Monday, August 31, 2009

Indonesia Stock Index May Add 13%, Credit Suisse Says

Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite Index, the world’s third-best performer this year, may rise 13 percent by the end of 2010, helped by growth and stability that was last seen more than a decade ago, Credit Suisse Group AG said.

The brokerage raised its forecast for the index to 2,685 from 2,276, while retaining an “overweight” rating for the market, according to a report by Credit Suisse analyst Arief Wana.

“The stronger social-political environment, led by the strong mandate of reelected President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, an earnings recovery and a low interest rate environment are likely to spur a rerating of the Indonesian market,” the analyst wrote. “The last period that we saw this was 1992 to 1997.”

The Jakarta Composite has gained 75 percent this year, trailing behind only Peru and Turkey gauges among 89 benchmark indexes tracked by Bloomberg. Yudhoyono’s reelection last month raised expectations the government will maintain policies that helped the economy expand 4 percent in the second quarter and curb inflation to a nine-year low.

The index may return to the record 2,830.26 reached in January last year within the next 12 months, PT Batavia Prosperindo Aset Manajemen said earlier this month. Automotive, banks and property stocks may lead gains, said Ruddy Raharjo, head of investment at Batavia, Indonesia’s sixth-best performing fund in the past five years.

The economy, Southeast Asia’s biggest, may expand by more than 5 percent next year, bolstered by a recovery in the global economy, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Aug. 24. Still, inflation may accelerate to more than 5 percent next year partly because of higher demand for goods, Sri Mulyani added.

PT United Tractors, Indonesia’s biggest heavy equipment seller, and PT Astra International, the nation’s biggest auto retailer, are among the brokerage’s top picks in the market. They also favor PT Indofood Sukses Makmur, PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia and PT Perusahaan Gas Negara.

Earnings per share may grow 17 percent among the Indonesian companies covered by Credit Suisse, the analyst wrote. The risks to those estimates are “on the upside,” especially for commodity companies, according to the report.

View complete news from the original source:
Bloomberg News

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Creating 'Moral Robots' One Step Closer

Primary source: AlphaGalileo, also Softpedia News, and ScienceDaily

The goal of offering robots a sense of morality was recently brought one step closer by researchers in Portugal and Indonesia, when they introduced a new approach on decision-making, based on computational logic. Their efforts are described in the latest issue of the International Journal of Reasoning-based Intelligent Systems, AlphaGalileo reports.

Science-fiction authors have proposed the idea of “evil” robots in their book and movie plots for a long time. In most of these instances, the robots turn to behavior that we perceive as bad, as in, for instance, the fact that they attack their creators. But what people often overlook is the fact that the machines would have first had to have an idea of what is moral for a human being. Making this a reality is still some time away, experts believe.

“Morality no longer belongs only to the realm of philosophers. Recently, there has been a growing interest in understanding morality from the scientific point of view,” the researchers say in their journal entry. The paper was written by Luis Moniz Pereira, from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, in Portugal, and Ari Saptawijaya, from the Universitas Indonesia, in Depok. Both of them have developed a keen interest in computational logic and the field of applied robotics over the years.

They have turned to a system known as prospective logic to help them begin the process of programming morality into a computer. Put simply, prospective logic can model a moral dilemma and then determine the logical outcomes of the possible decisions. The approach could herald the emergence of machine ethics.

The development of machine ethics will allow us to develop fully autonomous machines that can be programmed to make judgements based on a human moral foundation. "Equipping agents with the capability to compute moral decisions is an indispensable requirement," the researchers say, "This is particularly true when the agents are operating in domains where moral dilemmas occur, e.g., in healthcare or medical fields."

Journal reference:

Luís Moniz Pereira, Ari Saptawijaya. Modelling Morality with Prospective Logic. Progress in Artificial Intelligence, 2007; 487499 DOI:
10.1007/978-3-540-77002-2_9
Adapted from materials provided by Inderscience, via
AlphaGalileo.

Discovery Channel Responsible for the Pendet Dance Case

Original source: Tempo Interactive

The idea to show the Pendet Dance on a Malaysian tourism ad apparently came from Discovery Channel Asia whose office located at Changi Business Park Vista, Changi, Singapore.

Problems regarding this dance were solved after a press conference held at the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (25/8).

The conference was attended by the Indonesian ambassador for Malaysia, Da'i Bachtiar; the President Director of Kru Studios Production, Norman Abdul Halim; a representative from the Indonesian Culture and Tourism Ministry, I Ketut Arianata; and representatives from the Malaysian information and culture ministry.

According to Widyarka Ryananta from the Indonesian Embassy, the Discovery Channel will submit an official letter to the Indonesian Culture and Tourism Minister, Jero Wacik.

Last Monday, Angie Santa Maria, said in an email that the half-minute Malaysian tourism ad entitled 'Enigmatic Malaysia' was not related to Malaysian government. “The ad was to attract viewers to watch a documentary film,” said Widyarka.

Angie also said that Discovery Channel will make an official apology statement to Jero Wacik.

Her email was addressed to Director General for Arts and Culture, Cecep Suparman.

What actually happened was that Kru Studios Production sold six documentary films to Discovery Channel to be shown in 23 countries.

The films were made to celebrate the Malaysian national day at end of this month. Two of them were entitled 'Keris the Myth and the Magic' and 'Batik'.

“The film mentioned that keris and batik originally came from Java, Indonesia. Malaysia did not claim them at all,” said Widyarka.

However, the Indonesian Embassy will still send a protest note to Malaysia. “It is our responsibility,” he said.

Malaysian tourism minister, Ng Yen Yen as well as the information and culture minister, Rais Yatim, have agreed to accept the protest note.

JimJam expands into Indonesia

Compiled from the original sources: Broadcast Now & Media Research Asia

JimJam, the pre-school kids channel operated by Hit Entertainment and Chello Zone, is to launch in Indonesia.

The Hit/Chello joint venture will be available on the DTH platform AORA. JimJam is aimed at children aged one to six and features programmes such as Barney, Angelina Ballerina and Thomas and Friends in its schedule.


JimJam is now available in 10 languages and over 50 territories including Russia, the Middle East and Singapore. A bespoke channel on Air New Zealand was recently announced.

“This deal with AORA is a major development for JimJam and it is the next step in our Asian expansion,” says Maria Kassova, Regional Director at Chello Zone Asia-Pacific. “It’s great news that children in Indonesia will now get the opportunity to be entertained by the channel’s fantastic line-up of hugely popular pre-school characters and shows.”

AORA first launched in August 2008. Since its launch, AORA has forged ahead by being the first to bring a 24/7 coverage of the Beijing Olympics 2008, and by acquiring the rights to Barclays Premier League 2008/2009. With JimJam now being part of AORA's service, the platform is confident the channel will be well-received by the Indonesian audience. "We are proud to be the first Indonesian pay-TV platform to introduce the JimJam channel, where parents can be rest assured that their children can safely learn while having fun," says Ongki Soemarno, President Director of AORA.

