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. …

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hundreds flock to Jakarta’s oldest Chinese temple

The Jakarta Post, Sun, 01/30/2011

Darma Jaya Toasebio Vihara in Glodok,
Central Jaya. (Photo: PIRHOT NABABAN)
Hundreds of followers of Taoism gathered at the Darma Jaya Toasebio Vihara in Glodok, Central Jaya, on Sunday to perform prayers for the upcoming Chinese New Year, which will fall on Feb 3. reported that smoke from incense burned by some 300 visitors clouded the interiors of the Vihara, which is decorated with red lanterns.

The Vihara’s caretaker Andi said the crowds were normal nearing the New Year.

Vihara Darma Jaya, which was built in the 16th century, is said to be the oldest Chinese temple in Jakarta.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Australian travellers stranded due to volcanic ash, AAP January 28, 2011 7:20AM

Stranded passengers wait at Ngurah Rai airport in Bali's city of Denpasar
after their plane to Singapore was cancelled / AFP

  • Volcanic ash floating over Indonesia
  • Forces flights to be grounded, cancelled
  • Hundreds of Aussies face holiday disruption

A FIERY volcano is causing holiday misery for hundreds of Australians with airlines cancelling flights as a large ash cloud floats in the skies above Indonesia.

In echoes of last year's Icelandic volcano chaos, the eruption of 2329-metre-high Tengger Caldera, in east Java, led to the cancellation of about a dozen flights and left passengers stranded on Thursday night.

Virgin Blue and Jetstar both cancelled flights to and from Denpasar, the main airport serving the popular holiday island of Bali.

Jetstar cancelled five flights and diverted another which was already in the air.

The budget airline, a subsidiary of the national carrier Qantas, said it would continue to monitor the situation and advise of any additional cancellations.

Virgin Blue, at 8pm (AEDT) yesterday, said all its flights to and from Bali were cancelled for the next 24 hours.

A spokeswoman said three or four flights were grounded last night and another two cancelled this morning.

"Virgin Blue would like to advise that, as a precautionary measure, all flights to and from Bali have been cancelled for the next 24-hours,'' the airline said in a statement.

It advised guests left stranded in Denpasar to remain in their accommodation.

Air Asia said that none of its flights to Bali had been affected.

A Garuda Indonesia flight from Sydney to Denpasar was listed as having departed at 12.20pm (AEDT) yesterday.

Qantas does not fly to the city.

The Jetstar aircraft due to fly to Denpasar on Thursday were from Sydney and Darwin.

Three flights from Denpasar to Perth, Sydney and Darwin were also grounded by the budget airline.

A sixth Jetstar flight from Perth to Denpasar was diverted to Darwin and is due to return to Perth.

"Safety of our passengers and crew is Jetstar's number one priority and as a result the airline has cancelled tonight's flights between Australia and Denpasar (Bali),'' a Jetstar statement said.

"The airline is closely monitoring the situation and will advise passengers should there be any further impact.

"No other services are affected at this stage.''

The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre, part of the Bureau of Meteorology, issued an advisory yesterday saying Tengger Caldera had erupted, with ash extending 200 nautical miles (370km) northeast.

Related Articles:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

News Focus: President`s Visit To India Demonstrates Higher Level Bilateral Ties

Antara News, Wed, January 26 2011 15:01 

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is paying a three-day state visit to India from January 24 to 26, 2011, his second state visit to the South Asian giant since November 2005 aimed at taking strategic partnership to a higher level.

Yudhoyono, the first Head of State or Government to pay an official or state visit to India in 2011, is the Chief Guest at India`s Republic Day celebrations, demonstrating the close ties between the two world`s most populated countries.

India's population is over 1.2 billion, or the world`s second largest, and Indonesia's population is more than 237 million, the world`s fourth most populated nation after China, India, and the US.

"The visit to India is intended to step up bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the field of trade and investment," President Yudhoyono said in a press statement at Halim Perdanakusuma airport, eastern Jakarta, before leaving for India on Monday (Jan 24).

