harmony," President Yudhoyono said, expressing hope that the Buddhist community could sow the seed of wisdom and love in the dynamic of the economic and political development.

Three colonial fortresses discovered in Enggano

Antara News, Monday, May 31, 2010 03:17 WIB

Bengkulu (ANTARA news) - Some Enggano islanders, North Bengkulu, discovered the remains of three colonial buildings in two villages.

One of Enggano`s cultural leaders, Basri, said that the sites located at Malakoni and Apoho hamlets, may also have been the remains of what the Dutch, Japanese and British had left.

The local residents had discovered the fortress-like building several years ago with some of its parts damaged by sea water erosion.

At first they were not aware that the remains had a high historical value, until the arrival of a military team which kept building in tact.

Bengkulu military chief Col Putut Winarno said the objects are now being studied by historians of the special team.

The historical forts can become the island`s tourism attraction and needs to be preserved by the government.

Malakoni hamlet chief Tedy Sunardi said that the fortress may have been what was left of the colonial era.

The remote island of Enggano may have been a place where foreign ships made stopovers.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Indonesian film recreates Obama's childhood

Los Angeles Times, by Tanalee Smith, May 29, 2010

American-born Hasan Faruq Ali, who has a white mother and black father and is growing up in Indonesia, has the role of a lifetime playing the young Obama, who lived in Indonesia from age 6 to 10.

American-born Hasan Faruq Ali, who has a white mother and black father, and is growing up in Indonesia, has the role of a lifetime playing the young Obama, who lived in Indonesia from age 6 to 10. Here he practices his pingpong, a sport the young Obama enjoyed (Achmad Ibrahim, Associated Press / May 18, 2010)

Reporting from Bandung, Indonesia Young Barry Obama is struggling with his pingpong shot.

Or rather, 12-year-old Hasan Faruq Ali is struggling to play left-handed in imitation of the character he is portraying in a new Indonesian film, "Little Obama."

"Hasan has the walk, he has the posture of Barry," said Slamet Djanuadi, a consultant on the film and a childhood friend of President Obama when he lived in Indonesia from 1967 to 1971.

"But Barry was a better pingpong player," he laughed, watching Hasan hit the ball off the table.

The movie, produced by Multivision Plus, Indonesia's largest production company, will premiere here on June 17, the week of Obama's anticipated visit. The president postponed a planned visit in March to push through healthcare legislation.

The film tells the story of Obama's childhood in Jakarta, where he lived with his mother and Indonesian stepfather from age 6 to 10.

"It's about his friendships, his hobbies, just a childhood story," said screenwriter and co-director Damien Dematra. "It's not about politics, it's just the story of a boy."

Hasan, who was born in America in Questa, New Mexico, but has lived in Indonesia since he was about 2, was an obvious choice to play the young Obama. Fluent in English and the Indonesian language, and with a white mother and African American father, Hasan fit the bill.

Improving his pingpong game was his focus during breaks on the fifth day of filming. Day four's challenge was boxing, a sport the president has said he learned from his stepfather and one with which Hasan, with three years of karate training, felt more comfortable.

"It feels great to play Obama," the novice actor said with a grin. "I was shy about it at first and there are some new difficulties that you have to work to get over, with intense practice, like this," — gesturing toward the pingpong table on the lawn — "and just learning the lines, practicing the scenes.

"But then it became easy and fun, especially acting as a very important character who left here to become president," Hasan said.

The movie set is a colonial-era house on the outskirts of Bandung, a city famed for its colonial architecture amid lush hilltops about 110 miles southeast of Jakarta.

Directors John de Rantau and Dematra chose the city because it resembles Jakarta in the 1970s. Obama's old home in the Jakarta neighborhood of Menteng is now surrounded by tall apartment blocks and is too urban.

The movie is taken from Dematra's book "Obama Anak Menteng" — "Obama, the Menteng Kid" — a fictionalized biography based on interviews with about 30 old friends and neighbors. It is the first in a planned trilogy about Obama in Indonesia. The second book is to focus on his education at a Catholic school and the third on his relationship with his mother.

