Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

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

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

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

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

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

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

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

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

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


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

… The Shift in Human Nature

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

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

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

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

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Riau Court Sentences Marijuana Trafficker to Death

Jakarta Globe, May 28, 2015

Riau Police caught a truck driver attempting to smuggle eight tons of marijuana
from Aceh to Jakarta and Bandung last October. (Reuters Photo/Andres Stapff)

Jakarta. An Indonesian court has sentenced a truck driver to death for transporting eight tons of marijuana, as part of the government’s crusade against what the president claims is a “national drug emergency.”

The court in Riau province, in Sumatra, ruled on Thursday that the defendant, M. Jamil, was guilty of attempting to smuggle the drugs overland from Aceh province, on the northern tip of Sumatra, to Jakarta and Bandung in Java last year.

Jamil was arrested in Riau’s Siak district with his truck loaded with sacks of marijuana. He said the contraband had been ordered by a man identified as Ibrahim, who was later also arrested and sentenced to death.

Jamil’s arrest last October was not his first brush with the law. He was caught smuggling marijuana several years ago but managed to evade the death sentence.

After serving time in prison, he was released and immediately returned to transporting the drug.

The court also sentenced two of Jamil’s accomplices to life in prison, and another man identified as Muhalil to 20 years in prison.

Jamil told the court that he would not appeal against the death sentence.

The ruling comes a month after Indonesia executed eight men, seven of them foreign nationals, for drug-trafficking offenses. Indonesia has so far this year put to death 14 people, 12 of them foreigners, for drug offenses, drawing widespread international condemnation.

President Joko Widodo, in defending the use of the death penalty, claims that Indonesia is in the grip of a “drug emergency,” and that the death sentence serves as a deterrent against would-be drug offenders. Experts, though, have repeatedly debunked the figures Joko cites for drug-related deaths.

Related Article:

Chinese company outing hits Holland, bringing 4,500 workers, May 29, 2015

Some 4,500 Chinese workers are in the Netherlands for the next few days for a mass company outing, the biggest single group of Chinese tourists ever to visit the Netherlands. 

The group, who will be ferried around the country in a fleet of 90 buses, work for a Chinese company called Perfect, broadcaster Nos reports. 

They are staying in hotels throughout the country including Rotterdam, Delft, Amsterdam and Utrecht, the broadcaster says. In total, the Dutch tourist board expects the visit to generate up to €8m. 

Last year, some 250,000 Chinese tourists visited the Netherlands and the tourist board expects this to rise to 300,000 this year. 

According to RTL news, their number could triple to 800,000 within the next five years. Most are expected to visit Amsterdam, where many city centre residents are worried about the growing number of tourists.

‘It is getting out of hand. There are so many tourists that we can hardly do normal shopping any more,’ Harry Haspers of the local residents’ association told RTL.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Minister Files Police Complaint Over Fake Diplomas

'University of Berkley' found operating in Central Jakarta

Jakarta Globe, Kennial Laia, Fatima Bona & Farouk Arnaz, May 26, 2015

National Police Chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti, left, meeting with Research and
Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir, center, and Yuddy Chrisnandy, the
minister for administrative reform, right. (Antara Photo/Adam Bariq)

Jakarta. Research and Higher Education Minister Mohammad Nasir has officially lodged a criminal complaint with the National Police on Tuesday after the discovery of widespread trade in counterfeit university diplomas in Indonesia.

Natsir met with Gen. Badrodin Haiti, chief of the National Police, to deliver the results of studies and his ministry has performed in the last few weeks, and its attempts to crack on the fraud. The ministry found hundreds of diplomas issued by foreign “universities” of unclear repute had actually been printed in Indonesia.

The Jakarta Police on Monday evening arrested two people said to have produced the fraudulent diplomas in a East Jakarta printing shop.

Nasir said his ministry had also discovered diploma mills operating in small rented shops and houses, including the so-called “University of Berkley” in an office building in Central Jakarta. The last institution was found to have only obtained a license for short courses, contradicting its oblique claim of cooperation with the non-existing University of Berkley in Michigan in the United States, apparently a misspelled amalgamation of the names of two top US institutes: University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Michigan.