Yudhoyono met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday (Jan 25) which was followed with the signing of 16 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) on cooperation in the field of politics, economy, education, and technology.

Achievements and evaluation of strategic cooperation between Indonesia and India, signed in 2005, were discussed at the meeting with the Indian prime minister.

"Indonesia is the second largest business partner with India in ASEAN countries," the president said.

Indonesia and India signed agreements on a number of industrial cooperation projects worth up to US$16.8 billion.

Industry Minister MS Hidayat, a member of the residential entourage, said upon arrival in New Delhi, Monday (Jan 24) said the projects still had to undergo feasibility studies but they had to be started this year.

He said one of the projects involves Indian big company Trimex Group which plans to build a coal-fueled fertilizer plant worth US$1 billion in South Sumatra. India also wants to process iron sand in Papua into titanium and uranium for marketing again in Indonesia.

On January 25 President Yudhoyono met with a number of Indian business leaders such as Anil Ambani from the Ambani Group, Ratan Tata from the Tata Group, Prasad Konetu from the Trimex Group, Khrisna Reddy and Sanjay from GVK Group.

President Yudhoyono attended a business forum participated in by around 500 Indian businessmen grouped in the Association of Chambers, Confederation of India Industry and Federation of Indian Industry of India.

The memorandum of understanding for business cooperation with a total investment of US$16.8 billion was be signed at the business forum.

The target of increasing the volume of trade between the two countries from US$4 billion in 2005 to US$10 billion in 2010 had been reached two years early, namely in 2008.

Indonesia-India trade in 2010 reached a value of 12 billion US dollars after dropping to 9.6 billion US dollars in 2009 due to the global economic crisis.

The volume of trade between the two countries is estimated to double by 2015 thanks to drastic increase in the bilateral cooperation between the two countries in all sectors.

Indonesia`s key exports to India included vegetable oil, crude palm oil, coal, copper ore, cashew nut, newsprint, chemicals and natural rubber. While India exports nylon thread, organic chemicals, iron and steel products, synthetic fiber and cotton to Indonesia.

"The bilateral exports during the past five years had recorded a very positive rise of 30 percent, while the imports 24 percent. Indonesia has enjoyed a trade surplus amounting US$5.2 billion, a significant increase from US$1.8 billion in its trade with India," Indonesian Trade Minister Marie Elka Pangestu said when leading a trade delegation to India in December 2010.

In the investment sector, India`s investments in Indonesia reached US$278 billion in sectors such as textiles, metal, automotive, machinery, coal and electronics. Indian investors operating in India are among others Tata, Reliance, Bajaj and TVS.
This year, some India businessmen will invest US$15 billion in Indonesia.

Indian investors, such as Tata, Adani Group, Power and GBK, were interested in infrastructure sectors such as railway, seaport, airport development projects, shipbuilding, alumina processing and coal mining, Head of Indonesia`s Capital Investment Coordinating Board Gita Wirjawan said in Jakarta recently.

Indian Ambassador to Indonesia Biren Nanda told ANTARA in Jakarta recently that economic condition in India grew fast reaching eight percent in 2010 and ranked the fourth largest in the world based on purchasing power parity, thanks to the country`s over billion population.

In the defense sector, India and Indonesia had signed a Bilateral Agreement on Cooperative Activities in the Field of Defense in 2001. The last meeting of the Joint defense Cooperation Committee at Defense Secretary level was held in New Delhi in June 2010.

Indian Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Nirmal Kurma Verma recently made a four-day visit in Indonesia, to further explore defense cooperation between both states.

Indonesia's defense ministry spokesman, Brigadier General I Wayan Meihio said on January 11, 2011, following the meeting between Defense Minister Yusgiantoro and Admiral Verma, that Indian defense industry was more developed than the Indonesian especially in the chemical, electronic, mechanic and logistical fields.

"Even they have been able to produce missiles, submarines and aircraft carriers. We are still exploring what we can cooperate in the defense industry," he said.

National Defense Forces (TNI) Commander Admiral Agus Suhartono in the meeting with Admiral Verma expressed his hope that cooperation in the field of military exercises and operations with India could be increased in the future.