JimJam is a TV channel dedicated to pre-school children aged between 1 – 6 years, and their parents and carers. JimJam is the ideal companion to parenting, providing a stimulating, fun and safe environment for young children. Its high quality programming stars some of the world’s best-loved pre-school TV characters, including Thomas & Friends™; Bob the Builder™; Barney™; Angelina Ballerina™ and Fireman Sam™. Trusted, inspiring and engaging, JimJam’s shows have been specifically created to contribute to the emotional, intellectual and social development of children.


JimJam.tv

12.74-18.56% rise in toll road tariff proposed

Original source: Reuters

Indonesia's state toll road agency (BPJT) has proposed a 12.74-18.56 percent increase in toll road tariffs with effect from September 4, chairman Nurdin Manurung said on Wednesday.

Under an agreement with the government, toll road operators are allowed to raise tariffs every two years to ensure a healthy profit margin and adjust for inflation, but any increase must still be approved by parliament.

However, analysts said the rise could even add to inflationary pressures in September when many Indonesians celebrate the end of the fasting month. Millions of Indonesians return to their home towns while foodstuffs are delivered across the country on the toll roads.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Nokia to enter PC industry with first netbook. Sony Ericsson to bring out netbook hybrid?

The world's top cellphone maker Nokia said it would start to make laptops, entering a fiercely competitive but fast-growing market with a netbook running Microsoft's Windows operating system.

Nokia had earlier this year said it was considering entering the laptop industry, crossing the border between two converging industries in the opposite direction to Apple, which entered the phone industry in 2007 with the iPhone.

But Nokia's first netbook, the Nokia Booklet 3G, will use Microsoft's Windows software and Intel's Atom processor to offer up to 12 hours of battery life while weighing 1.25 kilograms. Netbooks are low-cost laptops optimised for surfing the Internet and performing other basic functions. Pioneered by Asustek with the hit Eee PC in 2007, netbooks have since been rolled out by other brands such as HP and Dell.

"The question is: How will Nokia differentiate? This is already a crowded market. If they manage to differentiate it's going to give them competitive advantage," said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi.

Nokia's choice of Windows software surprised some analysts who had expected the company to use Linux in its first laptop.

Nokia said it would unveil detailed specifications, market availability and pricing of its new device on Sept 2.

A source close to Nokia said the new netbook would use the upcoming Windows 7 operating system. Microsoft says a stripped-down version of Windows 7 will be introduced to netbooks the same time as its general release on October 22.

Sony Ericsson is working on a Smartbook

Meanwhile, reports from Taiwan are suggesting that Sony Ericsson is the latest manufacturer to bring out a device that bridges the gap between netbook and smartphone.

The idea is it will sit somewhere (in terms of size and functionality) between the Sony Vaio P and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1.

The report states a "reliable Taiwanese source which is directly connected to a lot of smartphone - and upcoming smartbook-manufacturers" has confirmed the company is looking at such a model, which would run one of the new chipsets from the likes of Qualcomm or ARM.

There's not a huge amount of other information, and it's quite likely to only be a formative idea at the moment given the company's financial predicament, but it shows that the segment is growing in popularity.

The likes of Intel, with the x86 processor, and others like Qualcomm with the 1GHz Snapdragon processor are looking to supply to these mobile internet devices, which bring advanced smartphone functionality and some laptop-style specification.

Early reports believe these devices will begin gaining popularity next year and will be then set to ride the 4G wave, when true high-speed mobile internet will be widely available.

Compiled from the original Sources:

Nokia Booklet 3G first video - Youtube

'No plot to assassinate Obama'

Original Source: AFP, August 24, 2009

Indonesian police dismissed a media report that Islamist extremists were planning to assassinate US President Barack Obama when he visits the country.

National police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri said analyst Dynno Chressbon, the Indonesian source quoted in the Western news agency report, had no right to make what he described as unsubstantiated comments.

He said police knew of no Islamist plot to assassinate Obama, who is expected to visit the mainly Muslim country later this year.

"As if there's a bomb being prepared for the arrival of the US president -- that has never existed. What observer is bold enough to say something like that?" Danuri told a news conference.

"Dynno Chressbon had no business (making such statements). There's no such thing."

Danuri was briefing reporters on efforts to crack down on Islamist extremism after twin suicide bombings on hotels in Jakarta last month that killed nine people, the first such attack in the country since 2005.

Chressbon said his sources included former members of the Jemaah Islamiyah regional terrorist group blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.

"What the police chief said was appropriate because I have not communicated the information to the police yet," he told AFP.

"I made an international statement so that the Indonesian police will take preventive actions and be serious about ensuring safety when... Mr Obama comes to Indonesia."

In the news agency report on August 20, Chressbon was described as an expert from the Indonesian Center for Intelligence and National Security "who is close to the police investigations".

Obama is expected to visit Indonesia, where he lived for some years as a child, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Singapore in November.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dancing on graves..

Compiled from the original sources: News.com.au and ABC News

Plans for a nightclub and restaurant on the site of the Bali bombings have caused outrage among survivors of the 2002 terrorist attack.

Eighty-eight Australians were among 202 people who died when terrorists exploded bombs in the tourist district of Kuta.

The WA-based Bali Peace Park Foundation wants to build a memorial at the site of the Sari Club, which was hit by the biggest bomb, but a wealthy Bali businessman is aiming to put a stop to those plans.

Through his PA, developer Kadek Wiranatha, who took out a 30-year lease on the site last year, has informed the group that he plans to build a restaurant and nightclub on the site.

Phil Britten, who also survived the bombings, says the foundation has the support of local authorities to build a memorial, but the developer has other ideas.

"He wants to go ahead, being a businessman, and build a nightclub, whereas we want to build this memorial park and hopefully build some awareness," he said.

"I think it would be a good thing for Bali as a tourist thing rather than building another nightclub, which they've got plenty of."

Mr Britten lost seven friends in the attack.

"This is sacred ground. Who would want to drink and dance there? Personally, I would never go there. It would be dancing on my mates' graves."

But Mr Wiranatha has refused to meet foundation members and is understood to have signed a long-term lease on the land late last year.

Meanwhile a spokesman for the foundation, Gary Nash, survived the bombings and is devastated by the news. Mr Nash fears people will just forget the bombing if a nightclub is put on the site. Mr Nash, who spent three weeks in a coma after the attacks, says the foundation is determined to keep fighting Mr Wiranatha's plans.

Tiger Killed, Skinned Inside Indonesian Zoo

Source: Associated Press

A group of thieves killed an endangered tiger in an Indonesian zoo and stole most of its body, zoo officials said Sunday, a theft police suspect was motivated by the animal's valuable fur and bones.

The remains of the female Sumatran tiger were found by staff Saturday at the Taman Rimba Zoo in Jambi province on Sumatra island, said zoo director Adrianis, who like many Indonesians uses only one name.

"It was sadistic," Adrianis said of the attack. "The killers left only its intestines in the cage."

Posma Lubis, lead detective for the Jambi police department, said they were searching for the perpetrators.

It was unclear how the thieves broke into the zoo or how many were involved.

British-based international wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC said in a 2008 report that it found tiger bones, claws, skins and whiskers being sold openly in eight cities on Indonesia's Sumatra island in 2006, despite tough laws banning such trade.