Dematra said he was a Hillary Rodham Clinton fan until he researched Obama.

"I just felt that this guy is an extraordinary person," Dematra said. "The reason I'm doing this is I want people around the world to know that Obama can become who he is because of his background in Indonesia. The different religions and races, the pressures that he had. I want the film to inspire people."

Two of Obama's old friends, Djanuadi and his brother, Yuniadi, whose family shared a house with Obama's, are coaching Hasan on everything from sports to Obama's relationship with his mother and stepfather.

"It takes us back to the past, teaching Hasan and remembering the games we played together, flying kites, Monopoly, puzzles," Djanuadi said. "Barry would probably like this movie for the same reasons, to recall his memories."

Hasan, the child actor, is not as chubby as Obama was, Djanuadi and his brother say, despite his efforts to grow into his character by eating extra meals and giving up karate practice.

Now in costume — muddied shorts and T-shirt and a bandage around his leg from a playground scuffle the fictional Obama had — Hasan waits for his next scene to be filmed, dribbling a soccer ball and pretending to shoot at an imaginary basket.

"President!" the director calls out, amid laughter, summoning Hasan to the living room for his next take. Over and over, for nearly an hour, he carries a soccer ball into the room, calling out for his parents before meeting them in the hallway and looking distressed on seeing they've been arguing. Finally, after several takes, it's a wrap.

Shakur Ali, Hasan's father, watched from a window. He said the first time he watched Hasan act, it brought tears to his eyes.

"I was shocked to see the change, to see him become this person," said Ali, who doesn't follow U.S. politics and said it doesn't matter to him that his son is playing Obama but just that he is following his dream of being a performer.

Cara Lachelle, a South African-born actress, said she took her role as Obama's mother very seriously.

"His mom was so strong, she knew her son would be put through hardship and she helped him through that," Lachelle said. "I am very careful about the way I portray her, to do justice to them both."

Indonesian actor Eko Noah plays Lolo Soetoro, Obama's stepfather.

The directors hope to finish shooting by June 3 in time for the scheduled premiere. Everyone hopes Obama will watch it, including the directors, actors and the childhood neighbors he spent hours playing pingpong with.

As for Hasan, he said he carries two things from the movie: the inspiration to follow his dreams and Obama's smile.

"Before, I was a guy that kept to myself. But in acting, I'm trying to be like the guy in the pictures, who looks like he likes to be around friends and is always smiling," Hasan said. "And now, even when I'm not acting, I can't help it but I definitely notice I smile a lot more."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Indonesia to build hospital in Gaza

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 05/29/2010 6:49 PM

Just between friends: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) speaks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas prior to their meeting at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Saturday. During the bilateral meeting, Indonesia agreed to build a hospital worth Rp 20 billion in Gaza. – Courtesy of Presidential Palace

Indonesia has agreed to allocate Rp 20 billion (US$2.15 million) for construction of a hospital in Gaza while maintaining its support for an independent state of Palestine.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told a joint press conference with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday that Indonesia was ready to extend humanitarian assistance to people of Palestine.

“We will build a hospital worth Rp 20 billion in Gaza with a hope it will add to health facilities there,” Yudhoyono said after 30 minutes of bilateral meeting with Abbas at the Presidential Palace.

Indonesia, Yudhoyono added, also offered to continue its assistance in the form of capacity building to Palestine when it gains its full-fledged independence.

Yudhoyono underlined Indonesia’s commitment to playing its part in the peace process as requested by Palestinian leaders. A new peace process that involves Middle East countries will be the most acceptable negotiation to realize an independent Palestine state and to permanently bring peace back to the region.

In his statement, Abbas wished he could say a prayer with Yudhoyono in Al Aqsa Mosque when an independent Palestine state took shape.