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil had paid a state visit to Indonesia in December 2008.

As for Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, he and Yudhoyono have been regularly meeting in various international and regional fora, including in the ASEAN Summit in Thailand in November 2009.

In April 2005, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attended the Golden Jubilee of the Asia Africa Conference in Bandung, West Java. In his speech representing Asian countries, Singh said Asia and Africa must continue to whip up its anti-colonialism spirit which in the current context they must use to face global challenges.

The Golden Jubilee celebration in Bandung came on the heels of an Asia-Africa summit in Jakarta, a two-day meeting intended to rekindle the spirit of the Asia-Africa Conference in 1955, where Indonesia and India had been among important players.

The Bandung Conference inspired the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961.
The African and Asian nations in 1955 had pledged among other things to mutually support their economic development, vowing to rely on themselves instead of Western foreign aid.

The current intensified trade relations between Indonesia and India have reflected that both countries are still committed to the Bandung Spirit.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Little Green Men Means a Little Green Dough for Enterprising Indonesians

Jakarta Globe, January 25, 2011

Indonesia’s first documented crop circle has become a tourist attraction,
with curious domestic visitors flocking to Slemen from within Yogyakarta
and neighboring Central Java on Tuesday. Enterprising locals are cashing in.
(JG Photo/Boy T Harjanto)

Yogyakarta. Indonesia’s first documented crop circle has become a tourist attraction, with curious domestic visitors flocking to Slemen from within Yogyakarta and neighboring Central Java on Tuesday.

Hundreds of local tourists were observed attempting to climb a nearby hill for a better view of the mysterious crop circle, which appeared in a rice field belonging to seven farmers.

“Many people have climbed the slippery hill so locals have had to help them and keep them from falling,” Joko, a local, told state news agency Antara.

More enterprising individuals had begun to cash in on the patterns, selling everything from parking spaces to pictures of the crop circles.

“The photos sell like hot cakes. In one hour, 300 photos were sold out,” Joko said.

He said part of the profits would be paid to the farmers where the crop circle, measuring 70 meters in diameter, was found.

Indonesia’s National Aeronautics and Space Agency (Lapan) has rejected claims they crop circle was the result of a UFO or visiting little green men, saying it was man-made.

The agency has no plans to visit the location.

JG, Antara

Related Articles:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

University seeks to develop agrotourism in Bali

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 01/23/2011

Bali’s Udayana University School of Agriculture is seeking to develop a model for agrotourism in Bali highlighting a tradtional Balinese farming system called subak.

Udayana agriculture professor and project leader I Wayan Widia said the university was conducting research with support from the National Education Ministry.

The research, he said, involved hundreds of farmers in three subak locations in Denpasar, Gianyar and Tabanan, and was expected to complete this year.

“The results of the research will be used as material for a doctoral dissertation,” Windia said, as reported by Antara on Sunday.

“It will also be used as input for the Bali administration to help develop agriculture in collaboration with development of the tourism sector,” he added.

Under the subak system, Balinese farmers regulate water usage for irrigating rice paddies and plantations in a fair and effective manner. The subak system also incorporates various traditional and religious activities to support agricultural communities in Bali.

Komodo National Park drops to 26th place in global poll

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 01/23/2011

Indonesia’s Komodo National Park, home to the rare Komodo dragon, has seen its recent rank in the New Seven Wonders of Nature list drop drastically from sixth to 26th out of 28 finalists.

The list is an ongoing global poll to determine the new seven natural wonders of the world.

“For the past four weeks, only 60.62 percent of international voters have voted for Komodo, placing it at the 26th rank out of 28 finalists,” East Nusa Tenggara Tourism, Arts and Culture Agency promotion division head Ubaldus Gogi said in Kupang on Sunday.

Ubaldus, as quoted by Antara, said he hoped Indonesians would help promote Komodo dragons before the international community to boost the national park’s popularity.

As of noon on Sunday, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania topped the New Seven Wonders list with 99.98 percent of international voters having voted in support, followed closely by the Mud Volcanoes in Azerbaijan (99.81 percent of votes), the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador (99.76 percent), Cliffs of Mother in Ireland (99.64 percent), and Milford Sound in New Zealand (99.61 percent).