The group estimated that 23 tigers had been killed to supply the parts found for sale in souvenir, Chinese medicine and jewelry stores.

Sumatran tigers are on the brink of extinction because of rapid deforestation, poaching and clashes with humans. Their numbers have dwindled to about 250 from about 1,000 in the 1970s, according to the Washington D.C.-based World Wildlife Fund.

CULTURE: Indonesia vs Malaysia, another episode..

Original source: The Jakarta Post, 23 August 2009

The presence of Balinese dancing and a leather shadow puppet in a Malaysian tourism ad has once again upset Indonesians, who are saying it is an attempt to claim the art forms as their own.

A member of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) and Balinese dance experts staged a protest Saturday against the Malaysian government at the Denpasar Arts Center.

“We have all heard of some aspect of the Indonesian culture that has been claimed by Malaysia as theirs, such as the wayang [Javanese puppet], batik and reog Ponorogo [masked dance from East Java],” said counselor Ida Ayu Agung Mas, referring to similar controversial reports.

“This time, they are trying to claim the Pendet, which is a sacred and original dance from Bali, as their own.

The Malaysian Embassy in Indonesia earlier denied the country had made claims on batik and other forms of Indonesian culture in its tourism campaigns. Malaysia’s Ambassador Dato Zainal Abidin Zain was quoted as saying in late 2007 that the Javanese brought the reog dance to Malaka.

Gde Pitana I, the Cultural and Tourism Ministry’s director general of foreign promotion, said it was fine to show the Pendet dance in the ads, as long as they did not mention the dance was from Malaysia.

“We often display the Barongsai in our tourism ads, but we never claim it as ours,” Pitana wrote on the ministry’s website on Saturday.

The Barongsai is the dragon dance whose popularity was revived after the government ended the decades-old ban on display of Chinese-influenced culture and language.

A facebooker’s status as of Saturday read in English: “Indonesia’s tourism ministry is grossly incompetent. They can’t even come up with a decent tourism promotion campaign. No wonder Malaysia and tiny Singapore attract more tourists.”

From tweetfeed: “Malaysia claimed Bali’s pendet dance as their culture, and Malaysia has given [us]Noordin M. [Top],” in reference to the region’s most wanted terrorist suspect, a Malaysian national.

BlackBerry Service Center Finally Opens

Original Source: The Jakarta Globe

Canada’s Research In Motion, the producer of the BlackBerry smartphone, on Friday announced the launch of a BlackBerry authorized repair center in Jakarta, ending months of tension between the company and the telecommunications regulator.

Gatot Dewabroto, a spokesman for the Communications Ministry, said the government appreciated RIM’s move. The repair center, reportedly located in North Jakarta, will fix all BlackBerry smartphone models sold through RIM-authorized dealers, including PT Telkomsel, PT Indosat, PT Excelcomindo Pratama and PT Natrindo Telepon Selular. RIM said that it expected to add more repair centers in the future.

In early June, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology stopped issuing licences for all BlackBerry handsets because its manufacturer had not yet opened after- sales offices in Indonesia as stipulated in a 2008 ministerial decree on the IT community. The regulation states that all phone producers must open an after-sales office when they begin selling products in the country.

However, in mid July, government decided to soften its stance. The ministry changed the total ban to a partial ban until Aug. 21, meaning that companies can import the phones. The shift came after a delegation including Canadian Embassy officials, RIM executives and their legal advisers met with ministry officials to ask the government to revise or lift the ban.

Pertamina to become public non-listed company

Original source: Antara News

The government will soon issue a regulation changing state oil and gas company Pertamina into a public non-listed company, an official said.

"A draft of the government regulation has been submitted to the State Secretariat for further discussion with the Law and Human Rights Ministry," Secretary of the State Enterprises Ministry Said Didu said here on Friday.

Once the government regulation took effect, the management of Pertamina`s finance would become more transparent, he said.

"Pertamina does need to sell (shares) to the public, but the public will know each corporate action of the company," he said.

But he declined to reveal when exactly the regulation would be issued.

The government had initially set itself a target of changing Pertamina into a public non-listed company early this year. But the plan dragged on for a few months as the company still had to complete the audit of its financial statement.

Said Didu said a number of state-owned companies had the chance to change into public non-listed companies. One of them was state electricity company PLN.

"In principle, public non-listed companies are based among others on the criteria of assets, sensitiveness to the market and the ability to serve the public," he said.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Indonesia militants plotted Obama attack?

A police investigation into last month's Jakarta hotel bombings shows that militants also planned to use snipers to attack Barack Obama's convoy when the U.S. president visits Indonesia, an intelligence expert told Reuters.

Authorities were also probing whether the suicide bombings at the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels on July 17 received overseas funding from a group linked to Al Qaeda, said Dynno Chressbon, an intelligence analyst at the Center for Intelligence and National Security who is close to the police investigations.

He said two of four wanted suspects -- Ario Sudarso and Mohamad Syahrir -- who police released pictures of on Wednesday had been prepared as snipers for an attack on Obama.

"For Obama, they planned to attack the convoy around the airport using MK-IIIs," he said, referring to a type of Russian-made sniper rifle that he said was used by the Taliban in Afghanistan and also in Muslim conflict areas in the Philippines.

An Indonesian police spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday, but the sniper plot and other suspected plots indicate the scale of the ambitions of Indonesian militants may be far higher than first thought.

Obama has been widely expected to include a stopover in the world's most populous Muslim nation when he attends the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Singapore in November.

The alleged snipers were from a group called the Indonesian Islamic State, which has a training camp in the restive southern Philippines and also has received support from a group headed by Malaysian-born militant Noordin Mohammad Top, Chressbon said.

Top, who formed a violent wing of the Jemaah Islamiah militant network, is believed to be the mastermind behind July's hotel attacks which killed nine people and wounded 53.

Since the hotel bombings, police have arrested at least five people and three others have been killed during raids, while police said a plot to attack Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had been thwarted.

For complete story please visit the original source:
Reuters, 20 August 2009

Indonesia’s year of living safely

View the original source: FT Alphaville, 20 August 2009

Even in Asian investment circles, it can come as a surprise to learn that the world’s second-best performing stock market this year has been Indonesia’s.

Bloomberg did its bit on Thursday to publicise the fact, reporting that Indonesia’s stock index may return to the record reached last year in the next 12 months, led by automotive, banks and property stocks as falling interest rates boost growth.

That prognosis, offered by Batavia Prosperindo Aset Manajemen, one of Indonesia’s best performing funds over the past five years, follows a boom-bust-boom cycle for the Jakarta Composite Index, which hit a record high of 2,830.26 in January last year before plunging 61 per cent to its October low. Since then, the index has surged 68 per cent this year.

As Bloomberg notes:

Shares are rebounding as Indonesia posted the fastest growth among Southeast Asian nations even as the global economy remained in recession. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s re-election last month raised expectations the government will maintain policies that helped the economy to expand 4 per cent in the second quarter and curb inflation to a nine-year low.

