Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners
Widodo has pledged to bring reform to Indonesia

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person
The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison   (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)
US President Barack Obama speaks as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)
Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Indonesian Woman Wins ‘Asia’s Nobel Prize’ for Helping Poor

Jakarta Globe, July 28, 2011

Indonesian social worker Tri Mumpuni, left, pictured at the White House
 Summit on Entrepreneurship in Washington in 2010. Tri is among the
 winners of Asia’s prestigious Magsaysay award this year for giving green
technologies to the poor, organizers said on Wednesday. (EPA Photo)

Related articles

Manila. Indonesian social worker Tri Mumpuni is among the winners of Asia’s prestigious Magsaysay award this year for giving green technologies to the poor, organizers said on Wednesday.

Award foundation president Carmencita Abella said Tri, along with an Indian engineer and a Philippine charity group, had helped harness the technologies to empower their countrymen and worked to create waves of progressive change across Asia.

Each year six people or organizations are named joint winners of the Magsaysay award.

This year the other winners were a man who set up an Islamic school for girls in Indonesia, a lender to India’s poorest, and a man working to restore democracy in Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge murdered his father.

“Working on critical issues ... they are showing how commitment, competence, and collaborative leadership can truly transform individual lives and galvanize community action,” Abella said.

The award, often described as Asia’s Nobel Prize, is named after a famous Philippine president who died in a 1957 plane crash.

It aims to honor people who address issues of human development in Asia with courage and creativity.

Tri Mumpuni, 46, was recognized after her IBEKA foundation built 60 small power plants harnessing the energy of water stored in dams to bring electricity to half a million people, the awards foundation said.

She was once kidnapped with her husband by former separatist rebels in Aceh province while pursuing her nongovernmental group’s project to bring electricity to rural Indonesia.

Another winner was US-trained Indian engineer Harish Hande, 44, for bringing solar lights to a country where half of all households have no electricity, the awards foundation said.

His Solar Electric Light Co.-India has tapped the sun’s energy to light up 120,000 households and is now one of the country’s largest solar technology providers.

In the Philippines, Dutch marine engineer Auke Idzenga’s Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation won for using an ancient, near-forgotten technology, the ram pump, to help impoverished communities on Negros island.

Re-engineered for upland farms, the pump gave the communities clean, cheap water for household use and for raising livestock, fish, and small farms, it said.

A ram pump, which does not need an external power source, harnesses the force of a large body of moving water to pump a small amount of water uphill.

The winners are to receive their awards in Manila on August 31.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Clinton: Indonesia Can Be Democratic Role Model

Jakarta Globe, July 24, 2011

Related articles

Nusa Dua, Bali. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is urging Indonesia to promote democracy in Burma and countries in the Middle East and North Africa in the throes of upheaval.

She says its successful transition from dictatorship and status as a vibrant Muslim-majority democracy make it an ideal role model for both Burma and the Arab world.

In meetings with senior Indonesian officials on Sunday in Bali, Clinton said the country's recent history "provides an example for a transition to civilian rule and building strong democratic institutions."

She said Indonesia has made significant strides toward democracy and shown that Islam and democracy can co-exist.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation and emerged from decades of authoritarian rule just over 10 years ago.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Nuclear Envoys From Two Koreas Meet in Bali

Jakarta Globe, July 22, 2011

Wi Sung-lac, right, South Korea's nuclear envoy, talks with Ri Yong-ho,
 North Korea's vice foreign minister who handles nuclear diplomacy, during
their meeting at a hotel in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Friday. The nuclear envoys
of South and North Korea met on the sidelines of an Asian forum in Bali on
Friday, an official in Seoul said, in the first high-level contact since tensions
spiked on the Korean peninsula last year. (Reuters Photo)
Related articles

Nuclear envoys from North and South Korea held rare talks on Friday in the Indonesian island of Bali amid international efforts to revive stalled six-nation negotiations on the North’s atomic weaponry.