The ministry also took note of formerly legitimate universities that never bothered to have their accreditation renewed. “When a university is not licensed or has not extended its accreditation for years, such universities are [technically] issuing illegal diplomas,” Nasir said.

“The problem of fake diplomas is becoming a national concern and we cannot let it continue. My ministry is cracking down on universities believed to have issued illegal diplomas throughout Indonesia,” Nasir continued. “If we find such universities, we will shut them down.”

At least 18 licensed universities, according the ministry’s data, have issued diplomas in exchange for money to students who did not follow proper academic procedures.

National Police chief Badrodin said the cases merited individual investigation since they have different circumstances and may not all be criminal in nature. “The cases are different so we need to study them first,” he said.

National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Agus Rianto on Monday encouraged graduates and employers to report suspicious university diplomas, arguing police need official complaints before launching an investigation.

Experts are calling for police to charge both the producers of counterfeit diplomas and their purchasers with fraud.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Chinese ambassador urges punishment for scam tours in Thailand

Want China Times, Xinhua 2015-05-25

Tourists in Pattaya, September 2006. (File photo/Xinhua)

The Chinese ambassador to Thailand, Ning Fukui, said Sunday that responsible agencies of China and Thailand should strengthen punishment for travel agencies that continue to organize zero-fare tours despite complaints, including blacklisting them.

China and Thailand have taken some measures to resolve the issue of zero-fare tours, which have proved effective to a certain extent, but failed to eradicate the practice, Ning said.

The practice of "zero- or negative-fare tours" refers to tour services sold by travel agents at or below cost in order to attract travelers who are later forced to purchase goods or tip agents during their tours.

There have been frequent reports of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand being troubled by such practices.

The Chinese embassy in Thailand has begun to forward a list of travel agencies against which Chinese visitors have filed a lot of complaints to Thailand's tourism departments, in the hopes of deterring the practice by beefing up punishment for one or two of the agencies, according to the ambassador.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Indonesian Court Sentences Japanese Grandfather, 73, to Life for Drug Smuggling

Jakarta Globe, May 21, 2015

Masaru Kawada, 73, was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for drug
smuggling, but maintains that he was an unwitting mule. (Antara Photo/Iggoy el Fitra)

Jakarta. An Indonesian court has sentenced a 73-year-old Japanese man to life in prison for trafficking 2.35 kilograms of methamphetamine into the country from Macau.

The Pariaman District Court in West Sumatra ruled on Wednesday that Masaru Kawada acted as part of an international drug-trafficking syndicate when he brought the drugs in his bag on a flight from the Chinese city by way of Kuala Lumpur last November.

Customs officers arrested Kawada at Minangkabau International Airport in Padang, the provincial capital, after an X-ray scan of his bag revealed the drugs concealed in the lining.

The sentence handed down was heavier than the 16 years sought by prosecutors, who cited Kawada’s advanced age. Kawada’s lawyer said on Thursday that they would mount an appeal, and reiterated his defense that he was an unwitting drug mule and not a trafficker.

Syusvida Lastri, the lawyer, said her client had from the start argued that the bag with the drugs was not his, and that he had been paid to carry it to Indonesia by an Englishman identified only as Edward Mark. Kawada, who worked as an English translator in his homeland, claimed Mark asked him to travel to Macau, paying his fare from Japan and giving him $500 up front. In Macau, he said, he met an associate of Mark’s, who asked him to take the bag to Padang and paid him $200.

Kawada claimed he didn’t notice the drugs when he first received the bag, and only found out when customs officers in Padang identified the package on their X-ray scanner.

Syusvida said Kawada, a grandfather of two, had initially feared he might get the death sentence. The Indonesian government has garnered international condemnation for two sets of executions carried out this year on drug convicts. President Joko Widodo, citing dubious data to justify his response to a so-called “drug emergency,” ordered 14 people put to death by firing squad this year, 12 of them foreigners.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Indonesian Ambassador Dies in Singapore, 11 Days After Pakistan Crash

Jakarta Globe, Novy Lumanauw, May 19, 2015

Pakistani army soldiers carry coffins, wrapped in national flags and carrying
 bodies of helicopter crash victims, at the Nur Khan air base in Islamabad on
May 9. (Reuters Photo/Faisal Mahmood)

Jakarta. Indonesia’s ambassador to Pakistan, Burhan Muhammad, died at a hospital in Singapore on Tuesday, 11 days since suffering severe injuries in a helicopter crash in northern Pakistan in which his wife was killed.