Nine Years on, Papuans Say Autonomy Has Brought Few Benefits

Jakarta Globe, Nurfika Osman, May 28, 2010

xLittle good has come of the special autonomy status conferred on Papua in 2001 with most people there left behind by the nation’s push for development, activists and community representatives said at a discussion in Jakarta on Wednesday.

“We haven’t seen for ourselves the benefits of development in Papua, despite being nine years into the special autonomy phase,” Papuan Students Association representative Agus Kossay told the Jakarta Globe. “Where do the trillions of rupiah from the budget go?”

He added most Papuans still lived in poverty.

“It’s particularly bad in the mountain areas,” he said. “We also suffer from gross human rights violations.”

In a 2005 study, the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) listed Papua as having the lowest human development index in the country, rating it at 62.1 compared to the national average of 69.6.

Biak native and University of Indonesia student Yopi Paliama told the Globe that things had deteriorated since the province was granted special autonomy.

“The roads, buildings, everything are just as they were 10 years ago,” he said. “What on earth is the government doing by way of development?”

Paskalis Kossay, a House of Representatives legislator from Papua, said the failure of autonomy to bring change could be blamed on both the government and the people of Papua.

“Everything got messed up after the 2003 presidential decree establishing the new province of West Papua,” he said. “Now the development aims for Papua itself are unclear. Where are we actually headed?”

He also blamed the varying notions of that autonomy comprised.

“The idea as espoused by the central government differs from that touted by the local administration, which in turn is different from that held by the local people,” Paskalis said.

“Some of the people on the ground believe it means separating from Indonesia,” he added.

But Papua Development Planning Board head Alex Rumaseb argued that there had been a significant level of development in the province.

“There’s improved access to education and health care, and we’re doing our best to develop every part of the province,” he said. “Admittedly, though, it’s more difficult in the central highland areas.”

Alex added the main hurdle was how to empower human resources.

“Our biggest problem is developing the human resources to develop their own region,” he said, adding that Papuans comprised only 30 percent of the work force, while the rest were mostly migrants from elsewhere in Indonesia.

Norwegian Wood Inspires SBY to Lyrical Heights

Jakarta Globe, Abe Silangit, May 28, 2010

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s journey to the Norwegian capital for a two-day Climate and Forest Conference has inspired him to write a song, which he titled “Oslo.”

The composition, which tells of saving the world’s forests, was written by the president during his stay at Oslo’s Holmenkollen Park Rica Hotel, which is in hills ringed with trees.

During his final press briefing before coming home to Jakarta on Sunday, Yudho yono announced his new creation and spontaneously asked for a guitar to demonstrate his vocal abilities.

“Unite world for our Earth, let’s do it, let us hold hands to look after it. Lift your hands and pray to God for the safety of our children and grandchildren,” the lyrics went.

Sadly, Yudhoyono asked for the performance to be off the record.

“Please, turn off [the camera] because [the song] is not done yet. It will reduce my royalty fees,” he said to laughter from the audience. He added that he was on the lookout for a singer who would be perfect for the song.

Yudhoyono has released three albums. The most recent, “Ku Yakin Sampai Di Sana” (“I’m Certain I’ll Get There”), was launched in January.

“The songs were written from a belief that nothing can change the fate of a country except the people themselves and the conviction of a noble purpose,” he said then.

He launched his first album, “Rinduku Padamu” (“I Miss You”), in October 2007. He followed up with “Evolusi” (“Evolution”) in January 2009.

More than 50 heads of state and environment ministers attended the Oslo conference, which opened on Wednesday.

Yudhoyono, along with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, witnessed the signing of a letter of intent under which Indonesia and Norway will establish a partnership for Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation to tackle greenhouse-gas emissions from deforestation, forest degradation and peatland conversion.

Under the partnership, Norway will commit a total of $1 billion.