The meeting between South Korea’s Wi Sung-lac and his counterpart Ri Yong-ho was the first-ever North-South meeting on nuclear issues outside the six-party format, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

The North has previously refused to discuss its nuclear program with the South alone, saying it is intended as a deterrent against the United States.

Six-party host China had been pushing for an inter-Korean nuclear meeting, followed by US-North Korean talks, to pave the way for a resumption of the full dialogue.

Friday’s meeting came after more than a year of high tensions on the Korean peninsula, after Seoul accused its neighbor of two border attacks which killed 50 people in 2010.

Depending on the outcome of Friday’s talks, the South’s Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan could meet his North Korean counterpart Pak Ui-chun, probably on Saturday, the spokeswoman said.

The last round of six-party talks ended without agreement in December 2008. The North formally abandoned them in April 2009 and staged its second nuclear test a month later.

It has expressed conditional willingness to return to the forum, which groups China, the two Koreas, the United States, Japan and Russia.

But the United States, its ally South Korea and Japan say the North should first mend relations with its neighbor.

Seoul accuses Pyongyang of torpedoing a South Korean warship in March 2010 with the loss of 46 lives.

The North denies involvement. But it killed four people in a bombardment of a South Korean island last November, briefly sparking fears of war.

The South had demanded the North take responsibility for those attacks before any major dialogue. But in an attempt to break the diplomatic impasse, it said this condition would not apply to nuclear negotiations.

“It’s been a long time since I met you in London,” Wi told Ri as they started the talks on the sidelines of an Asian security conference, Yonhap news agency reported.

He was recalling their meeting at a security conference in Britain six years ago. “Yes, how nice to see you again,” Ri responded.

All six countries are attending the Asean Regional Forum this week.

Despite Friday’s meeting, the nominee for next US ambassador to South Korea voiced doubt on Thursday that the North was ready to return to serious negotiations.

“We’re not convinced that they really are ready to return to serious diplomacy and negotiations,” Sung Kim, who is now the special envoy to the moribund six-nation talks, told a Senate hearing on his nomination.

“This is why I think Seoul and Washington have both been very cautious in just rushing back to the negotiating table.

“In light of what has happened in the past two years, I think the North Koreans need to prove that they will in fact be a serious partner when the negotiations resume,” Sung Kim added.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rijsbergen Indonesian national squad coach

RNW, 14 July 2011

Dutch soccer trainer Wim Rijsbergen has been named interim coach of Indonesia’s national team, according to Indonesian media.

The former Feyenoord player was a member of the Dutch national squad in the World Cup in 1974 and 1978. He will be putting the Indonesian team through their paces leading up to their two matches later this month against Turkmenistan in the qualifying round for the 2014 World Cup. He is replacing Austrian coach Alfred Riedl.

Rijsbergen has been in charge of Indonesian club PSM Makassar for the last six months. It is not yet known if he will carry on with the club. He has previously worked as a trainer in Chile, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Trinidad and Tobego.

Darsem binti Dawud arrives home safe

The Jakarta Post | Wed, 07/13/2011

Darsem binti Dawud arrives at the Foreign Ministry’s office in Jakarta with
 her son on Wednesday. The Indonesian government paid blood money
 worth Rp 4.6 billion (US$540,000) to free Darsem from the death penalty
in Saudi Arabia. 
(Antara/Rosa Panggabean)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Clinton and Google chairman to attend summit in Bali

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 07/13/2011

Chairman of Google Inc. Eric Schmidt and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will attend the Regional Entrepreneurship Summit, which will be held from July 22-24 in Bali, Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu says.

The Regional Entrepreneurship Summit is a follow up of the Entrepreneurship Summit in Washington DC held in April last year.

“There will be no set issue that we will focus on during the meeting. It will be more talking about entrepreneurship as a whole. How to develop it and especially how to start it up," Mari said as quoted by on Wednesday.

Indonesia is the second-largest country that sent delegations to the Entrepreneurship Summit in Washington DC.