Burhan, 57, reportedly died at 12:50 a.m. from severe burns sustained in the May 8 crash. His body will be flown to Jakarta on Tuesday evening for a memorial service at the Foreign Ministry office, before being taken to his hometown of Yogyakarta for burial.

“I pray that he earns a good place by Allah’s side and that the family he leaves behind be given strength,” President Joko Widodo said in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi said separately that Indonesia had “lost one of its best diplomats.”

Burhan was among several diplomats on board a Pakistani military Mi-17 helicopter on the way to inspect a tourism project in northern Pakistan’s Gilgit region when it crashed. The Pakistani Taliban initially claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, but the government insisted that the crash was due to engine failure.

Hery Listyawati, Burhan’s wife, was killed in the crash, along with the Philippine and Norwegian ambassadors to Pakistan, as well as the wife of Malaysia’s ambassador and three Pakistani crew members.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

MPR Demands President Investigate Past Human Rights Abuses

A protester holds a placard
depicting the 1998 kidnapping
of activists. (AFP Photo
/Adek Berry)
Jakarta. Members of the People’s Consultative Assembly, or MPR, on Monday demanded President Joko Widodo address historic human rights abuses.

“There have many human rights abuses, but we demand the ones mentioned in the truth and reconciliation bill to be solved first,” MPR Speaker Zulkifli Hasan said on Monday.

Zulkifli said cases that must be prioritized included the 1965 communist purge, human rights abuses in Aceh and Lampung, and the fall out from the 1998 May riots.

The cases must be solved to provide closure and consolation for the families of victims, Zulkifli said.

Zulkifli said Joko has promised to resolve the aftermath of the 1998 tragedy, in which more than 1000 people died and there were widespread reports of gang rapes.

“They [families of victims] have been waiting for more than 17 years, it is not a short time and there has been no solutions from the government,” Zulkifli said.

Muhammad Puri Andamas, student council president at Trisakti University, represents the families of students from the university killed during a 1998 demonstration.

He said he gave Zulkifli a letter of recommendation that requested the government immediately form a human rights tribunal to investigate the case.

The families of victims have also urged the government to honor the slain students as reformation heroes.

After Papuans Released, Indonesia Urged to Free Maluku Prisoners

Jakarta Globe, Katharina R. Lestari & Ryan Dagur, May 18, 2015

President Joko Widodo shakes hands with freed Papuan political prisoners during
a ceremony in Abepura prison in Jayapura on May 9. (AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)

Jakarta. Indonesia’s release of five Papuan political prisoners earlier this month must be quickly followed by granting amnesty to political prisoners from neighboring Maluku province, activists say.

At least 24 pro-sovereignty activists from Maluku remain behind bars, according to Samuel Weileruny of the Maluku Civil Community Advocacy Center. These include nine political prisoners who were sentenced in mid-January to prison terms of up to four years on charges of treason.

“What we fight for is the truth, and we do it in peaceful and dignified ways,” Weileruny told in an interview.

He said that jailing political activists for treason was improper.

“Treason means a threat expressed with violence. People committing treason should at least have weapons so as to equally fight against the state. But we don’t do that,” he said.

Pro-sovereignty activists in Maluku have long advocated for an autonomous state known as the South Maluku Republic (RMS).

RMS attempted to secede in 1950 but was defeated by Indonesian forces the same year. A low-level armed struggle followed on Seram Island until 1963. But in recent years, the movement has become more symbolic in nature, with activists participating in banned RMS flag-raising and peaceful ceremonies.

Simon Saija is one such activist. He was among the nine arrested last year for marking the April 25, 1950, anniversary of RMS’s original declaration of independence. After President Joko Widodo earlier this month granted clemency to the five Papuan political prisoners, one of Saija’s relatives, who did not want to be named, said political prisoners from Maluku also deserve leniency.

“The fight of political activists in both Maluku and Papua isn’t the same, but they both fight for their rights,” the relative said. “So don’t just send them to jail.”