Germany’s Black Forest presently stands at 6th place with 99.58 percent voter support, followed by Italy’s Mount Vesuvius at 7th place with 99.49 percent.

The rest of the list can be seen at

Seren Taun

The Jakarta Post, Sat, 01/22/2011

Seren Taun: Seren Taun---People march during the Seren Taun traditional ceremony at Oasir Eurih village, Bogor, on Saturday. Celebrating Seren Taun in respect of God as their harvest provider, has been avoided due to bad weather and pests.(JP/Nurhayati)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Australia to build "peace museum" in Indonesia's Bali   2011-01-21

JAKARTA, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government is seeking support from Indonesia's local government in Bali for building a "peace museum" that commemorates Australians perished in 2002 Bali bombing, local media reported on Friday.

Speaking on the sidelines of his meeting with regent of Bali's Badung regency Anak Agung Gde Agung on Friday, Australian ambassador to Indonesia, Greg Moriarty, said that the museum would be constructed near the ground zero in Badung regency where the bomb blast killed 202 people in Bali in mid-August 2002.

Most of the casualties were Australians, the Antara news service reported.

Badung regent Anak Agung said that his administration would fully support the museum construction plans after learning that the Australia government has settled the acquisition process on the site where the project would be carried out.

Indonesia's leisure island of Bali saw strings of deadly terrorist attacks perpetrated by Indonesian terrorist cells that killed hundreds of westerners and local people. The security in the Indonesia's prominent island has been in perfect condition after Indonesian apparatus arrested the terrorists. Some of them were executed after undergone trials in public courts.

Editor: Tang Danlu

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Unesco recognizes ‘angklung’ as intangible cultural heritage

The Jakarta Post, Wed, 01/19/2011

A traditional bamboo music instrument from West Java, the angklung, has received official recognition from Unesco as an intangible cultural heritage piece.

Indonesia should preserve the angklung, said the Indonesian Ambassador for Unesco, Tresna Dermawan Kunaefi, after presenting the recognition certificate to National Education Minister Mohammad Nuh, reported.

“The main issue here is that the angklung has many values for character building. Cooperation is needed in playing the angklung, producing beautiful harmony,” he said.

Unesco has also recognized several other items from Indonesia – the technique of making Batik fabric, the keris (a ceremonial dagger) and wayang (Javanese traditional puppets) – as having World Heritage Status.

Jakarta US embassy asks for $100,000 for its Facebook page: Wikileaks

Guardian, 18 Jan, 2011

The US embassy in Jakarta made a request for $100,000 in funding to boost its Facebook fans to one million weeks before Barack Obama's visit to Indonesia.

A cable sent in February by US diplomats in the Indonesian capital described itself as "already the leading US Mission in the World on Facebook with nearly 50,000 'fans', and one of the leading missions using Twitter, YouTube and engaging local bloggers to promote USG [US government] messages and information."

"We are uniquely positioned to use these tools to amplify key topics and themes to support the upcoming visit by President Obama," it added. The embassy described itself in the cable as "on the forefront of Public Diplomacy 2.0."

Requesting the $100,0000, the cable said that the embassy could boost its Facebook fan page membership to one million in 30 days in a country it described as one of the fastest-growing Facebook markets in the world.

But it is unclear if it reached the target – with or without the money.

By April last year, the total number of Facebook fans of the US Embassies and consulates in Indonesia was 161,000, according to an interview given by the embassy team behind the page.

The cable set out how the money was to be spent, including increasing advertising on Indonesian online portals and elsewhere, as well as generating interest in the presidential visit by offering Facebook users the chance to win a "golden ticket" to meet Obama:

"If the White House approves, we could invite fans to post why they should meet President Obama, and in doing so, use our social media platform to connect fans to the visit, as well as build excitement beforehand and follow-up coverage afterwards"

The embassy's suggestion that it should also team up with a television show subsequently came to fruition. On a national television show, three Facebook fans of the Jakarta embassy won "educational trips" to the US to visit places that were said to have played a part in Obama's life – this was the embassy's suggested alternative prize if the White House did not give its blessing to meetings with Obama for competition winners.