The Regional Entrepreneurship Summit is held in cooperation with Global Entrepreneurship Program Indonesia, the Trade Ministry and Global Entrepreneurship Program from the US State Department.

Some 200 delegations from ASEAN countries, and India and China are expected to attend the event, which will feature famous speakers such as US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Google Inc. Chairman Dr. Eric Schmidt, who will give a key note address.

The event will also present Faculty Member of UC Berkley and CEO of Bitzer Mobile Naeem Zafar, CEO of Wave Dispersion Technologies Jonathan Smith, Co-Founder of IBEKA Tri Mumpuni, Rector of Paramadina University Anies Baswedan, founder and President Director of PT Susi Air Susi Pudjiastuti, Global Chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young Jim Turley, and President Director of PT. Bank Mandiri Tbk Zulkifli Zaini.

Related Article:

Delegations from 20 countries discuss cultural cooperation

Antara News, Tue, July 12 2011

Related News

Lombok Barat, West Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA News) - Delegations from 20 countries in Asia and Europe gathered in Senggigi tourist resort in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, here on Tuesday discussing efforts to increase cultural cooperation.

The activity until Wednesday was part of the preparations for the Asia Europe Meeting`s (ASEM) Culture Ministers Meeting (CMM) to be held in Yogyakarta in 2012.

The ASEM-CMM is held every two years to improve understanding and cultural exchanges among Asian and European countries.

The first ASEM-CMM meeting was held in Beijing in 2003, the second in Paris in 2005, the third in Kuala Lumpur in 2008, the fourth in Poznan on September 9-10 and the fifth later in Yogyakarta.

The preliminary meeting in Senggigi was attended by 14 delegations from Asia and six from Europe.

The Asian countries participating in the meeting are Indonesia, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Singapore.

The six European countries include the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Russia, Poland and Denmark.

Delegations from the European Union and Asia Europe Foundation (AEF) would also take part in the 2012 ASEM-CMM meeting.

The director general of America & Europe cooperation of the ministry of foreign affairs, Retno L.P. Marsudi, said on the sidelines of the meeting that the activity was directed to a dialogue forum focusing on perspectives of various information and cultural experiences.

"There are sharing of information and experiences and aspects of capacity building directing towards opportunities for cultural cooperation. Concretely they will be discussed later in bilateral meetings," she said.

As an example she referred to cooperation between Indonesia and the Netherlands in preserving the Istana Dalam Loka (palace) cultural heritage on Sumbawa island.

Such a cultural cooperation has also been carried out with Portugal in East Nusa Tenggara, she said.

Retno said the ASEM-CMM meeting in 2012 is expected to be able to produce concrete cooperation for the preservation of historical cities in Asia and Europe that would give direct benefit to the people in the two continents.

Lombok has been chosen to be the host of the Preparatory Senior Official Meeting because the island is one of the region that has a lot of cultural heritages.

In addition to that Indonesia also wishes to promote the region through "Visit Lombok Sumbawa (VLS) 2012".

She said Indonesia`s membership in ASEM is very beneficial because through it Indonesia could conduct cultural diplomacy with ASEM partners and fight for the government`s interest in the field.

"ASEM can also serve as a forum of information exchange that could facilitate cooperation between Indonesia and Asia and Europe and through the cooperation opportunities may be opened for development of technical cooperation in the form of bilateral or multilateral cooperation," she said.

An expert staff on multi-cultural affairs of the ministry of culture and tourism, Hari Untoro Drajat, meanwhile said efforts to increase cultural cooperation must remain based on Law Number 11 of 2010 on Cultural Preserve.

In implementing the regulation the government would continue to support cultural development in regions.

"In essence they are directed to improving cultural preservation so that the forms of cooperation would be discussed along with other Asias and European countries," he said.

Editor: Priyambodo RH

Monday, July 11, 2011

RI to host World Batik Summit in Jakarta

Antara News, Mon, July 11 2011

 The event is expected to attract international`s interest towards batik.