Yanes Balubun, a lawyer for the nine Maluku defendants, didn’t want to compare the situation in Papua with the one in Maluku, but he noted that they are now both peaceful movements.

“This is the same political stance, which is done in a peaceful way. So the Indonesian government should treat them the same,” he told

Moshe Tuwanakotta was jailed in 2004 after he brought an RMS flag to a peaceful rally that year. He questioned why some Papuan political prisoners were released, but not activists from Maluku.

“Political prisoners in Maluku must be released too, just like our friends in Papua. Why did Jokowi grant clemency only to Papuan political prisoners? Maluku also has political prisoners,” he said.

Joko granted clemency to the five Papuan political prisoners on May 9 during a trip to Papua. The president had earlier visited Maluku, though he did not announce any clemency deals there.

Andreas Harsono, the Indonesia researcher for Human Rights Watch, said he met with the Papuan political prisoners after their release. Their accounts of a conversation with Joko lead him to believe that prisoners from Maluku may eventually be freed as well.

“If we see from Jokowi’s talk with those released Papuan political prisoners, it seems that freedom will also be afforded to political prisoners in Maluku, remembering that many political prisoners remain behind bars,” he said.

Either way, many observers see Joko’s clemency deal for the Papuans as being insufficient.

Activists say clemency implies an admission of guilt; they are arguing instead for a general amnesty.

“We hope that [the president] grants amnesty or abolition instead of clemency,” Weileruny said.

“Clemency is a pardon, it means we are guilty. If we are guilty, it means that what has been done, like torture and limitations on our rights, is justified.”

This story was first published by Ucanews and was edited for style by the Jakarta Globe.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

PKS Calls for Immediate Response to Growing Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Jakarta Globe, May 17, 2015

Rohingya migrants who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat wait in line to be
registered in Kuala Langsa, in Aceh province, on Sunday. The United Nations has
 called on countries around the Andaman Sea not to push back the thousands of
desperate Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar now stranded in
rickety boats, and to rescue them instead. (Reuters Photo/Roni Bintang)

Jakarta. Legislators from an Indonesian Islamic party have urged the government to address the Rohingya boatpeople crisis by issuing a regulation allowing Jakarta to assist the migrants, including by providing temporary shelter for them.

Fahri Hamzah, a deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, said in Jakarta on Sunday that he was concerned with media reports that Indonesian officials had prohibited boats carrying hundreds of Rohingya migrants from reaching Indonesian shores.

He said he understood that officials were turning the boats back because of a lack of legal grounds to assist the refugees, but added this should not be the case.

“[Lack of regulation] should not be an excuse to turn a blind eye to the suffering of people from other nations,” said Fahri, also a deputy secretary general of the Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party, or PKS.

“Their suffering is evident. Do we, as a nation that believes in humanity, have the heart to see them suffer?”

He urged President Joko Widodo to issue a presidential regulation to specifically address the growing crisis at sea.

Fahri added that Indonesia should not treat the boatpeople the same way that neighboring Malaysia and Thailand are doing, by pushing the boats out of their national waters in what the International Organization for Migration has blasted as a perverse game of “maritime ping-pong.”

Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have been criticized for sending Rohingya refugees back to sea on rickety, unseaworthy boats after catching them in the countries’ waters or after also giving them food.

Indonesia and Malaysia last week saw a surge in refugees from Bangladesh and Myanmar following a Thai government crackdown on human trafficking, under which the Thai authorities are blocking boats carrying migrants from landing.

Neither of the governments of the three countries has responded to an appeal made by the United Nations’ refugee agency, the UNHCR, last week for an international search and rescue operation for the thousands believed to be stranded in Southeast Asian waters.

The UNHCR has said several thousand migrants were abandoned at sea by smugglers after the Thai crackdown, warning that the region is risking a “massive humanitarian crisis,” Reuters reported.

Another PKS legislator, Sukamta, said last week that Indonesia’s immigration law and international relations law actually addressed the matter of migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers.

He added, though, that the lack of derivative regulations meant there were no technical details for officials to adhere to in addressing actual problems.

“There is no presidential decree yet for those laws. The presidential decree should serve as an operational guideline for how we should treat refugees,” said Sukamta, a member of House Commission I, which oversees defense and foreign affairs.