Optimism over Yudhoyono’s economic policies after his re-election overshadowed terrorist attacks last month. The measure surged 15 per cent in July, the sixth-best among 89 indexes worldwide tracked by Bloomberg, even after the bomb blasts at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in the capital city of Jakarta killed nine people.


Now, however, some investors and analysts are predicting a “healthy correction” after recent gains began outpacing earnings potential. Some predict the Jakarta Composite may fall as much as 10 per cent in the next month - and indeed, notes Bloomberg, the index slipped 2.5 per cent to 2,277.75 on Wednesday.

In Batavia’s view, investors should focus on falling interest rates after Indonesia’s central bank reduced its key rate nine times from December to the current level of 6.50 per cent after inflation eased to a nine-year low last month. As CLSA’s Christopher Wood notes in his most recent Greed & Fear client newsletter:

Indonesia is now the best performing market in Asia year to date reflecting its classic high beta nature and the sensitivity of the local interest rate cycle to rupiah appreciation. Thus, the MSCI Indonesia index has risen by 92% in US dollar terms so far this year, compared with a 47% gain in the MSCI AC Asia ex-Japan index (see Figure 10), as inflation has slowed to 2.7% YoY in July.

A further positive factor in recent months has been the explosion in internet trading by local investors, according to Wood. Consider, he says, citing a recent CLSA report, the combined share of total trading volumes for the three internet-based brokers in Indonesia is already approaching 10 per cent, up from only 1.8 per cent for last year.

Still, warns Wood, investors should wait to see the formation of the new Yudhoyono Cabinet before taking a view on the country’s medium-term potential:

This is because the selection of the cabinet will give a clue as to whether the country is really going to deliver on an infrastructure investment cycle. Remember that the progress in this area during Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s first five-year term was bordering on the pathetic. In this respect it will be important to see whether the cabinet is filled with competent technocrats or financially endowed cronies. Unfortunately, it will take time for investors to find this out since the cabinet is not due to be announced until October!

Staying on the Indonesia theme, Wood takes issue with a comment from one Asia-based investor last week who claimed that Indonesia was a far better long-term story than Brazil. “This is, unfortunately, complete nonsense”, he says, continuing:

The quality of both governance and the legal system is dramatically superior in Brazil to Indonesia. Foreign direct investors in Brazil also do not face the threat of Islamic suicide bombers. It is also the case that Brazil is a more diversified story than Indonesia in the sense that the latter is more directly geared to China and India for the reasons stated in CLSA’s recent Chindonesia report [July 10 2009].

For those reasons, says Wood, global equity investors who want to concentrate their portfolios in three liquid, and diversified, emerging markets should concentrate on China, India and Brazil - at least for now.

Lex, taking up the theme in a note last week, wryly notes that ever since Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill caught investors’ imagination with the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India and China), brokerages’ research departments “have spent almost as long on wordplay as on heavy macro analysis”.

CLSA, it notes, “has big hopes for its new coinage, Chindonesia. The brokerage has been energetically touting ‘Asia’s next growth triangle’: to the China/India axis, add Indonesia.”

If strong growth is the main consideration, it continues, “then south-east Asia’s biggest economy has earned its inclusion”: annual GDP growth of 4 per cent in the second quarter is the best in the region. But like CLSA’s Wood, Lex has reservations:

Currency stability — high on the wish list for any serious investor — remains elusive. The rupiah plunged by a quarter and then gained a quarter in the past 12 months. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, re-elected last month, needs to get a grip on the twin problems of bureaucracy — power is concentrated at the district level across 6,000 inhabited islands — and graft. Last year, the Corruption Eradication Commission investigated fewer than 1 per cent of the complaints it received.

And that is why the money, for now, is mostly heading elsewhere, concludes Lex:
Indonesia received $8.3bn of foreign direct investment last year — about a 10th of China’s total and a quarter of India’s. More net foreign money, in absolute terms, has gone into Bangkok’s stock market this year than Jakarta, though Thailand is 17 places below Indonesia on the list of the world’s best-performing exchanges. The Brics were an instant hit; Chindonesia needs time.

SEE ALSO:

Indonesia Stock Index May Regain Record, Batavia Says

Indonesia rising

Ramadan for Non-Muslims

Original Source: The Jakarta Globe, 21 August 2009

Once the Ramadan season begins, life will change for most of Indonesia’s residents, and not just for Muslims. People of other faiths, as residents of the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, will see their usual routines altered, whether they like it or not.

Ivanhoe Semen is a Protestant, but he refrains from eating in front of his fasting friends and colleagues during Ramadan as he doesn’t want to tempt them. “I’m not concerned at all about [refraining from eating],” he said.

Yunita Anindya, 25, on the other hand, eats in front of friends who are fasting, “because they insist that I do so,” she said. “They’re relaxed when it comes to eating and they don’t want to be separated from me during lunchtime.”

But smoking is a different matter.

“Most of my friends smoke,” she said. “[Not] smoking is harder for them, and so I always avoid smoking in front of them.”

Gunther Tampubolon, a non-Muslim who works as a business developer, said there were some minor annoyances during Ramadan.

“Many offices have their canteens closed during Ramadan,” he said. “Where do we go to eat?”

The Muslim holy month can also mean a change in traffic patterns. Ivanhoe said that although traffic was less congested during the normal rush hours of 5 to 7 p.m., it only means that gridlock happens earlier as Muslims rush home in time for the buka puasa [breaking of the fast] at sundown.

Yunita attends university in the Sudirman area, and for her Ramadan means an earlier rush hour, too. “The traffic worsens leading up to buka puasa,” she said.

Gunther usually goes home after 6 p.m., so for him Ramadan means less traffic. “The streets are less congested this time of the year,” he said. “It’s very organized.”

But people going home earlier is a problem in itself, he said.

“During Ramadan, work hours are not maximized,” he said. “The atmosphere in the workplace is much more relaxed, and people postpone work or go home early, using fasting as the justification.”

Although such actions are widely accepted, Gunther feels they could be bad for the country.

“We’re trying to improve the economy,” he said. “But people switch from third gear down to second gear during Ramadan. That isn’t good. There should be more professional commitment.”

The earlier-than-usual start to the day as Muslims wake up for sahur — the pre-dawn meal — can also be annoying to non-Muslims who want to sleep longer.

Children in Yunita’s neighborhood frequently set off fireworks to help people wake up. “It sometimes bothers me in the mornings,” she said.

And although a time of self-discipline, Ramadan can also be a month of sharing.

Gunther said that during Ramadan he was able to spend more quality time with friends and family who observe the fasting period by joining them for buka puasa.
Ivanhoe, who is involved in the youth wing of a political party, said Ramadan gives him an opportunity to show respect for his Muslim friends.

For the past few years he has participated in a youth project, organized through the party, that provides free sahur to homeless people. He also helps prepare food for party members to break the fast.

“Our country is being strained by problems such as the recent bombings,” he said. “Ramadan is living proof that non-Muslims and Muslims can unite.”

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Indonesia will tax multiple vehicles

Indonesia's parliament approved a tax bill that will allow local governments to increase tariffs on car and motorcycle owners who have more than one vehicle from next year.

The bill is aimed at increasing sources of revenue for local governments and decreasing traffic problems, Home Affairs Minister Mardiyanto told reporters after the bill was passed.