Related News

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is to hold World Batik Summit 2011 in Jakarta Convention Center (JCC) next September 28 - October 2, a source said.

(ANTARA/ Wahyu Putro A)
"The event is expected to attract international`s interest towards batik," Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam said here on Monday.

Also founder of Batik Indonesia foundation, Dipo said the World Batik Summit was aimed to establish a strong networking between batik makers and lovers around the world.

Meanwhile, Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said the WBS event would be participated in by 1,000 delegates from Indonesia and abroad. The delegates are coming from various background namely practitioner, academia, marketing and fashion critic.

She said the WBS would become a forum for batik makers to promote their products.

Editor: Ella Syafputri

The path from dictatorship to democracy

The Jerusalem Post, by GIORA ELIRAZ , 07/10/2011

Indonesia has asked in recent years to be more involved in Middle Eastern affairs by playing the role of mediator and peacemaker.

A new factor has been inserted into the equation of political reform in Egypt: a dialogue between Egypt and Indonesia on promoting democracy. This move was triggered by Egypt’s request for Indonesian assistance in organizing the coming elections, and establishing regulations related to political parties.

This request by Egypt, the Arab and Muslim world’s center of gravity, is not obvious. There have been hopes inside Indonesia and outside (in the US in particular) that the Asian country’s democracy would serve as a model for reforms in the Muslim world, mainly in the Middle East.

Indonesia has also asked in recent years to be more involved in Middle Eastern affairs by playing the role of mediator and peacemaker. It has sustained such aspirations by having a model that combines Islam, democracy, pluralism, tolerance and modernity.

But some observers were skeptical about the prospects of such hopes, as many Arabs hold a patronizing view of Indonesian Muslims and display a critical attitude toward the nature of Islam there. 

There are grounds to wonder why Egypt addressed Indonesia and not its regional neighbor, Turkey. After all, the Turkish model of compatibility between Islam and democracy has been going on for longer, and Egypt has much more in common with Turkey than with Indonesia.

However it makes sense that Egypt prefers to address a Muslim country located far beyond the horizon of Middle Easterners, rather than Turkey, its competitor for regional hegemony.

Possible Egyptian sensitivities may also partly explain why it officially, in contrast to Indonesia, doesn’t give explicit publicity to the two countries’ democracy-advancing cooperation.

Indonesia seems to fully understand such sensitivities, as well as the fact that in the centuries-old Islamic interaction between Egypt and the archipelago, knowledge and ideas have been transferred in one direction only, from the former to the latter.

Referring to the Egyptian request, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa stressed that his country should assist the Egyptians wisely lest it seem as though the Indonesians were preaching to them.

But the main reason for Egypt’s addressing Indonesia seems to be an understanding that the latter has succeeded in solving its 1998 political crisis in the wake of the Suharto regime’s downfall. The Egyptians also seem to be aware of the high relevancy of the Indonesian case. Amazing similarities exist between Egypt’s current circumstances and those of Indonesia in the late 1990s and early 2000s. To mention just a few of them: Two countries with a dominant Sunni majority experienced a massive democratic protest, mainly by the middle class, against an authoritarian regime headed by an ex-general who had ruled for about three decades. In both cases, the ruler eventually lost the crucial support of the army.

The preliminary years of the post-Suharto era were marked by deep political turmoil that included manifestations of religious extremism and violence, sectarian conflicts, awakening separatist aspirations, the growing voice of radical Islam, increasing religious militancy and threats of terror.

Many observers watched gloomily, fearing that the just-born democracy was liable to crash soon. It was only in 2004, after the second parliamentary elections and first direct presidential elections, and after Indonesia had surmounted many obstacles, that observers started to believe the Indonesians were displaying the attributes of a consolidated democracy.

Hence it is no wonder that the Egyptians dig into the Indonesian case. Last May, a workshop initiated by the Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD) took place in Jakarta under the title “Egypt-Indonesia Dialogue on Democratic Transition.”