Related Article:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

President meets with interfaith leaders

Antara News, Monday, January 17, 2011

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono met with interfaith leaders here on Monday evening who had earlier levelled criticism against his administration.

In his introductory speech the President hoped the meeting would calm the people and remind them of the importance of national unity and hard work to make the nation become an advanced nation in the 21st century.

"Hopefully, followers of all religions and the people of Indonesia who are watching this program become calm upon seeing that we are still communicating despite all the criticism the religious leaders have voiced with full responsibility to us, the government which is just carrying out its duties," he said.

The meeting was also attended by Vice President Boediono and all members of the cabinet.
The meeting proper between the president and the interfaith leaders was closed to the press. Newsmen were requested to leave after the president had made his introductory remarks.

The chairman of Islamic organization Muhammadiyah, Din Syamsuddin, was then asked to present his views.

Newsmen would be allowed to enter the meeting room again when the results of the dialogue were read out.

Those attending the meeting included Andreas Yewangoe, the chief of the Indonesian Communion of Churches, Catholic priest Franz Magnis Suseno, the associate chairman of the Indonesian Council of Ulema, Ma`ruf Amin, the general chairperson of the Budhist Association Hartarti Murdaya and Connfucian leader Budi Ranoewibowo.

President Yudhoyono said he understood the role played by the religious leaders of guiding their followers and setting the best example to them for the nation and state.

"I understand the role that has been carried out while I, the vice president and the government that I lead, in line with the mandate given by the people, will work as hard as possible to carry out the general tasks and development efforts," he said.

President Yudhoyono said the tasks were not easy to carry out but the government continued to work hard to advance the nation and the country.

Therefore, he hoped the meeting would be used as a forum for dialogue among citizens responsible for the country`s future.

"Let us conduct the meeting in a constructive atmosphere, to give and take. Our commitment is the same, namely we wish our nation will progress and prosper," he said.

He said dialogue and communication are important to reduce mis-perceptions by listening to each other.

President Yudhoyono said the meeting was held in response to Din`s request through a short text message on January 14

Monday, January 17, 2011

RI generates Rp 117 billion from Dutch travel expo

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 01/17/2011

Taking part in a six-day travel expo in Utrecht, the Netherlands, Indonesia generated Rp 117 billion (US$ 12.5 million), far below last year’s figure of Rp 200 billion.

The Culture and Tourism Ministry said this year’s figure was a result of transactions obtained by 18 travel bureaus and tourism operators from Indonesia that took part in the Vakantiebeurs (Holiday Bourse), which ended on Sunday evening.

Among participants that attracted a lot of visitors was a spa company. All of its products, including aromatherapy goods, sold out and some visitors reportedly expressed an interest in opening a branch in the Netherlands, reported.

Data from the Culture and Tourism Ministry revealed that from January to November 2010, around 142,100 Dutch tourists came to Indonesia. This was far below the number from Singapore (988,500), Malaysia (934,700) and Australia (662,700).

Friday, January 14, 2011

United States Welcome to Monitor Torture Trial: Indonesia Military

Jakarta Globe, Markus Junianto Sihaloho | January 14, 2011

Jakarta. The Indonesian Military says it welcomes the United States governments pledge to closely monitor the trials of three Indonesian soldiers accused of torturing two Papuans.

TNI spokesman First Admiral Iskandar Sitompul said on Friday that the military tribunal — described by Human rights activists as a sham — was open to the public and anyone was permitted to attend the hearings.

“For us, interest in the case from anyone is not a form of [foreign] intervention. The trial is open to the public,” Iskandar said.

He claimed, however, that the legal process must be conducted independently by those involved in the legal process.

“[The United States] knows this and they will respect it.”