It will become law after being signed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, or after three months.

The combined number of cars, buses, trucks and motorcycles in Indonesia increased 71 percent to 72 million vehicles last year from 2004, according to Transport Ministry data. Road construction grew 7 percent by length during the same period.

New car sales may increase at least 11 percent next year as economic growth in Asia's third-most populated nation accelerates, Bambang Trisulo, chairman of Indonesia's automotive association, said last month.

The new law will allow local governments to annually tax owners for their second and successive vehicles a levy of 2 percent to 10 percent of a sum from the multiplication between the vehicles sale value and a coefficient that relates to the regions road conditions.

Mardiyanto said crowded regions can impose higher taxes than sparsely populated ones as long as they are within that band.

Regions are also allowed to make car and motorcycle owners annually pay as much as 2 percent of a similarly calculated sum for their first vehicles, according to a copy of the legislation distributed at the parliament building.

Local governments should allocate at least 10 percent of this new tax source for transport infrastructure projects in their respective regions, said legislator Harry Azhar Azis, who led the team that wrote the new law.

Veiw full news from the original source:
Detnews/Bloomberg, 20 August 2009

Sri Mulyani renamed among world's 100 influential women

(Compiled from Xinhua News & Forbes)
Indonesian Coordinating Minister for The Economy cum Financial Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati was renamed among the 100 most influential women ranked by Forbes business magazine.

The report said the minister is now ranked the 71st, or far below her rank last year that stood at the 23rd, above Hillary Rodham Clinton, Aung San Suu Kyi and Oprah Winfrey.

Sri Mulyani becomes the only Indonesian woman listed by Forbes this year.

The influential business magazine regarded Sri Mulyani as successful in deliberating corruption in her ministry, encouraged the extensive use of domestic currency Rupiah instead of U.S. dollar in the ongoing crisis.

Forbes says: “Indrawati remains finance minister in the reelected government of Yudhoyono, which had nearly moved her to head the central bank. Grappling with the global recession, she has backed calls to use currencies other than the U.S. dollar to finance trade in Asia and entered into a $15 billion swap with Beijing that allows importers to pay for Chinese goods with yuan. Offered support for Japan's campaign against North Korea's nuclear arms program and also the U.N. initiative in Afghanistan. She was promoted to coordinating minister for economic affairs in June 2008. Known as a reformer, Indrawati has combated Indonesia's notorious corruption (the finance ministry is now the government's least corrupt department), simplified investment laws and created tax incentives.”

At No. 1, for the fourth consecutive year, is German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Up for reelection this September, she is leader of the world's fourth-largest economy. She faces a tough year: Germany's GDP is expected to shrink this year despite a small uptick in the second quarter.

This year's list includes several notable newcomers--from the U.S. and abroad. The recently approved Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor debuts at No. 54. She will be the third woman and the first Hispanic in the top court. First lady Michelle Obama, a champion for working women and the families of the U.S. military, appears at No. 40.

All eyes are also on Iceland's new prime minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir (No. 74) as she seeks to recapitalize the banks of her small island nation, which recently came very close to complete economic collapse. She is an advocate of Iceland's entry into the E.U. and adoption of the euro--views not entirely popular with her people.

TOP 10

Angela Merkel
Sheila Bair
Indra Nooyi
Cynthia Carroll
Ho Ching
Irene Rosenfeld
Ellen Kullman
Angela Braly
Anne Lauvergeon
Lynn Elsenhans

View The Complete List

The 100 Most Powerful Women #71 Sri Indrawati- Forbes

The World's 100 Most Powerful Women - Forbes

SAIL BUNAKEN 2009: Indonesia holds world's biggest navies parade

Compiled from the original sources: People’s Daily, The Jakarta Post, & The Jakarta Globe

Indonesia held on Wednesday (8/19) a stunning tall ship and war ship parade in North Sulawesi capital city of Manado as part of the world's largest marine event entitled "2009 Sail Bunaken".

Hundreds of yachts, tall ships and 33 warships took part in theparade that was witnessed by navy chiefs of the parade's participating countries and spectators.

All crews of those ships stood alongside the edge of the ships and hailed the spectators and distinguished guests who sat in VIP row with a shout "Indonesia Merdeka" (Independent Indonesia) to celebrate the 64th Indonesian independence day that fell on August17.

The jewel in the crown was the appearance of US Navy aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington. The nuclear-powered vessel — over 333 meters long, as high as a 24-story building and accommodating 80 aircraft — opened the fleet review, followed by other US warships, the USS Cowpens, USS Fitzgerald and USS Mustin.

Several F-18 Hornet fighter planes also took off from the deck of the supercarrier and flew overhead, prompting applause from the crowd onshore.

The fleet review also featured warships from China, Pakistan, India, Australia, New Zealand., France, British, Thailand, Malaysia and some South American countries.

Earlier Sunday (8/16) Indonesia plunged into the Guinness Book of Records after a mass dive as part of the Sail Bunaken 2009 event held in North Sulawesi. The event was organized by the Indonesian Navy in conjunction with the country's Independence Day celebrations and involved 2,861 people diving simultaneously.

Another world record was broken at the same event by the divers, including military personnel and civilians, who held an underwater Independence Day flag ceremony in Manado on Monday (08/17).

The ceremony was the forth world record Indonesia has broken so far, Navy deputy chief Rear Adm. Moekhlas Sidik told Antara news agency.

The breaking of two world records was a special gift for Indonesia celebrating its 64th Independence Day.

The new world records are expected to increase visits by both domestic and foreign tourists to Indonesia, particularly to Manado.

The 2,861 divers broke the world record as they remained underwater for 31 minutes, the longest time so far achieved internationally. The previous world record was broken in the Maldives by 979 divers for only 10 minutes.

The nine-day event, billed as the world’s largest maritime event of the 21st century, winds up today.

The 2009 Sail Bunaken event is scheduled to end on August 20.


Sail Bunaken 2009 Official Website

Galleries - Sail Bunaken 2009

Barack Obama's Mother and Indonesian Batiks

Compiled from the original source: PBS – Art Beat & Textile Museun - Current Exhibition

For two weeks, textiles from the collection of Ann Dunham, President Obama's mother, are on view at The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. This marks the final stop on a national tour of the exhibition A Lady Found a Culture in its Cloth: Barack Obama's Mother and Indonesian Batiks.

Dunham's first extended stay came in the 1960s after marrying President Obama's step-father, Lolo Soetoro, a native Indonesian and fellow student at the University of Hawaii. Though she left Indonesia when her daughter Maya, the president's half-sister, was very young, she would return several times to the region, later as an anthropologist studying blacksmiths in Java, finishing research and field work on the local culture for her 800-page dissertation (earning her Ph.D. several years before her death at age 52 in 1995). During that time, Dunham witnessed the vibrant elements of a traditional craft culture in danger of extinction. She went on to be a consultant for the United States Agency for International Development, helping set up a village microfinance program. She later became a Ford Foundation program officer in Jakarta specializing in women's work.