Indonesia established the IPD in 2008 to support the Bali Democracy Forum (BDF), which it had established in the same year for promoting democracy in Asia. This initiative has been carried out in cooperation with Australia and was praised by the US. Officials from some Arab countries were invited to the meetings of this forum even before the Arab Spring.

Both men and women participated in the May workshop, among them political leaders, democracy activists, academics and representatives from NGOs and the media.

The workshop addressed the following main issues: the role of the military in the transition, and its place in a democratic society; constitutional and political reform; election laws and management; the role of political parties and civil society in building a representative democracy; Islam, politics and the state; the role of the media in consolidating democracy; and ensuring the full participation of women in the political process.

The IPD intends to hold a second workshop in Cairo that will involve a wider range of Egyptian participants and bring Indonesians into closer contact with the current debates in Egypt. It should be noted that certain Egyptian academics and activists have already been exposed to Indonesia’s democracy in recent years, through conferences and seminars. During the Mubarak era, Egyptian journalists and op-ed writers in opposition newspapers even made pointed references to Indonesia’s transition to democracy.

This process, in the home of the largest Muslim community in the world, provided hope for political change and evidence of the compatibility of Islam and democracy (see Giora Eliraz, “Democracy in Indonesia and Middle East countries,” The Jakarta Post, November 30, 2007, and “Will Indonesia’s breeze of democracy reach here?” The Jerusalem Post, April 5, 2008).

It’s likely that when Egypt first asked Indonesia for help, it was already well aware of the latter’s lessons for building democracy. The Indonesian model has so far frustrated Islamic political parties hoping to achieve a leading position in the post-Suharto era. The voters have actually proved, through fair democratic elections, their loyalty to a basic Indonesian state principle of separation between state and religion.

The democratic reforms also considerably decreased the involvement of the army. Even gender equality has manifested by having, with a woman, Megawati Sukarnoputri, becoming president. Indonesia’s democracy has been effective in fighting terror as well.

It's likely that the Egyptians are now also more familiar with some shortcomings that Indonesia’s democracy still has, and are thus more conscious of the fact that some significant elements that have contributed to that democracy’s success are missing in their own political context – in particular a strong, organized, moderate Muslim civil society committed to democratic values. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that the ongoing dialogue strengthens the understanding of the Egyptians that the successful Indonesian case is indeed relevant for a country trying to take its first steps into democracy.

The writer is the author of Islam in Indonesia: Modernism, Radicalism and the Middle East Dimension. (Brighton & Portland: Sussex Academic Press, 2004) and of the monograph Islam and Polity in Indonesia: An Intriguing Case Study (Washington: Hudson Institute, February 2007). He is Associate Researcher at the Harry S Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) strikes a gong to open the
ministerial meeting of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) in Nusa Dua, Bali,
witnessed by UN General Assembly President Joseph Deiss (third left),
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa (second left) and Bali Governor Made
Mangku Pastika (left). The meeting, which began on May 23, will last until
May 27. (JP/Stanny Angga)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Indonesia torture case vs Exxon Mobil revived

Reuters, by Jonathan Stempel, NEW YORK, Fri Jul 8, 2011

(Reuters) - Indonesian villagers who accused Exxon Mobil Corp's security forces of murder, torture and other atrocities have regained their right to sue the giant oil company in the United States.

A federal appeals court said on Friday that companies are not immune from liability under a 1789 U.S. law known as the Alien Tort Statute for "heinous conduct" allegedly committed by its agents in violation of human rights norms.

The 15 villagers contended in their lawsuit that family members were killed and that others were "beaten, burned, shocked with cattle prods, kicked, and subjected to other forms of brutality and cruelty" amounting to torture in Indonesia's Aceh province between 1999 and 2001, a period of civil unrest.

A divided panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said Exxon Mobil should be forced to defend against such charges.