“We want to make sure that this country, Indonesia, sides with humanity, at least by providing [the refugees] with temporary shelter. The government can do this as long as it has the will to,” he added as quoted by state-run news agency Antara.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman on Sunday said he would hold separate meetings this week with his Indonesian and Thai counterparts to discuss the Rohingya migrant crisis — including to work out a collective proposal under Asean and discuss it with Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya migrant crisis.

“As Asean chairman, we will discuss in depth, so that this problem will be solved. I hope Myanmar will sit with us to find solutions before we take it to the international level,” Anifah said, according to Malaysian newspaper The Star.

“If necessary, we will call for an emergency Asean meeting as suggested by the Prime Minister,’’ he  added.

University of Indonesia international law professor Hikmahanto Juwana said Indonesia must be able to convince Malaysia and Thailand to allow Rohingya migrants to enter their territories so that the ill sick could be given medical treatment.

“We’ve already done the right thing if we focus on the humanitarian aspect, especially for those who have entered Indonesia, such as those who have been rescued by Indonesian fishermen,” he said.

“Don’t ever send them back to sea; don’t give them food and then send them away like Thailand and Malaysia have done.”

He suggested Indonesia could set up a refugee camp on one of its thousands of islands, as it did for Vietnamese war refugees on Galang Island in Riau Islands province.

“Financially, we cannot run such an island alone. We would need help from others. We need to discuss this with the UNHCR,” Hikmahanto said.

Most importantly, he went on, the issue would never be resolved without serious discussions with Myanmar, which refuses to recognize the Rohingya or acknowledge the discrimination and violence they face in the country.

Myanmar has refused to attend crisis talks on the issue slated for May 29 in Thailand if other countries use the word “Rohingya” at the meeting, saying it does not recognize the term.

One of migrants housed in a makeshift camp in Langsa,
 Indonesia, shows the scars he says are from violence that erupted
 on the boats while still at sea. Photograph: Antonio Zambardino/

Related Articles:

Organizers Cancel Malang LGBT Event Over Threats

Jakarta Globe, Dyah Ayu Pitaloka, May 17, 2015

In this file photo, transgender people demonstrate in Central Jakarta for an
end to the discrimination and violence they face. (Antara Photo/Ismar Patrizki)

Malang, East Java. An event planned to commemorate anti-homophobia day in Malang, East Java, was canceled after the organizers claimed to have received threats.

The event, themed “Celebrate Our Gender,” was initially scheduled for Sunday in conjunction with International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, or Idahot.

Niken, one of the organizers of the event, said that she and a colleague started to receive threatening phone calls and text messages on Friday from people claiming to represent universities and several religious organizations in the city.

“Some people called and texted us to ask if we were going to gather people and invite the LGBT community,” Niken told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday. “Some questioned our permit while others opposed the celebration outright.”

One caller threatened to “forcefully dissolve” the event should organizers press forward with the celebration.

Niken and her team decided to report the threats to the police and obtain a permit, which they initially had not planned on applying for “because the event was going to be held indoors.”

“We expected no more than 20 people to attend,” Niken added.

Police suggested that they cancel “Celebrate Our Gender” due to security reasons.

“The content of the discussion is debatable, it doesn’t fall into the category of an academic seminar,” local police official Teguh Priyo Wasono said on Sunday, without actually addressing the police’s responsibility for ensuring the security of law-abiding residents or going after those making the threats.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Indonesia Lags Way Behind Southeast Asian Neighbors

Jakarta Globe, Arientha Primanita, May 14, 2015

Students dancing dangdut after the drinking jamu together at Sukoharjo district,
Solo, Central Java, April 1, 2015. The ceremony of drinking jamu together follows
by thousands students as a campaign to promote Jamu as a healthy drinks for
youth and mark the Sukoharjo as the Jamu district in Indonesia. (JG Photo/
Jurnasyanto Sukarno)

Indonesia has ranked 69th out of 124 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Human Capital Index 2015, which studied countries’ success in nurturing, deploying and developing human resources.

The country is left lagging behind its Southeast Asian neighbors of the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore which ranked 46th, 52nd, 24th respectively.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy is classified under lower to middle income nations, along with those which have an income per capita ranging from $1,045 per year to $4,125 per year.