A song for a visit: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) plays a guitar as he and sports minister Andi Mallarangeng sing a song the President composed, on the sidelines of a climate conference in Oslo. Yudhoyono said Friday his song was inspired by the conference. – JP/Aditya Suharmoko

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Feuding Buddhists Unite for Waisak Rites in Borobudur

Jakarta Globe, Candra Malik, May 28, 2010

A monk at the Waisak ceremony, commemorating Buddha’s birth, death and enlightenment, at Borobudur Temple. (JG Photo/Boy T Harjanto)

Magelang. Thousands of faithful Buddhists from previously contentious communities flocked to the majestic Borobudur Temple on Friday in a show of unity to mark the annual Waisak holiday, celebrating the Buddha’s birth, death and enlightenment.

The two sparring congregations had never before celebrated the day together.

The Indonesian Buddhist Council (Walubi) and the Buddhist Conference of the Mighty Sangha Indonesia (KASI), the country’s two major Buddhist associations, previously took turns hosting celebrations at the ninth-century temple on alternate years, but temple manager Pudjo Suwarno said this year marked a thaw in relations.

“We’re thankful they chose to celebrate Waisak together in the temple courtyard,” he said, adding they had put aside their ideological differences for the day.

Waisak is held to commemorate the three great moments of the life of Gautama Buddha: his birth, nirvana and death.

Celebrations began at 6:07 a.m. with the “Puja Bhakti” meditation and ended at 2 p.m. with the “Bhakti Puja” meditation.

In between, participants took part in separate parades whose routes were determined by Walubi and KASI.

Walubi members began at the entrance to Borobudur, went down Jalan Sampula, Jalan Raya Syailendra, the Borobudur Market and on to the western edge of Borobudur.

KASI members, meanwhile, started at the midway point between Mendut and Pawon temples before ending at the southeast edge of Borobudur.

The morning mediation was led by Bhiku Samira Paramita Sabhita, who spoke on the theme of “Building the Character of Nations to Implement Dharma by Spreading the Seeds of Goodness.”

“Being human is the most beautiful gift,” he said. “However, abstaining from hatred, envy and acts of stupidity is a very heavy task. Let us always strive to do good.”

A group of 150 monks from Thailand was to attend the event but few came, due to the political turmoil in the country.

“Only 30 pilgrims from the Sangha Theravada and Damayut monasteries showed up at Borobudur,” said Walubi Central Java chairman David Hermanwijaya.

The runup to the celebration began on Monday, when monks took holy water from Umbul Jumprit Lake on the slopes of Mount Sindoro, two hours by car from Borobudur.

Unlike in previous years, the holy water was taken to Borobudur Temple instead of being stored at Mendut Temple, where it was used in prayer ceremonies led in turn by monks from the Sangha Mahayana, Theravada and Tantrayana monasteries.

The Indonesian Sangha Mahayana abbot of Avalokitesvara Monastery in Jakarta, Dwi Virya, said the holy water symbolized the Buddha’s humbleness.

“Pride will only bring harm to ourselves and others,” he said.

On Tuesday, monks brought back a fire from an eternal flame in nearby Mrapen, Purwodadi.

“Fire is a symbol of enlightenment for the human soul to attain nirvana,” Virya said.

On Friday, monks sprinkled holy water on worshipers after the morning meditation, and at night participants lit candles and lanterns.

Police said 10,000 people took part in Friday’s celebration.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Tsunami Museum a Hollow Attempt

Jakarta Globe, Ashlee Betteridge, May 28, 2010

The Tsunami Museum’s only really impressive feature so far is its architecture but visitors do have the chance to walk through a dark, claustrophobic corridor with water walls that simulate the tsunami’s size. Artwork on display offers a glimpse of the heart-wrenching stories of loss. (JG Photo)

Aceh’s Tsunami Museum is full of possibility. Unfortunately, that’s about all it is full of at the moment.

The walls designed for exhibitions remain bare and white. The top floor, which includes a rooftop garden that has been designed to be used as an escape point should another tsunami ever strike, remains closed to visitors.