Given that laws in civilized nations hold corporations responsible for lesser wrongs, "it would create a bizarre anomaly to immunize corporations from liability for the conduct of their agents in lawsuits brought for shockingly egregious violations of universally recognized principles of international law," Judge Judith Rogers wrote for a 2-1 majority.

Friday's decision reversed part of a ruling by the federal district court in Washington, D.C.

It is also at odds with a landmark ruling last September by the federal appeals court in New York, raising the prospect that the U.S. Supreme Court could try to resolve the dispute.

"The ruling basically says that corporations are not above the law," said Jennifer Green, a University of Minnesota law professor and director of that school's human rights litigation clinic, who submitted a brief on the plaintiffs' behalf. "When corporations have knowledge that they are aiding and abetting human rights abuses, they can be held liable in a U.S. court."

Exxon Mobil, based in Irving, Texas, said it is reviewing Friday's decision, calling the plaintiffs' claims "baseless." Indonesia's government has also opposed the lawsuit.


The villagers sought to hold Exxon Mobil responsible for having retained soldiers from Indonesia's military as guards for a natural gas facility in Aceh, despite knowing of past human rights abuses by Indonesia's army and that the contract would lead to human rights violations against Aceh villagers.

In its ruling, the D.C. Circuit also upheld the district court dismissal of claims under a different law, the Torture Victim Protection Act.

It returned the case to that court, where a jury could decide liability and any compensatory or punitive damages.

"We have fought these baseless claims for many years," Exxon Mobil spokesman Patrick McGinn said in a statement.

"While conducting its business in Indonesia, ExxonMobil has worked for generations to improve the quality of life in Aceh through employment of local workers, provision of health services and extensive community investment. The company strongly condemns human rights violations in any form."

Agnieszka Fryszman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the decision makes clear that corporations would be "as liable as anyone else" for violating international human rights norms.


Friday's decision puts the D.C. Circuit in agreement with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction in Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

It also put both courts at odds with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said companies are not liable in U.S. courts for violating international human rights law.

That case was brought against Royal Dutch Shell Plc by the families of seven Nigerians executed by a former military government. They accused Shell of helping Nigerian authorities violently suppress protests against its oil exploration and development in the 1990s. [ID:nN04244684]

The 2nd Circuit decision applies in New York, Connecticut and Vermont.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh dissented from Friday's decision, saying it would be "quite odd" for a U.S. court to allow Alien Tort Statute claims against a corporation based on customary international law, when no international tribunals would.

He also said the ruling could harm U.S.-Indonesian relations, and perhaps damage the war on terrorism.

Kavanaugh was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush. Rogers and Judge David Tatel, who comprised the majority, were appointed by President Bill Clinton.

Exxon shares closed up 6 cents at $82.42 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The case is John Doe VIII et al v. Exxon Mobil Corp et al, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 09-7125.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; additional reporting by Anna Driver in Houston and James Vicini in Washington, D.C.; editing by Tim Dobbyn, Andre Grenon and Matthew Lewis)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Indonesia to Set New Record for World's Largest Angklung Ensemble

Jakarta Globe, Lauren Zumbach, July 08, 2011

Washington DC. Internationally-acclaimed maestro Daeng Udjo will lead thousands of Indonesians and Indonesia enthusiasts in an attempt to set a new record for the world's largest angklung ensemble at Saturday's Indonesia Festival 2011.

(Antara Photo/Rosa Panggabean)
The first attempt at the record outside Indonesia will be hosted by the Embassy of Indonesia at the Washington Monument, highlighting a day of festivities meant to introduce Americans to Indonesia’s diverse culture.

As many in the ensemble will be first-time angklung players, the Embassy commissioned 5,000 angklungs from West Java for the event. After receiving their angklung and Balinese bandana or batik scarf, Daeng will give the crowd a crash course in the art of the angklung, teaching them the song that they will play during the record attempt.

A Guiness World Records judge will oversee the event and if the ensemble succeeds, each participant will receive a certificate acknowledging their role in the newly-minted record. 1,600 participants have already registered.