Related Articles:

President to dedicate Batak museum

Antara News, Friday, January 14, 2011

From the past: Visitors view artifacts from the Batak tribe group in the TB Silalahi Batak Museum in Tobasa, North Sumatra, Tuesday. The museum was recently officially opened by president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Antara/Septianda Perdana)

Tobasa, North Sumatra (ANTARANews) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to dedicate Batak Museum at Balige in Toba Samosir (Tobasa) district, North Sumatra, next Tuesday, January 18, 2011.

"President Yudhoyono will be accompanied by a number of cabinet ministers to dedicate Batak Museum which houses a collection of Batak cultural artifacts," TB Silalahi Center chairperson Masrina Silalahi said in Balige on Friday.

She said the museum displays Batak handicrafts such as masks and household items including baskets, pots, spears, tribal effigies, and musical instruments such as gongs and drums.

According to Marsina, a committee meeting has been held at the TB Silalahi Center which was attended by retired General TB Silalahi, North Sumatra provincial acting secretary Hasiholan Silaen, and heads of Tobasa, Dairi, and Taput districts.

Meanwhile, Hasiholan Silaen said the meeting was held to discuss preparations for President Yudhoyono`s visit to dedicate the Batak museum.

He said the president and his entourage would directly fly from Jakarta to Silangit airport in Taput district, where he would take an overland trip to the location of Batak museum in Balige.

Hasiholan Silaen also called on the local people who would greet the president to wear their respective traditional costumes.

King Marnangkok Naipospos, give grains of rice to the head a number of people at a ceremony in the hall Pasogit Parmalim Hutatinggi Village, Town Laguboti, District Sanosir Toba, North Sumatra, Monday, July 26, 2010. (Demotix)

Related Articles:

Australia welcomes RI’s new foreign policy ‘activism’

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 01/05/2011

Merry meeting: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa (left) amid a crowd of foreign ministers waiting to take a group photo before the ASEAN Regional Forum’s (ARF) opening in Hanoi (Reuters/Hoang Dihn Nam)

Major regional dialogue partners of ASEAN, such as Australia, are watching closely to see how Indonesia exercises its leadership in ASEAN as the country begins to chair the group this month.

Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Greg Moriarty expressed optimism that under Indonesia, ASEAN could enhance the grouping’s role in regional and global arenas, stating that Indonesia’s vision of global architecture matched Australia’s.

“Our aspirations match Indonesia’s own aspirations. We [see]Indonesia’s increasing confidence and leadership role as positive and matches Australia’s interests.

“We see Indonesia’s foreign policy activism as a positive sign,” he told The Jakarta Post recently.

Australia, Moriarty said, acknowledged Indonesia’s recent foreign policy track record as impressive, including the country’s instrumental role in shaping the evolution of the East Asia Summit (EAS), exercising leadership in climate change forums and playing a significant role in the G20 agenda.

“Indonesia has been playing a clever role in keeping ASEAN’s interests very central in the process of building the regional architecture,” he said.

The EAS comprises the 10 ASEAN states and 6 dialogue partners: China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Leaders of the 16 countries meet annually to discuss regional and global issues in one of the ASEAN countries. Beginning this year, the US and Russia will formally join the forum, which will be held in Indonesia.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced his intention to get ASEAN more involved in tackling global problems during Indonesia’s chairmanship of ASEAN.

During the ASEAN Summit in Hanoi last year, he proposed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a more comprehensive cooperation between ASEAN and the UN so the 10-member group could be involved in more areas to help the world body solve global problems.

“We want to be more involved in a range of issues the UN handles, such as human rights and development, and achieving MDGs,” Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said on the sidelines of the meeting.

Moriarty cited Indonesia’s success in hosting the Bali Democracy Forum as proof of President Yudhoyono’s leadership in the region and beyond.

“An initiative such as the Bali Democracy Forum is a very important event. It shows Indonesia can lead a global dialogue in democracy.”

Diplomats from major dialogue partners in ASEAN in Jakarta said they were also convinced Jakarta would lead ASEAN in crucial roles to tackle global problems.

“It’s about how confidently Jakarta plays its role. Others will follow what Jakarta proposes as we respect Indonesia all along,” a diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity said recently.