A small selection of tsunami-inspired artworks hang in one gallery. The faces are mostly of women and children caught in a moment of horror as they are engulfed by seas rendered in gouache and oil paint. In another room are rows and rows of terribly pixelated images of the impact of the disaster on the province, with no information accompanying them except for headings (only in Indonesian) reading “Before Tsunami,” “After Tsunami” and “Tsunami Recovery.”

The images are obviously harrowing and powerful, despite having been reproduced in poor quality. But the exhibits are disorganized and the whole display seems temporary — hopefully that is the case — and lacking in context.

Perhaps this is not surprising. Like other parts of the city of Banda Aceh, the tsunami museum is still very much under construction more than five years after the disaster that devastated Aceh province. It has been a controversial project from the beginning. Opened in February 2009 by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the museum was accused of taking resources away from those trying to rebuild their lives in the tsunami’s aftermath. Others said it was too soon to have a museum that memorialized the destruction and the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives.

Obviously houses, schools, medical facilities and restoring people’s livelihoods are far more pressing than museums in the aftermath of any disaster. I was confused, however, as to why the absolutely stunning building was opened before it had anything substantial to display.

The architecture and design of the museum should make it one of the country’s finest contemporary cultural assets. But without enough attention to the exhibitions it was created to house, it could easily end up becoming resented as a giant, expensive monument of tragedy, with little meaning for the community most closely affected by the event it attempts to retell.

It could also suffer the fate that pretty much every other government-run museum in this country faces — being a poorly organized institution with so little information it is barely worth visiting, especially for foreigners. I usually leave Indonesia’s museums completely baffled and rarely any more enlightened than when I walked inside.

The Rp 67 billion ($7 million) building, designed by architect Ridwan Kamil, has a beautiful amphitheater, garden and public areas, quiet rooms for reflection and exhibition galleries. The spaces are extraordinary and certainly measure up to many of the top contemporary museums in the world. It was obviously designed with the best intentions to engage the community and provide visitors with a place to remember, reflect and grow. But if its purpose is really to be a museum, or even just a relevant public building, it still has a long way to go.

I wanted to know what the province looked like before and after the tsunami. I wanted to know about the science of tsunamis and earthquakes. I wanted to know about how the government, international humanitarian groups and non-governmental organizations faced the mammoth task of rebuilding and what lessons were learned that could be applied if such a catastrophe ever struck again. But most of all, I wanted to hear, see and read people’s stories.

Without a deeper connection to the community and displays that educate as well as help the healing process, it will never be more than an architecturally interesting chunk of concrete that cost a whole lot of money.

Just outside the museum lies the Aceh International Thank the World Garden. I walked past it three times during my stay in Banda Aceh and it was always full of kids playing football or just hanging out, eating ice cream under the trees among the plaques thanking the nations that provided aid after the tsunami. Some punk kid has tagged graffiti on one of the plaques already, just as kids do in public parks anywhere in the world.

The park was officially opened last year, around the same time as the tsunami museum. And like so much in this reconstructed city that is connected to the aftermath of tragedy, the park has already found its place in community life.

I really hope the tsunami museum can find a similar future ahead of it.

Indonesia to Host Miss World Contest in 2014, Bali Governor

Jakarta Globe, May 27, 2010

Miss Indonesia 2009 Kerrenina Sunny Halim, middle, accompanied by other finalists on stage during the grand final of Miss Indonesia beauty pageant. The Indonesian resort island of Bali will host Miss World in 2014. (Photo EPA/Mast Irham)

Indonesia will host the Miss World competition in 2014. The news was broken by Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika during a speech to open the 61st World Real Estate Congress (FIABCI) at Hotel Grand Hyatt Nusa Dua, Bali on Thursday.

“In 2014 the Miss World contest is going to be held in Bali,” Pastika said.

According to Pastika, the resort island will also a host a number of other international events such as the 2011 ASEAN Summit and the 2013 APEC Conference.

Pastika used the opportunity to promote tourism in Bali by saying Bali had already gained another nickname.

“Bali is known as the Island of Gods and Island of Peace and Democracy, now Bali is the island of Love. Julia Roberts, in the movie Eat, Pray and Love found true love in Bali,” he said.