"It may surprise our guests to learn that Indonesia is actually the world's fourth largest country because only 3,000 Indonesians reside in the D.C. Metro area," said Ambassador Dino Djalal. 

"Indonesia Festival 2011 is a perfect opportunity to celebrate multiculturalism and share with Washington the food, dance and music of our nation's more than 230 million citizens."

The all-day festival was organized by the Indonesian Embassy and the Indonesian community in Washington, DC to celebrate Indonesia’s diverse cultural traditions.

In the afternoon, guests will get to taste Indonesian cuisine, try traditional crafts at an arts workshop, and take in a variety of dance, music, and martial arts performances from across Indonesia.

Indonesian artists Malik D'essentials, Sherina, Balawan and Elfa's singers will be featured alongside a lineup of performers from Brazil and the US, including Grammy-nominated singer Raheem DeVaughn and 80's favorite Air Supply.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Govt plans ASEAN Fair in Bali

Erwida Maulia, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Wed, 07/06/2011

The government plans to allocate Rp 101 billion (US$11.8 million) to organize a month-long ASEAN Fair 2011 in Nusa Dua, Bali, as part of efforts to promote the ASEAN Community.

Indonesian Trade Ministry secretary-general Ardiansyah Parman said Wednesday in Jakarta that the fair was being organized at the instruction of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Indonesia is the chair of ASEAN this year.

Ardiansyah said the event was estimated to cost Rp 101 billion, and that the ministry, one of those tasked with organizing the fair, would finance it using money saved from the ministry's 2011 budget.

"The Trade Ministry has saved about 10 percent of its budget, such as funds intended for officials' working trips that we think could be allocated for more important activities," Ardiansyah said during a House of Representatives Commission VI for trade, industry and investment hearing on the proposed fund allocation.

"The Rp 101 billion will come from funds we've managed to save from 10 programs at the Trade Ministry," he added.

Ardiansyah said Rp 14 billion of the funds would be used for promotional and public relations activities, Rp 68 billion on main expo and festival activities, Rp 9.5 billion on opening and closing ceremonies and the remainder on other things.

The fair will include music and food festivals, theatrical performances, and book and handicrafts expos.

Lawmakers have yet to respond to the proposal.

Monday, July 4, 2011

‘Paradise’ Found in Wilds of Papua

Jakarta Globe, Jerome Rivet, July 03, 2011

Papuan tribesmen perform with traditional drums known as ‘tibas’ during the
Lake Sentani festival in Indonesia’s eastern Papua province.
AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad

For decades, the only foreign visitors to venture into Papua were gold-diggers, anthropologists, missionaries and soldiers fighting imperial wars.

But the vast, western half of New Guinea island is slowly opening its doors to tourists as a “hidden paradise,” a land of ancient tribal cultures, glittering reefs, soaring glaciers and teeming wildlife.

Recreational travelers number a few thousand a year at most: people like Sarah Gabel, a 29-year-old American who says she is “captivated by people who live in harmony with nature.”

That’s what she found in the Baliem Valley, the long-isolated home of the Dani tribe high in the Papuan central highlands, outside the town of Wamena.

“I made a one-week trek. I crossed rivers in the wild, slept in huts and met semi-naked men hunting wild boars with arrows,” she said.

This kind of “ethnic tourism” is growing in New Guinea, the largest island in Asia, where a thousand indigenous tribes are divided between the independent state of Papua New Guinea to the east and the Indonesian-controlled provinces of Papua and West Papua to the west.

“The clients come mostly from Europe and the US. They don’t look for five-star hotels but want to discover unknown territories and authenticity,” explained Iwanta Perangin-Angin, whose agency, Papua Adventure, offers stays in Baliem.

Packed with exotic wildlife, Papua also attracts nature buffs and ornithologists in search of birds of paradise and cockatoos. Environment group WWF last week announced the discovery of more than 1,000 new species on New Guinea, including a frog with fangs and a round-headed dolphin.