The WEF’s Human Capital Index 2015 is a study of 124 countries covering 46 indicators that measure how far a country is from optimizing its human resources talent — including evaluating the levels of education, skills and employment available — to people across five different age groups, beginning with under 15 years to over 65 years.

Measured by age, Indonesia rank 47th for human capital index in the under 15 age group, partly thanks to the high score in the primary enrolment rate and secondary enrolment rate.

Indonesia scored the worst in the category of 65 and Over Age Group (92rd), with scores in educational attainment, including secondary education, is much lower than the country’s other age groups.

On a 1 to 7 scale in which 1 is the worst score and 7 the best, Indonesia scored 1 for social safety net, internet access in schools and university-business research and development collaboration.

Finland ranked number one in the index, with an overall score of 86 percent.

Related Articles:

Asian Teens Lead World in Science as Indonesia Ranks Near Bottom

President Joko Widodo, center, distributes the Indonesia Health Card (KIS) to
workers at a rubber plantation in North Sumatra. (Antara Foto/Septianda Perdana)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Vatican officially recognizes state of Palestine in a new treaty

The Vatican has confirmed it will officially recognize Palestine as a state. Around 70 percent of United Nations members now recognize the disputed region.

Deutsche Welle, 13 May 2015

Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in St. Peter square at the Vatican.
The as yet unsigned treaty was finalized on Wednesday, and states that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic relations from the Palestine Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine.

The agreement "aims to enhance the life and activities of the Catholic Church and its recognition at the judicial level," the Vatican's foreign minister, Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, said, referring to the church's activities in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

The world's smallest country has been unofficially referring to the "state of Palestine" for at least a year, with Pope Francis addressing Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas as "president of the state of Palestine" during a visit in May 2014.

Francis also made sure to fly from Amman to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, before continuing to Tel Aviv in Israel, to ensure his Holy Land pilgrimage was a "three-state" visit.

The Vatican's foreign minister said the change was in line with the Holy See's position.
Spokesman Reverend Federico Lombardi confirmed it was "a recognition that the state exists."

He said Abbas would be granted an audience with the pope when he visits the nation on Saturday.

Another step forward

The campaign to recognize Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as an official state has been stepped up since peace talks with Israel stalled last year.

In December 2014, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed papers to join the International Criminal Court, which could give them the power to bring Israel to court over alleged war crimes that occurred during the most recent conflict in August.

It is already a non-member observer state of the United Nations.

Meanwhile, Christians are preparing for the canonization of two 19th century nuns, Mariam Bawardy and Marie Alphonsine Ghattas, who will be the people to be named saint from Ottoman-ruled Palestine.

The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to attend the ceremony at the Vatican on May 17.

an/kms (AP, dpa)
Related Articles:

".. Everything that has transpired during these years has been realized potential. That is to say that we see the potentials of what you might do, and report on that and only that. Much of what we see now is realized quickly. When we told you in 2012 there would be a new pope, 13 months later it happened. This was not prophecy, but rather a potential. We saw it coming because we have the overview and we knew of the anxiety of the existing pope, the health of the man, and we also knew of the potentials of a South American pope to come forward. All of these things should be a "connect the dots" for you. I come yet again, not with prophecy, but with information given with a congratulatory attitude of potential. ..."

Fearing Death Penalty, Russian Drug Smuggler Won’t Appeal Jail Term

Jakarta Globe, May 12, 2015

Alexandra Magnaeva, center, of Russia was arrested at Ngurah Rai International
 Airport in Bali when trying to smuggle over 2 kilograms of methamphetamine
into the country. (AFP Photo/Sonny Tumbelaka)

Jakarta. A Russian woman who was sentenced on Monday to more than 16 years in jail by the Denpasar District Court for attempting to smuggle 2.1 kilograms of methamphetamine into Indonesia won’t appeal because she might be sentenced to death.

Alexandra Magnaeva was sentenced to 16 years and six months in prison and given a total fine of Rp 10 billion  ($757,000).

Heru Purwanto, who represents Magnaeva, said his client had admitted to her crime and would not appeal the verdict, for fear she could face the firing squad.