Pastika's persistence in promoting Bali earned him praise from Vice President Boediono.

“If you need a marketing director, Pak Governor is the right man. He has the knack for marketing,” Boediono said

Thursday, May 27, 2010

President, Prince Charles to Discuss Natural Conservation

Jakarta Globe, May 27, 2010

(L to R) Prince Charles of Wales, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Crown Princess Mette-Marit pose for a photograph following the International conference on climate and deforestation held in Oslo on May 26, 2010. (Photo AFP/Gorm Kallestad)

Oslo. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is slated to meet the Prince of Wales, better known as Prince Charles of the United Kingdom.

Presidential spokesman Julian A Pasha said in Oslo, Norway, on Thursday that the meeting will be held on the sidelines of the Climate and Forestry Conference at Holmenkollen Park Hotel Rica in Oslo.

“It would still be about the environment,” Julian said, adding that the meeting is held at the request of Prince Charles.

The meeting between the President and the British crown prince will be held for about 25 minutes before the head of state receives UNEP executive director Archim Steiner and UNDP director Helen Clark.

Prince Charles has always been heavily involved in environmental issues.

The former husband of the late Lady Diana also pointed out that the management of nature is also called on by all religious creeds.

In his visit to Indonesia, he also visited Jambi to give aid for forest conservation.

Prince Charles’ idea of fund raising was a great support to the Kyoto Protocol and showed that the developed countries already had a wish to help the developing countries overcome climate change.

He also used the opportunity of G20 in London in April 2009 to express the idea of fund raising for the safety of forests in the world.

Prince Charles invited G20 heads of state and government to attend the 40 minute meeting at Clarence House in London.

One of the agendas forwarded by Britain as host of G20 in 2009 was low-carbon emission development as a package of the long-term agenda of rebuilding the world economy.


RI committed to rainforests protection despite financial constraints

Aditya Suharmoko, The Jakarta Post, Oslo | Thu, 05/27/2010 4:06 PM

Climate talks: Indonesian President Susilo Yudhoyono (left) and Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg speak at press conference during the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference in Oslo, Norway, Thursday. The conference was attended by 50 heads of state and environment ministers. –AP/Hakon Mosvold Larsen

Cash-strapped Indonesia remains committed to protection of its rainforests as part of the global initiative to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) Plus scheme, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says.

"Working with our developed country partners, we will protect Indonesia’s globally significant carbon- and biodiversity-rich tropical rainforests while helping local populations become more prosperous," Yudhoyono said Thursday in a speech during the opening session of the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference at Holmenkollen Park Hotel Rica in the surrounding hills of Oslo.

The President's statement affirmed his pledge on Wednesday night that Indonesia "would conduct a moratorium for two years where we stop the conversion of peat land and of forests" during a historical agreement signing with Norway, which provides a US$1 billion grant for Indonesia in phases to protect the Southeast Asian nation's forests.

Yudhoyono also said Indonesia would preserve its forests "with or without international help".

But having financial limitations, Yudhoyono expected the REDD Plus scheme to be pushed forward.

"Cancun (meeting in Mexico) must produce a robust and workable decision. In this regard, a decision on REDD Plus could bring about the immediate action that we need to take," he said in the speech.

Indonesia still has a 14.15 percent poverty rate of about 230 million people in population, based on latest data released by the Central Statistics Agency.

In Indonesia, forest areas of a size equaling 300 soccer fields vanish every hour, according to Greenpeace.

Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said based on a March's international conference in Paris about 54 countries agreed to provide $4 billion in commitment to take necessary actions to protect the world's largest rainforests located in Brazil and Indonesia, which function as global "lungs" to transform carbon dioxide into oxygen.

"In today's market forests are more worth dead than alive. We want to change that ... There will be more (incentives) in leaving (them) than cut," he said.

He added that all developing countries should be in the driver's seat to reach the global goals with the help of multilateral institutions like the United Nations and the World Bank.