The Raja Ampat marine park has also earned a reputation as a diving mecca, with more and more live-aboard boats offering extended voyages around the area’s dozens of pristine reefs. “Papua is a hidden paradise. It’s a unique destination with a lot to offer, from wild beaches to high mountains and deep jungle, with a strong culture and beautiful art,” said Azril Azahari, a professor at Trisakti University Institute of Tourism,

“It’s a niche market because it’s very expensive and visitors need to be in good shape to support the climate, the hilly landscape and the very basic transport.”

And then there’s the political situation. Indonesian troops are accused of widespread human rights abuses against indigenous tribes which have been waging a low-level separatist war since the 1960s, often armed with little more than slings and arrows.

Foreign journalists and aid workers are barred from visiting the resource-rich provinces of Papua to report on the rebellion.

“The political situation has been quiet for some time but Papua is still seen abroad as an unsafe destination. The government has to do something to change this reputation,” Azahari said.

“It is essential to develop grassroots, community-based tourism which benefits local people and increases their incomes. The future doesn’t lie with luxury resorts.”

Others warn against the worst outcomes of “ethnic tourism,” such as promoting tribal people as “primitive” when they are not. This is already happening in the form of reconstructions of tribal wars. When tourists arrive, the Dani men take off their shorts and T-shirts, paint their bodies and attach traditional penis gourds known as “kotekas.”

“Papuans are very proud of their traditions but they are weakened by the modern world,” said Yotam Yorgen Fonataba, organizer of an annual cultural festival at Sentani Lake, near the Papuan provincial capital of Jayapura.

“I’m still optimistic our culture is strong and we want to protect it. For this, we need to show the world our creativity.”

Launched four years ago, the festival brings together thousands of people from 24 communities scattered around the huge lake. To the rhythm of traditional drums known as “tibas,” warriors sing haunting tribal songs while dancers, clad in richly colored costumes, sway on boats that glide across the still lake.

A student choir sings a song which goes: “I am Papuan, I have dark skin, I have curly hair. Papua, a piece of heaven fallen on the Earth.”

Agence France-Presse

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Foreign tourist arrival in Bali up 6.61 pct

Antara News, Sat, July 2 2011

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Denpasar, Bali Province (ANTARA News) - Bali Island has attracted over 1.05 million foreign tourists during the first five months of 2011.

During January-May 2011, Bali received a total of 1,05 million foreign tourists, up 6.61 percent from 992,335 during the same period in 2010, Gede Suarsa, Chairman of the Bali Central Bureau of Statistics said here Saturday.

Most of the foreign tourists arrived at Ngurah Rai airport, Bali, by planes, and only 12,369 people came by cruisers or ships.

Bali has set a target to receive 2.6 million to 2.8 million foreign tourists in 2011. In 2010, Bail was visited by 2.57 million tourists.

The number of tourists from eight countries has increased, namely from Australia (up 29.34 percent from 231,361 people to 275,957 people, China (4.19 percent from 83,535 people to 87,038 people), Malaysia (25.41 percent from 53,383 people to 65,950 people), South Korea (up 0.45 percent from 48,631 people to 48,852 people), England (up 31.74 percent from 30,335 to 39,963), Singapore (33.23 percent, from 29,862 to 39,784), France (up 8.37 percent from 35,264 to 38,426), Russia 25.72 percent from 28,518 to 35,853 people).

However, the number of Japanese tourists visiting Bali during January-May 2011 dropped 24.60 percent from 99,473 people in the same period in 2010, to 74,999 people this year.

Tourist arrivals from Taiwan also went down 4.87 percent from 54,628 people in January-May 2010 to 52,157 people in the same period this year, Gede Suarsa said.

The number of tourists from ASEAN member countries in Bali, mainly Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines, in May 2011 increased to 28,819 from 20,630 in January 2011.

Indonesia has set itself the target of attracting 7.7 million foreign tourists this year.

Editor: Suryanto