“She accepts the verdict,” Heru said on Tuesday, as quoted by news portal “She is afraid that if she appeals she could end up getting a more severe punishment. She’s a foreigner, she’s afraid she would get the death penalty.”

Custom officials at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport arrested Maganaeva, who was reportedly behaving suspiciously, shortly after disembarking her flight from Hong Kong in December last year.

Indonesia has been put under the international spotlight in recent months after the execution drug convicts — mostly foreign nationals — with a number still waiting on death row.

In late April, the government executed eight drug convicts, including seven foreigners. The execution was the second round after the first was conducted in January when six other foreigners were killed for drug offenses.

Philippines national Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso and Frenchman Serge Atlaoui were granted temporary reprieves.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bangladeshi secularist blogger Ananta Bijoy Das hacked to death

Yet another blogger has been hacked to death in Bangladesh for writing for atheistic website "Mukto Mona." Ananta Bijoy Das had reportedly been on the extremists' hit list for some time.

Deutsche Welle, 12 May 2015

Machete wielders hacked blogger Ananta Bijoy Das to death in Bangladesh's northern city Sylhet on Tuesday.

"Attackers wearing masks hacked Ananta Bijoy Das with machetes in Sylhet city at around 8.30 a.m. (0230 UTC/GMT) this morning. We have learnt that he was a writer," the Sylhet police's Deputy Commissioner Faisal Mahmud told news agency AFP. The 33-year-old worked in a bank, police said.

Faid Ahmed, the Canada-based editor of website Mukto Mona, where Ananta Bijoy's writings were published, confirmed the blogger's death.

Debashish Debu, Das' friend told journalists that the blogger had been receiving threats from extremists in recent months. "He was on their hit list," Debu said.

Ananta Bijoy's murder comes just a week after Islamists of the al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) claimed responsibility for killing Avijit Roy in February. The US-based citizen also worked for "Mukto Mona" as a moderator.

Roy was well known for his writings on philosophy and human rights issues. A 2014 nominee and a posthumous 2015 winner of DW's Best of Blogs awards, he was an atheist and government critic and had been accused by Islamists thought to have links to the militant Hefazat-e-Islam group of insulting the Prophet Muhammad and defaming Islam. He received numerous death threats prior to his killing.

Machete-wielders, possibly members of the AQIS, claimed yet another victim, Washiqur Rahman amonth later in March.

"Mukto Mona," which means "a free mind" in Bengali, publishes blogs, commentaries and reports based on science and logic that debunk conservative religious practices. 

Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority country, is officially secular, but right-wing groups terrorizing liberal thinkers have been on the rise in recent years.

mg/msh (AFP, Reuters)
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".. An energy that goes around the planet will eventually become how you think and will change humanity to a lighter, higher vibrating group of souls. In the process, poverty and disease will diminish, social issues will become more balanced, tolerance will be at a new higher level, and new invention will make survival much easier. None of this will have anything to do with perceived spirituality. Not yet.

So, here will sit the atheist and the agnostic who will know about longer life, peace on Earth and compassion. Yet they won't associate it with anything from the "outside". This is because, for them, it will be intellectual, intuitive and the way it is. They will call it new advanced Human nature, and they won't know where it came from. Not yet. The intellectuals will look back on history and say we had the barbaric age until 2012, when Humans started to become wiser. In 100 years, you'll look back and see a humanity that was far, far different and far more violent. Sociologists will add a new level of growth to their chart, for it will signal a change in thinking that hadn't ever been seen before. It will be seen as the end of Human immaturity and the beginning of a wiser humanity. But for a long time, there will be no consensus on "God inside". Instead, there will be more tolerance between belief systems.. ..."

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Castro at Vatican thanks pope for mediating thaw with US

Yahoo – AFP, Jean-Louis De La Vaissiere, 10 May 2015

Cuban president Raul Castro (R) pictured with Pope Francis after their
private audience at the Vatican on May 10, 2015 (AFP Photo/Vincenzo Pinto)

Vatican City (AFP) - Cuban President Raul Castro met with Pope Francis at the Vatican Sunday, thanking the pontiff for his role in brokering an historic rapprochement between Havana and Washington, a papal spokesman said.

"Raul Castro thanked the Pope for his mediation between Cuba and the United States," said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi of the exchange that also focused on Francis' upcoming visit to Cuba.