In his speech at the same forum, Britain’s Prince Charles said the time available to turn the words into actions was "running out". He also praised the agreement signed by Indonesia and Norway.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said he would look forward to a successful outcome in the next meeting in Cancun.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Holland’s Indos Celebrate Roots

Jakarta Globe, Sie Yoe Lien, May 26, 2010

Bali’s cudamani dance is among the cultural performances at the Tong Tong Fair in The Hague.  (Photo courtesy of

Halfway around the world from Indonesia, you can enjoy a sumptuous plate of nasi uduk and sip es cendol while taking in the melancholic sounds of a keroncong band. Tese tastes, sights and sounds come to life once a year in the Dutch city of The Hague during the annual Tong Tong Fair.

For many members of the Netherlands’ Indo community — persons with mixed- Indonesian ancestry — the event, more popularly known as the Pasar Malam Besar (Grand Evening Fair), is a chance to celebrate their Indonesian heritage.

“Many Indos have a sort of unofficial agreement: ‘see you at the Pasar Malam,’ ” said Paul Isaak, whose Eurasian father was born in the Central Java town of Klaten. “It’s a very important event for them to maintain social contacts and reminisce about the past.”

The Pasar Malam Besar, held during the last two weeks ofMay, is housed in giant white tents filling 20,000 square meters of The Hague’s biggest plaza, Malieveld. The festival features cultural performances and lectures, a market filled with wares ranging from trinkets and batik to fresh durian, and, naturally, an overabundance of Indonesian food.

“In a nutshell, the Tong Tong Fair is a meeting between East and West, in the form of culture, food and trade,” said Florine Koning, a historian and spokesperson for the fair.

The first Pasar Malam was held in The Hague in 1959, initiated by a group of Indos who were sent back to the Netherlands following the end of Dutch rule in Indonesia.

Under colonial rule, legal status in Indonesia was based on ethnicity, with the Europeans on top of the heirarchy, the Chinese, Arabs and others of Asian or Middle Eastern descent in the middle, followed by the indigenous Indonesians. While many Indos were officially classified as Europeans, others were identified with the archipelago’s natives.

“Indos are a true mix of Asia and Europe. We sort of lived between the classes, and formed our own culture. We feel both Eastern and Western, but mostly we are our own people,” Koning explained.

When hundreds of thousands of Indos emigrated to the Netherlands after World War II, people there knew very little about them. “Some didn’t even know that we spoke fluent Dutch,” Koning said.

In the 1950s, Indo writer and intellectual Tjalie Robinson set up a group to organize events to celebrate Indo culture and make it wider known in the Netherlands.

“The group had no money, so the idea of a Pasar Malam was hatched to raise funds,” Koning said.

The first Pasar Malam, was held at the city zoo for three days and attracted some 3,000 visitors. “It was an instant success. People were thronging to get in,” Koning said.

Since then the Pasar Malam has blossomed into a two-week event with as many as 133,000 visitors. The festival is now one of the largest annual fairs in the Netherlands. The event has attracted prominent officials, including Queen Beatrix who opened the Pasar Malam for its 50th anniversary in 2008.

Over the years, the festival has grown much closer to its Indonesian roots. “In the earlier years, the fair was more Western, with stands one might see in boardwalks or fairgrounds, such as cotton candy and shooting hoops,” Koning said.

“Many people now forget that the relationship between the Dutch and Indonesian states only started normalizing in the late 1960s. Aside from that, overseas travel only became affordable in the 1970s.”

In 1973, the fair’s first Indonesian performer, Balinese dancer Djoni Ginsir, was invited to Pasar Malam. The event has since introduced more Indonesian culture and now showcases rock groups such as Slank, along with traditional dance troupes from across the archipelago.

The event also features theater as well as literary and historical discussions. This year the fair will host 400 performances, workshops and discussions in five theaters. Among the highlights are a photo essay exhibition, “First Generation Show: We Still Remember Everything,” a wayang (shadow puppet) performance from West Java and gamelan ensembles .