Pakistani Ambassador to Indonesia Sanaullah also supported the view that Indonesia could lead ASEAN to achieve its goals and play an important role in helping solve global problems.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Manado to host Asia Pacific women`s congress

Antara News, Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Manado, N Sulawesi  (ANTARA News) - Manado, North Sulawesi, is to host an Asia-Pacific Female Officials Congress and an Indonesian Women Legislators Meeting, a spokesperson for the organizers said here Wednesday.

Meiva Salindeho Lintang, chairperson of the events` steering committee, said the congress would be hold in March in Manado City.

The women`s congress would be hold together with an Asean Regional Forum Disaster Relief Exercise (ARF-DIREx), she said.

The chief of the North Sumatera Legislative Assembly said the steering committee would invite First Lady Ani Yudhoyono to be the main speaker at the event.

The invitation had already been sent through the Minister of Women`s Empowerment and Child Protection Linda Amalia Sari Gumelar, Meiva said.

She also said preparations for the event, including arrangements for participants` accommodation, meals, and transportation, were now in full swing.

Local traditional attractions from Minahasa, Sangihe-Talaud and Bolaang Mongondow would be presented to greet the 300 to 500 delegates on their arrival, Meiva said.

The Bunaken National Park would be promoted during the Congress by the local administration, she added.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A New Slogan to Lure Tourists to Indonesia

Jakarta Globe, Tasa Nugraza Barley | January 09, 2011          

With more than 17,000 islands and some of the richest biodiversity on earth, Indonesia is a natural paradise. To go along with its breathtaking natural scenery, the archipelago also boasts a hugely diverse range of cultures and religions.

The komodo dragon is one of Indonesia's biggest tourist draws.
 Most travelers and tourism industry insiders agree that,
 along with the new, flashy slogan, Indonesia needs a better
 approach to managing a national tourism industry that
 continues to struggle. (AFP Photo/ Bay Ismoyo).  
Whether you want to take in the world’s highest diversity of coral species while diving the reefs of Raja Ampat in West Papua, stroll ancient temple compounds in Central Java or walk among real-life prehistoric dragons on Komodo Island in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia has something for travelers of all stripes.

How then, can you sum up this myriad of tourism riches in a single slogan.

This was the challenge facing members of Indonesia’s Tourism Ministry running up to the unveiling last week of the country’s new official tourism slogan for 2011, “Wonderful Indonesia.”

Reaction to the new slogan has been mixed, with some expressing remorse that the older, more direct slogan, “Visit Indonesia,” had been dropped.

Like it or hate it, most travelers and tourism industry insiders agree that, along with the new, flashy slogan, Indonesia needs a new and better approach to managing a national tourism industry that continues to struggle despite being blessed with almost limitless potential.

According to the official Web site of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations, Indonesia ranks No. 4 in tourist arrivals on a list of all Southeast Asian countries. Malaysia, at No. 1, hosted more than 23 millions international tourists in 2009, followed by Thailand and Singapore, respectively.

Despite what on paper appears to be a chronic underperformance, there is reason to believe that Indonesian tourism is on the brink of a new golden era — if it can capitalize on some recent trends.

The Tourism Ministry has released new data for 2010 showing that it was a record year for international arrivals, with seven million foreign tourists visiting Indonesia. The ministry said that these tourists pumped around $7.6 billion into the economy.

In addition, the ministry also reported that Indonesians themselves are getting out to explore the wonders of their own country in greater numbers than ever before.

Last year some 234 million Indonesians fanned out to beaches, hiking trails and resorts all across the archipelago in search of fun and adventure, adding Rp 138 trillion ($15.5 billion) to the economy in the process — a 3.05 percent increase from the 229 million local travelers reported in 2009.

The ministry has set a goal for 7.7 million international tourist arrivals in 2011, a 10 percent increase from 2010.

It is in support of this target that the Tourism Ministry has introduced its new slogan.

The new slogan is accompanied by a logo depicting the country’s national Garuda symbol drawn in five different colors.

“The aura around 2011 is very positive,” Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik wrote recently on the ministry’s Web site.