Batik is a traditional Javanese textile craft, where wax is applied to fabric with either a drawing tool or a stamp, and then dyed again and again, leaving a design after the wax is melted away. The more complex and time-consuming work of hand applying the wax by writing on the fabric is almost exclusively done by women, and the less-rigorous work of stamping designs (a more modern innovation) is done by men. Today, and since the 1970s, many batik-like patterns have been created by silkscreen instead of by hand, but the artisanal tradition in Indonesia still continues.

“A Lady Found a Culture: Barack Obama's Mother and Indonesian Batiks” will be on view August 9 through 23, 2009.

[Watch a slideshow of pieces from Ann Dunham's collection and see a batik artist demonstrating the craft]

“Mas Tommy” for President 2014-2019?

The son of the late Indonesian dictator Suharto has launched an attempt to become president, says an aide, despite a "track record on legal matters".

Hutomo Mandala Putra, popularly known as Tommy Suharto, is seeking to become the next leader of the Golkar Party, his father's former political vehicle, which is in turmoil after losing recent elections.

"He surely has ambitions of becoming Indonesian president in future. He will be as good, or even better than his father," Tommy's spokesman, Yusyafri Syafei, told AFP.

Tommy, 46, has a reputation as a flamboyant playboy but has kept a low profile since his release from prison in 2006.

He fought off a $US61 million ($73.8 million) civil corruption case in February 2008, winning $US550,000 in a countersuit, and successfully fought off a $US400 million civil corruption case earlier this year.

Syafei admitted Tommy was "not clean" but said he was no different to other politicians in the country of 234 million people.

He also said ordinary Indonesians hankered after the stability of the Suharto years, in which there was strong economic growth but appalling graft and human rights abuses.

"In the blood of Tommy flows the blood of Suharto. That's natural," Syafei said.

"It's an open secret that during Suharto's era, people didn't find it hard to find food to eat ... He will have supporters."

View full story from the original source:
Sydney Morning Herald Online/AFP, 20 August 2009

Book tells story of Japanese who fought for Indonesia's freedom

Rahmat Shigeru Ono enjoyed his dinner of fried noodles, mixed sauteed vegetables and a spicy boiled egg.

For decades, in fact, for most of his life, he has eaten Indonesian dishes and gotten used to it, except that it must be accompanied by an ume-boshi, or pickled Japanese apricot.

‘‘I miss Japanese food sometimes,’’ he told Kyodo News at his modest house in the village of Sidomulyo, near the hilly resort town of Batu in East Java Province. Ume-boshi, at least, can cure his longing of Japanese food.

Ono, whose Indonesian name is Rahmat, is one of the estimated 1,000 Japanese soldiers who deserted and stayed behind in Indonesia, mostly in the islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali, after the Japanese surrendered to the Allied forces on Aug 15, 1945.

They fought alongside Indonesian independence troops against the returning Dutch. After the war, some of them never returned to Japan.

‘‘Some stayed by choice, either because they had already had local girlfriends or wives, and just tried to survive and other reasons,’’ said Eiichi Hayashi, who wrote ‘‘Zanryuu Nihon-hei no Shinjitsu’’ (The True Story of a Japanese Soldier Who Stayed Behind), a book telling Ono’s story.

Many of them also feared being court-martialed or tried as war criminals if they let their whereabouts be known.

‘‘They heard rumors that soon after boarding the ship returning to Japan, they would be thrown into the sea,’’ said Hayashi, who visited Ono more than 80 times for his book.

The Japanese soldiers are nowadays known in Japanese as ‘‘zanryu Nihon-hei’’ or Japanese soldiers who stayed behind. But at one time, they were also labeled ‘‘dasso Nihon-hei’’ or Japanese soldiers who deserted.

Hayashi said, however, that among those fighting for Indonesia’s independence, only a few were really inspired by the country’s burgeoning nationalist movement. And Ono was among that few.

Born on Sept 26, 1918, in Hokkaido, Ono, who lost his left arm in the war, is almost blind and hard of hearing. But he is still eager to tell his story for hours, from morning to evening, to anyone who asks.

Ono was only in his early 20s when he was sent to Indonesia in the Imperial Japanese Army. During his assignment, he personally interacted with Indonesian soldiers.

From them, he heard many stories of how badly Japanese soldiers had treated Indonesians and how the Indonesian soldiers felt that Japan might break its promise to grant independence to Indonesia.

That became a turning point in his life, motivating him to join the rapidly forming Indonesian nationalist military forces.

‘‘I was motivated to be a fighter alongside with Indonesian soldiers because, in my view, Indonesia deserved to be defended. And I’ve proven my commitment,’’ Ono said in his living room, the walls of which are covered with photographs of his family and his military days.

Ono married an Indonesian woman, whom he said ‘‘didn’t see my physical defect, but my quality as a human being.’’ His wife died in 1982.

Ono joined the Special Guerrilla Forces, led by another former Japanese soldier, Tatsuo ‘‘Abdul Rachman’’ Ichiki, fighting for Indonesia’s independence in East Java’s South Semeru Province.

They also provided tactical leadership, weapons and training to the ramshackle Indonesian forces.

‘‘This guerilla force was really special. The Dutch troops were very much afraid of us,’’ Ono recalled proudly.

Still, the vital role of Ono and other Japanese veterans in the post-war independence struggle is a largely overlooked chapter of Indonesia’s history.

The permanent display at the Proclamation Museum in Central Jakarta, the historic site of the country’s proclamation of independence, details the role of the Japanese colonialists in the events leading up to Aug 17, 1945.

Among them is how Adm Tadashi Maeda, chief of the Imperial Japanese Army’s liaison office in Indonesia, provided late President Sukarno, late Vice President Mohammad Hatta and other key figures of independence movement the use of his house to make their proclamation.

The museum also covers the 1945-1950 war fought by guerrilla troops, but the display does not mention the Japanese soldiers who provided Indonesian troops with arms, weapons training and military strategy.

The war against the returning Dutch ended on Dec. 27, 1949, when The Hague withdrew all Dutch forces from Indonesia and recognized its sovereignty.

View the complete story from the original source:
Japan Today, 20 August 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BALI: Wave of controversy

A Singaporean died in Bali waters recently. More people drown each year. But who's to blame - swimmers who ignore warnings or lack of equipment and lifeguards?

Last year, 15 people died in water-related accidents in Badung, the district Seminyak, according to figures the Kuta Balawista, an Indonesian life-saving club.

During the holidays last month, 84 visitors were caught in currents in the South Bali sea. One died.

The latest victim was Mr Douglas Lee, 39, a Singaporean businessman, who drowned at Seminyak Beach after a post-lunch dip last Sunday .

He and two friends were swept 200m out to sea by a freak wave despite wading in waist-deep waters.

His companions, Mr Michel Oosterhof, 42, a Dutch executive director, and Mr Arnaud Ferrand, 35, a French director of a sports complex, survived.

While they were lucky, why did more than a dozen others lose their lives? Is it because swimmers don't know enough or choose to ignore tidal conditions and warning flags?

Or is it because safety standards, equipment and personnel are lacking in Bali?

The Bali police spokesman had said that Mr Lee was swimming in dangerous waters where there were red flags up warning of strong currents and that no swimming was allowed.