The stalls offer a variety of Indonesian textiles, crafts and snacks, including fresh mango juice and coconut cakes. And in the most-packed pavilion in the fair, the food court, there is sate, countless varieties of noodle and rice dishes, and tables filled with Padang delicacies.

In one room elderly Indos are singing along to “Bengawan Solo,” a keroncong classic by Gesang Martohartono about Java’s longest river. Watching them one can easily imagine an era long gone, but which is clearly still fresh in the memories of the graying audience.

Paul Isaak, 53, is among the youngest in the audience. “I know these tempo doeloe [old times] songs from my father,” he said.

Reflecting on what might happen to Indo culture once his father’s generation has passed on, he said: “Actually, apart from the songs and the food, my father told us very little about his Indonesian past.”

Isaak said he was still left with many questions of what his father’s generation experienced in Indonesia.

“Many Indos of that generation, including him, were traumatized. They were interned in camps during the Japanese occupation in Indonesia, then forced to leave their birth country and felt misunderstood in Holland,” Isaak said.

But even for the next generation, Isaak’s children, the emotional ties to their Indonesian heritage are still palpable. He said his daughter was 8 years old when he first brought her to Pasar Malam. He said that when she got there she told him, “I feel like I’m among family.”

According to Koning, worries that the Indo culture might fade away are unfounded because even third-generation Indos, many now in their 20s, are very aware of their heritage, though without the emotional traumas of their elders. “They are proud of being Indo,” he said.

Dylayna Awondatu, 20, said Pasar Malam had become an annual family ritual.

“I’ve been going here every year, since as far as I can recall. There were times when I was younger that I found it boring, but now I really like it,” she said.

Her eyes widened when asked whether she could see herself in the future taking her own children to the festival.

“I’ve never thought about that, but the answer is probably yes,” she said.

Tong Tong Fair For more information, go to and

Building character key for future leaders: Boediono

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar, Bali | Wed, 05/26/2010 6:07 PM

Vice President Boediono stressed Wednesday the need of character building for young generations as future leaders of the country.

"To become the future leaders, it is not enough to only have knowledge and skill. We need reliable character," he said.

Boediono made the statement in a dialog with some 300 students from junior and senior high schools in Denpasar, Bali.

About 100 teachers also attended the dialog held at state senior high school SMU 1 Denpasar.

Boediono said that the schools and business community should be involved in building characters of young generations to prepare them compete in the current globalization era.

"I know teaching characters is not an easy job. It can't be done through national exam. It should be learned from daily example (shown by teachers and leaders)," he said.

In his two-day working visit to Bali, Boediono would hold a dialog with officials from local administration and would plant trees in Nusa Dua area.

He was also slated to open an international conference on property on Thursday.

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RI needs to develop national character

Two french reporters deported

Antara News, Wednesday, May 26, 2010 18:13 WIB

Jayapura (ANTARA News) - The Immigration office in Jayapura has deported via Jakarta two French journalists who had been arrested when covering a public rally in front of the Papua legislative assembly (DPRP) on Tuesday.

Jayapura immigration chief Robert Silitonga said Wednesday morning that this morning he has deported the two French reporters by a Garuda Indonesia plane flying to Jakarta.

An investigation of the two, Baudoin Koeniag, producer of Mano mano TV Arte, and Calol Helene Lorthiois, indicated that they have violated the permits that had been given to them.

They arrived in Jayapura on Tuesday morning in the company of an interpreter.

Silitonga said that following the investigation, of the two French journalists only Baudoin Koeniag had a reporting license issued by the Indonesian Tourism Ministry on April 20, 2010, for news coverage of Aceh, Jakarta, Bali, Gorontalo and Sorong, but not Jayapura.

The permit was for making a documentary film on Indonesia`s future, Silitonga said.

Carol, on the other hand, came to Indonesia using a tourist visa, and therefore the two French nationals have misused the permits given to them, Robert Silitonga added.

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