Despite Jero’s enthusiasm, most industry insiders think that it will take more than a positive aura to meet the new goal.

Tara Seprita, a strategic planner at the Grey Jakarta advertising agency, said slogans, logos and taglines were an important part of this type of large-scale campaign, but she added that there must also be something behind the slogan that backed up the brand’s vision and mission.

Tara said that, by its nature, the global tourism industry is cluttered with many countries vying for their share of the tourist dollar.

Usually, one country’s campaign is no better or more distinctive than other countries’ campaigns.

It’s very difficult to stand out in this type of an environment. Doing so takes much more than just a catchy slogan, she said.

Dewi Wilaisono, a housewife, avid traveler, photographer and scuba diver, said she supported the slogan change.

“There’s no other word that can represent Indonesia besides ‘wonderful,’ ” said Dewi, who has traveled to almost every province in Indonesia.

Tara, however, believes that there is room for improvement. “Wonderful Indonesia” is not very focused, she said, adding that there are too many messages that the ministry is trying to get across in one line.

She thinks that the previous slogan, “Visit Indonesia,” was more to the point.

It’s not easy to determine which one is better, she said.

“In the end, a slogan doesn’t really matter that much — the most important thing is how well the overall strategy is implemented.”

Celebrated traveler Trinity, known to her readers as The Naked Traveler, agrees.

She said that a catchy new slogan is useless unless it is part of an larger integrated campaign.

Trinity, whose two books, “The Naked Traveler” and “The Naked Traveler 2,” have become national best sellers, complained that finding information about Indonesian tourism was still difficult.

“Try to search ‘Indonesia’ and ‘tourism’ on Google, the chances are you’ll have a hard time finding Indonesia’s official tourism Web site,” she said.

Trinity pointed out that finding reliable, up-to-date travel information on the Internet remained one of the most problematic issues for foreign tourists.

And until this problem is fixed, all the new slogans in the world won’t help to increase Indonesia’s tourism, she added.

She blamed the Tourism Ministry for not appealing to the public to get more involved in support of the tourism industry.

She pointed out how other countries like Malaysia, with its “Truly Asia” campaign, had managed to communicate their strategies not only to the world, but to their own residents as well.

“The people there are proud of helping and supporting the tourism industry,” she said, adding that the opposite is often the reality in Indonesia.

When the new slogan was launched, Trinity said most of the residents she spoke with didn’t even know about it and those who did didn’t really know what it meant.

“I myself don’t really know what the new slogan really means,” Trinity admitted.

“If people don’t know what the government is doing in the tourism sector, they can’t be expected to know how to help and participate,” she said.

“It seems to me that the government wants to go forward by themselves. This isn’t right.”

Tara pointed out how the slogans of neighboring countries such as “Amazing Thailand” or “Infinitely Yours Seoul” were actually nothing special.

But the difference is that these slogans are a part of large, sustained and creative campaigns to lure tourists.

Tara said that Indonesia’s tourism officials needed to stop focusing only on traditional communication strategies and start thinking more creatively while focusing on Web-based digital implementation and access.

But despite the criticism, Jero remains optimistic that his office is on the right course and can boost the number of tourists coming to Indonesia.

“Culture is our strength and treasure that we can use to build our tourism industry,” he said.

Although she personally likes the new slogan, Dewi agreed that there was plenty more that needed to be done in order to improve tourism in Indonesia.

“We don’t promote hard enough to potential tourists abroad,” she said, adding that even domestic promotion is very limited. “Access to many tourism destinations is still bad.”

Trinity, who’s been to every province in Indonesia except Papua, said that infrastructure remained a great obstacle to boosting tourism.

She said that East Indonesia, which has huge potential to attract international tourists, still has very poor infrastructure, making traveling there difficult and costly.

But despite the problems, Indonesia still has the major advantage of being, well, Indonesia. There’s nowhere else like it on earth.

For this reason, people like Trinity are certain of Indonesia’s potential. “I don’t know one foreign traveler who doesn’t like Indonesia,” she said.

“The challenge is how to start getting people to come here first.”