The survivors denied this, saying they were swimming at a part of the beach where red and yellow flags were flying, which they said indicated a lifeguard-protected area.

'We were right in front of The Legian and it is a very expensive hotel. There were already 30 people swimming there. And there were people renting out surfboards,' Mr Oosterhof said.

They said the tragedy could have been averted if proper equipment was available.

Dive instructor Eugene Sim, 41, who owns Dive Atlantis Centre, said that the waves at some beaches in Bali can be very unpredictable, and even when the water is shallow, swimmers can be pulled 'all the way down to a certain depth'.

He said that whenever he visited the Bali beaches (Kuta, Sanur and Tulamben), he noted a lack of safety equipment.

'Even if the lifeguards had jet skis or speedboats, they need to think of their own safety too before saving someone else, especially when the waves are so big,' he said.

Bali's beaches are especially dangerous for swimmers who do not know the waters well, he said.

Mr Sim said: 'They panic and start struggling. But the more they struggle, the more they cannot breathe and they will choke on the water and that's when they start drowning.'

Mr Christopher Lee, 41, owner of Simply Scuba, thinks it is easy to point fingers after an incident.

He said: 'If you don't feel comfortable knowing that there aren't any watchtowers or safety equipment around and you still go into the water, who can you blame?'

Madam Isabelle Gomez, 45, owner of Villa Karisa Bali, a guest house in Seminyak, said she and her then-7-year-old son were swept out to sea by a rip tide three years ago.

The lifeguards there were very good, she recalled, and mother and son were saved.

But more can be done with equipment.

Mr Stefan Noll, executive assistant manager of the Legian Bali, said: 'Together with other operators on Seminyak Beach, we have approached the Tourism Board and Bali Lifeguard Association to install a watchtower on the beach and to have motorised rescue vehicles.

See complete story from the original source:
The New Paper, Tue, Aug 18 2009

Indonesia Plans to Build World's Longest Bridge

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said this week that his country has planned to build a bridge at Sunda straits, which will be the world's longest.

The government has received the result of pre-feasibility study of the bridge that would connect the country's two main islands of Java and Sumatra, which host over 80 percent of Indonesia's 230 million population.

According to the pre-feasibility study the bridge would be 30 kilometers long and had 220 meters span, the longest in the world.

The building of the bridge will be kicked off next year and completed in 2010, costing over 100 trillion rupiah (over 10 billion U.S. dollars) funds.

The bridge may connect 10 provinces in Sumatra Island and six provinces in Java island.

President Susilo has promised to double infrastructure spending to 140 billion U.S. dollars during his second term to reach annual economic growth of around 7 percent.

Indonesia has been on the rank of 86 out of 133 countries in terms of infrastructure quality in the World Economic Forum's 2008 Global Competitive Index.

View original source: Xinhua, 2009-08-19, 14:16:27

SEE ALSO:

Ten Longest Bridges In World – Amazing Info

List of longest bridges in the world - Wikipedia

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Indonesia reports fourth death of A/H1N1 flu

Indonesia has confirmed a boy, under five year old, has died from A/H1N1 virus, raising the total fatality of the disease to four in the country, a senior official of the Health Ministry said.

Director General of Disease Control and Environmental Health of the ministry Prof. Dr. Tjandra Yoga Aditama said that the boy was from West Java and also suffered from other diseases.

It was not clear whether he had historical journey to overseas, which has been the common condition where the sufferers get infected, he said.

"The boy died on swine flu, but he also had other diseases," Yoga told Xinhua.

The number of the flu cases increased to 872 after the ministry confirmed that 18 other people had the disease, the director said.

View Original Source:
Xinhua, 18 Aug 2009

SEE ALSO

Indonesia's A/H1N1 flu cases exceed 900

SBY weeps on bomb victim condition

Source: Thejakartapost.com, 17 August 2009

A letter from Max Boon, a victim of the recent bombings at the Jakarta hotels, touched the deepest corner of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s heart, moving him to personally respond without going through the usual bureaucratic process. (Click here or the pic for viewing the letter - taken from The Jakarta Globe, 18 August 2009)

Max, a Dutch national, is currently still lying in a hospital bed in Singapore, breathing via a tracheotomy that prevents him from speaking ,after he became one of the victims of the attacks against J.W. Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotel last month.

The man, who worked for CastleAsia, a company responsible for hosting breakfast meeting at the Marriott, sent the letter to congratulate Yudhoyono for Indonesia’s 64th Independence Day anniversary.

“SBY was so deeply moved upon receiving the letter that he, uncharacteristically and without going normal bureaucratic process, responded to Max Boon’s letter the same day. The letter was sent to Max Boon via our Ambassador in Singapore,” Yudhoyono’s spokesperson Dino Patti Djalal told The Jakarta Post via email.

Yudhoyono addressed himself as “your friend” to Max in his letter and said he broke down in tears upon receiving Max’s letter and learning about his condition.

“I wept when I received your message and learned of your condition. You do not deserve this,” SBY said.

“I cannot possibly imagine how you must feel being the unjust victim of this terrible crime, but I sincerely admire your courage to move on with life undeterred, your selfless attention to others, and your undying love for Indonesia.”

Max said in his letter that spending five years in Indonesia had made him fall in love with the country.
He spent his first two years working for the tsunami relief program in Aceh.

Yudhoyono said in his letter that Max had truly blessed Indonesia with his unconditional friendship.

“Your relentless spirit reminds us that life is beautiful and is always worth living for under any circumstances.”

SBY also promised Max that somebody had to pay for his suffering.

“You have my word, Max, that I will do everything I can to find and bring to justice those who perpetrated this terrible act of terrorism.”

Friday, August 14, 2009

Facebook entries stir jealousy?

Researchers are just beginning to learn all the ways social networking sites are changing the way couples relate. They cited the case of a young woman who found out her boyfriend broke up with her when she noticed he had changed his relationship status to "single."

"It seems like Facebook is creating jealousy even where there was not jealousy to begin with," said Amy Muise, a doctoral candidate at the University of Guelph's psychology department who led a recent study on how Facebook can spark jealousy in romantic relationships among college students.

She said Facebook doesn't necessarily make people more jealous than they would be normally. But all the information divulged on Facebook — those answers to "What's on your mind?" and reactions to those posts — can increase "triggers" for jealousy.

"Part of the issue with information on Facebook is that it lacks certain context, " Muise said, "so there could be things posted on your partner's wall that you really don't know what it means."

The study was based on anonymous online survey data from 308 undergraduate Facebook users, three quarters of them women. The study, published in CyberPsychology & Behavior, found Facebook users can get snagged in a "feedback loop": Their interest piqued by a cryptic wall comment, they become suspicious and start monitoring their partner's pages, thus finding even more suspicious information.

Dan Fitzsimmons, a 21-year-old University at Albany student, said he has had to explain Facebook photos to girlfriends in the past.

Samantha Siciliano, an incoming freshman at Quinnipiac University from North Adams, Mass., said she has become jealous over the back-and-forth on her old boyfriend's wall, especially from too-friendly comments like "You look cute."