Cuba's President Raul Castro (L)during a
 meeting with US President Barack Obama
 on the sidelines of the Summit of the
 Americas at the ATLAPA Convention 
center in Panama City on April 11, 
2015 (AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan)
The first South American pope played a key role in secret negotiations between the United States and Cuba, which led to the surprise announcement in December that the two countries would seek to restore diplomatic ties after more than 50 years of tensions.

During the meeting Castro offered the pontiff a painting by Cuban artist Kcho inspired by the plight of illegal immigrants stranded at sea -- a subject close to the pope's heart.

Francis in turn presented Castro a medal of Saint Martin de Tours, a French saint celebrated for having given his coat to a beggar, and urged others to "clothe and support the poor."

Castro, who was accompanied by his Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, held a private hour-long meeting with the pontiff in a small room adjoining the Paul VI Audience Hall, where large gatherings are held in the Vatican.

View galleryCuba's President Raul Castro (L)during a meeting …
Cuba's President Raul Castro (L)during a meeting with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines …
Their discussions, conducted in Spanish, were described by the Vatican as "very cordial".

Castro a Francis fan

Castro said he was "very struck" by the Catholic leader's "modesty and wisdom" and promised to attend all the masses given by Francis on his Cuba visit in September.

Picture released by the Vatican Press
Office shows Pope Benedict XVI with 
Cuban leader Fidel Castro (R) during a
 meeting in Havana on March 28, 
2012 (AFP Photo)
"I read all the Holy Father's speeches," Castro said, adding that if the pope "continues to speak in this way, one day I will start praying again and return to the Catholic Church. And I'm not saying that as a joke."

Pope Francis arrived ten minutes ahead of Castro.

A dozen uniformed Swiss Guards stood to attention in front of the building when the limousine bearing the Cuban flag arrived.

The Holy See has revealed the Argentine pope personally mediated between the US and Cuba, and that the Vatican hosted delegations from the two countries in October.

The Vatican announced last month that Pope Francis would visit the Caribbean island in September, becoming only the third pontiff to do so after John Paul II in 1998 and Benedict XVI in 2012.

Jorge Bergoglio, then auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires and now Pope Francis, accompanied John Paul II on the first papal visit to Cuba, during which John Paul II called for Havana to be brought in from the cold.

"Let Cuba open itself to the world, and let the world open itself to Cuba," he urged, two years after hosting Castro's ailing older brother Fidel for talks at the Vatican.

From Cuba, Francis will continue on to the US for a meeting with President Barack Obama.

Cuban president Fidel Castro (R) listens to
 pope John Paul II on the tarmac of the 
Jose Marti International Airport in Havana 
January 21, 1998 (AFP Photo/Michel
Castro's Vatican visit, announced only Tuesday, followed a visit to Russia, where the Cuban leader attended a grandiose World War II victory parade on Saturday.

He was to meet Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Rome later on Sunday.

The Catholic Church has consistently backed calls for the lifting of the US trade embargo against Cuba, while staunchly supporting Cuban Catholics and pressuring Havana to release political prisoners, many of whom are Catholic activists.

The Vatican has also kept its distance from Cuban exiles based in Miami, Florida, who have long clamoured for Havana's Marxist regime to be ousted.

When the now retired Benedict XVI visited Cuba in 2012, he had lengthy, warm talks with Fidel Castro, who is now 88.

The Vatican's mediation between Cuba and the US administration was a diplomatic success for the Holy See and had a considerable impact in mainly Catholic Latin America.

Other diplomatic efforts have been less successful, including a bid to help resolve the political crisis in Venezuela and a longstanding drive to encourage reconciliation between the Colombian government and guerrilla movements in that country.

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".. Everything that has transpired during these years has been realized potential. That is to say that we see the potentials of what you might do, and report on that and only that. Much of what we see now is realized quickly. When we told you in 2012 there would be a new pope, 13 months later it happened. This was not prophecy, but rather a potential. We saw it coming because we have the overview and we knew of the anxiety of the existing pope, the health of the man, and we also knew of the potentials of a South American pope to come forward. All of these things should be a "connect the dots" for you. I come yet again, not with prophecy, but with information given with a congratulatory attitude of potential. ..."