"If your boyfriend is calling or texting another girl, you can't really see it. But on Facebook, you can see it and so can everyone else," Siciliano said. "So in a way, you do get jealous because he might be hanging his dirty laundry, and not only are you seeing it, but other people are, too."

View complete story:
Associated Press, 13 August 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Noordin got out before raid?

View the original source: AsiaOne, 13 August 2009

Noordin is believed to have left his hideout in a house in Temanggung, central Java, last Friday before police launched a massive assault lasting 17 hours.

Noordin's hideout in Temanggung had been under anti-terror police surveillance for a week before heavily armed units moved in on Friday.

Anti-terror officers said Noordin was inside the house together with four other militants, including Boim.

"Noordin left with two members while Boim and his accomplice stayed behind," said an officer.

Police do not know the exact time Noordin and his men left the house. Boim's accomplice allegedly also left before police moved in.

The officer rejected suggestions Noordin had received a tip-off, saying the escape artist possessed great instincts which gave him a good sense of timing.


"He never stays long in any given place," the officer added.

A manhunt for Noordin and his men has been launched.

"We believe he is still in Java. He has not left the country," said the officer.

Noordin is still alive in Indonesia and probably plotting his next terror hit. This was the warning issued by Indonesian police spokes-man Nanan Sukarna who said that the terror attacks in the country were far from over.

"We must be on the alert that he (Noordin) will make new (attack) plans," Sukarna said.

Indonesian police victim identification unit chief Eddy Saparwoko identified the dead gunman as Ibrahim, also known as Boim.

Boim worked at a florist shop at the Ritz-Carlton. He was the inside man who smuggled the bombs into the Ritz-Carlton and the adjacent J.W. Marriott. The bombs went off on July 17.

Facebook testing "Lite" version

Original source: AFP, August 12, 2009

The Internet was buzzing Wednesday with talk of Facebook testing a streamlined "Lite" version of the social-networking service that could challenge microblogging sensation Twitter.

"We are currently testing a simplified alternative to Facebook.com that loads a specific set of features quickly and efficiently," the Internet star said.

"Similar to the Facebook experience you get on your mobile phones, Facebook Lite is a fast-loading, simplified version of Facebook that enables people to make comments, accept Friend requests, write on people's Walls, and look at photos and Status updates."

Facebook Lite is being tested in India and other countries where new users flooding to the service "are looking to start off with a more simple experience," according to the Palo Alto, California-based firm.

A test website at lite.facebook.com was accidentally opened to an expanded audience on Tuesday night, but the slip was caught and traffic routed to standard Facebook pages.

Invitations to take part in a private test of "Facebook Lite" evidently reached a variety of US bloggers only to have the enclosed links vanish a short time later.

"Lite" screen shots captured and posted online revealed a Facebook page devoted to fresh comments and updates from friends in a style that could challenge the real-time interplay at Twitter.

Earlier, Facebook announced on Monday that it has acquired FriendFeed, a Silicon Valley startup which allows members to see what their friends are doing online and share content.

FriendFeed has been described as a potential rival to Twitter in its ability to conduct real-time search, an area where Facebook has been seeking to expand.

Facebook is the fastest growing social network on the Internet and has more than 250 million members.

SEE ALSO

Facebook Lite? – ABC News

What Facebook Lite Actually Is. Hint: It's Not Twitter Or FriendFeed – Washington Post

FriendFeed Buy Helps Facebook Compete With Google and Twitter – PCWorld

Facebook Acquires FriendFeed – Daily Tech

Noordin Top still at large

View the original source: Al Arabiya, 12 August 2009

A suspect shot dead in Indonesia last weekend was not Islamist leader Noordin Mohammad Top police announced Wednesday, dashing hopes for a breakthrough in a hunt for the mastermind of a string of attacks while his family publically denounced.

DNA tests showed that a fighter killed in the raid was not the alleged terror financier and recruiter, one of Asia's most-wanted men, but an accomplice who had helped plan the July 17 hotel bombings in Jakarta.

The man killed in the raid was identified as Ibrohim, who worked as a florist in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Jakarta and is suspected to be the inside man on the suicide bombings at two luxury hotels in Jakarta last month.

Top is believed to have planned last month's attacks on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels

Top is believed to have planned last month's near-simultaneous suicide attacks on Jakarta's JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, which killed nine people and wounded 53.

The police were at first confident that Top had been killed during an 18-hour siege at a remote farmhouse in Central Java.

National police spokesman Nanan Soekarna said the authorities believed Top was still in Indonesia and expected him to keep on trying to launch attacks. "The assumption is that he will keep on doing so," he told reporters.

Indonesia poll challenge rejected

View original source: BBC News, 12 August 2009

Indonesian judges have rejected complaints of voting fraud from two of the defeated candidates in last month's presidential election.

The Constitutional Court said there was no evidence to support allegations of systematic electoral violations.

Megawati Sukarnoputri and outgoing Vice-President Jusuf Kalla had claimed that voting lists were inaccurate and millions of votes had been miscounted.

They wanted President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's landslide victory annulled.

Mrs Megawati, herself a former president and daughter of independence hero Sukarno, secured 26.8% of the vote, compared with Mr Yudhoyono's 60.8%.

Mr Kalla received 12.4% of the vote in the 8 July poll.

Both defeated candidates had alleged that voter lists were flawed in the run-up to the elections, amid claims that duplicate names and those of dead people were appearing on the electoral rolls.

In his ruling, the chief judge and head of the Constitutional Court acknowledged that there had been "various election violations, both administrative and criminal".

But Mohammad Mahfud added: "While some were proven in court, they cannot - or cannot yet - be considered as structured, systematic and massive election violations."

Spokesmen for both of the candidates had said on Tuesday they would respect the court's decision.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Forensic tests on Noordin Top no match - source

View complete story at Reuters, 10 August 2009

Forensic tests including on DNA, finger prints and hair of a man shot dead by Indonesian police during a raid targeting Noordin Mohammad Top do not match the militant, a source close to the investigation said on Monday.

Malaysian-born Top is a prime suspect in last month's near simultaneous suicide attacks on Jakarta's JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels that killed nine people and wounded 53.

Police shot dead a man thought to be Top after an 18-hour siege on a farmhouse in rice fields in Central Java on Saturday, but initial confidence it was Top appears to be fading.

"Sure, today at 10 o'clock the tests were already completed," said the source from police headquarters, who spoke on condition he was not named. "Twelve criteria for supporting evidence have been checked including DNA, finger prints, hair and so on,"

"According to my friends, they don't match," said the source, adding that blood samples were taken from Top's son in Riau province.

The source said police could officially announce the results in two to three days.

Police will also check on a scar on Top's left eye brow and particular tooth pattern based on information from him Malaysian family, the source said.

A police spokesman could not immediately be reached, but a number of analysts and other sources quoted in the media have also denied that the dead man is Top.

"From the photos of the head of the body that was circulating in the Internet as well as some other information I can't quote the sources, we have no idea who it was," Sidney Jones, an expert on Islamic militants at the International Crisis Group, said on Sunday.

SEE ALSO

Indonesia police concede Noordin Top evaded death – Telegraph.co.uk