Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Earthquake rocks western Indonesia, tsunami strikes Pacific Islands.

Compiled from The Associated Press, VOA News, RTTNews, & others

Indonesia's meteorological agency says a powerful earthquake has shaken western Indonesia. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami alert for Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Thailand.

The Indonesian agency said the tremor had a magnitude of 7.6. Its epicenter was just off the coast of Sumatra. The U.S. Geological Survey put the strength at 7.9.

The shaking could be felt in high buildings in the capital, Jakarta, several hundred miles, kilometers away and in neighboring Singapore and Malaysia.

The quake was centered 30 miles (50 kilometers) off the coastal city of Padang, in West Sumatra province, along the same fault line the spawned the massive 2004 Asian tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

Indonesian television reported that hundreds of buildings had collapsed and many people were feared trapped under the rubble.

A disaster management official says at least 13 people have been killed and thousands trapped under flattened buildings in a powerful earthquake in western Indonesia.

Rustam Pakaya, head of the Health Ministry's crisis center, said a field hospital was being prepared to assist the injured and medical teams were on the way from neighboring provinces.

Officials said the quake triggered a landslide that cut off land transport to the area closest to the epicenter. Power and telecommunications were also cut.

Tsunami in South Pacific islands

Eanwhile in south Pacific, a massive tsunami unleashed by a powerful earthquake flattened Samoan villages and swept cars and people out to sea, killing more than 100 and leaving dozens missing Wednesday. The death toll was expected to rise.

Survivors fled the fast-churning water for higher ground on the South Pacific islands and remained huddled there hours after the quake, with a magnitude between 8.0 and 8.3, struck around dawn Tuesday.

The quake was centered about 120 miles south of the islands of Samoa, which has about 180,000 people, and American Samoa, a U.S. territory of 65,000.

Four tsunami waves 15 to 20 feet (4 to 6 meters) high roared ashore on American Samoa, reaching up to a mile (1.5 kilometers) inland, Mike Reynolds, superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa, was quoted as saying by a parks service spokeswoman.

Less than 24 hours later, another strong underwater earthquake rocked western Indonesia on Wednesday, briefly triggering a tsunami alert for countries along the Indian Ocean and sending panicked residents out of their houses. The quake toppled buildings, cut power and triggered a landslide on Sumatra island, and at least 13 people were reported killed.

Earthquake in Padang Long Time Predicted –
Eyewitness: On air when tsunami hit – BBC
VIDEO: 7.6 Richter Quake Rocks Sumatra – Viva News
More News on Indonesian earthquake - Google
More News on Tsunami in south Pacific – Google

Indonesia elects 'President' for Oscars

Source (click to view) Patrick Frater/Hollywood Reporter

"Jamila dan sang Presiden" ("Jamila and the President") a prison-set drama about injustice and child trafficking, will represent Indonesia as candidate for the foreign-language Oscar.

The film's selection was announced Wednesday by the Indonesian Film & TV Producers Association.

"Jamila" is the first time film by Ratna Sarumpaet, who is better known as a political activist, playwright and stage director. The film is an adaptation of her play "The Prostitute and the President," which provoked a wave of controversy in Indonesia and was banned in many regions. The film, which stars Atiqah Hasiholan and Indonesia's best known actress Christine Hakim, however, was passed for theatrical release without censorship.

The story follows a prostitute who admits to killing a high ranking minister, but refuses legal representation or to plead for clemency. Sentenced to death, Jamila become a cause célèbre and one that the government is forced to react to.

The film, which screened this week at the Bangkok festival, was produced by Raam Punjabi's MVP Pictures.

A very irresistible `Jamila' – The Jakarta Post

Indonesia says militants planned attacks each month

Compiled from (click to view): Reuters/Retno Palupi/ Sunanda Creagh and Japan Today/Kyodo

Police killed Noordin Mohammad Top, Indonesia's most-wanted militant, and three of his supporters earlier this month when they raided a house near Solo, Central Java.

They found laptops and explosives at the house, which they said contained details of the group's plans to attack targets including "symbols of the state" such as the president.

Malaysian-born Top, who headed a violent wing of the militant group Jemaah Islamiah, was considered the mastermind of bomb attacks on Jakarta's Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott hotels in July, and of previous bomb attacks in Bali and Jakarta which killed scores of foreigners and Indonesians.

His death has raised hopes that a serious security threat has been lifted in Southeast Asia's biggest economy One of the laptops found in the raid contained video of the two suicide bombers pretending to exercise in a field in front of the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels, police told a news conference.

The video was shot on June 21, and the hotels, which were bombed on July 17, were clearly visible in the video.

Another film showed one of the suicide bombers, identified as Dani, discussing suicide bombing as a form of jihad. "It's not suicide. It's God's instruction. To not do it is a sin," Dani said in the video clip.

Meanwhile, Petrus Reinhard Golose, chief of the cyber crime unit of the National Police, told a press conference Tuesday that another voice, heard on the footage, said, ‘‘The United States must be destroyed! Australia must be destroyed! Indonesia must be destroyed!’’

The voice was believed to be that of Syaifuddin Zuhri, who allegedly recruited the suicide bombers and shot the video. Zuhri, who is believed to have taken the place of Noordin Mohammad Top as recruiter of suicide bombers, remains at large.

The militants had clearly changed their strategy, Tito Karnavian, a member of the police anti-terror unit, told reporters, citing evidence that the police had found after a raid on a house in Jati Asih, West Java.

"In the past, they acted every year," he said, with the first big bomb attack in Bali in 2002, followed by the bombing of the JW Marriott in Jakarta in 2003, a bomb attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta in 2004 and another bomb attack in Bali in 2005.

"All of them were a year apart. After the last JW Marriott attack, they planned new attacks, according to the evidence we found in Jati Asih," he said.

"There would be 'serial attacks'. Every month, maybe, they would launch a new attack. The JW Marriott was in July," and the group had planned an attack near Jati Asih in August, he said.

Police previously said that the bombers at Jati Asih had planned to attack President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's residence nearby at Cikeas.

Suicide bombers preparing for Jakarta attacks in July (In Bahasa) – VIVA News/TV One

Murder suspected in Bali tourist's death

Source (Click to view): Japan Today/Kyodo

A 33-year-old Tokyo woman was found dead on the Indonesian resort island of Bali and injuries to the body indicate she may have been murdered, according to local reports Tuesday.

Wilmar Marpaung, detective unit chief at the Bali Police Headquarters, said Rika Sano's corpse was found at 4 p.m. Monday in a thicket of bushes on Mertahadi Street in the Kuta beach resort area.

Private television networks Trans7 and Surya Citra Televisi reported the tourist's body was discovered when local residents noticed a foul smell.

Sano's body was found half-naked, and her underwear, cell phone, cosmetics and other belongings were scattered around, raising suspicions she was robbed and raped before she was killed, according to the reports.

Police also found a wood log that may been used to beat and kill her, Marpaung said.

Marpaung, however, refused to speculate on the cause of death.

"We are still investigating the cause of her death. So far, I can only say that she was the victim of violence," he said, adding her body is being kept at the Sanglah General Hospital for an autopsy.

According to Marpaung, Sano checked into the Prani Hotel in Kuta with a friend, Mayumi Someya, 30, on Thursday night, and at around 2:30 a.m. Friday a man claiming to be a police officer led her away from her hotel.

According to the online news portal Tempo Interaktif, the man showed police identification and a badge to the hotel's security officer and said Sano was a drug trafficker.

The man drove away from the hotel on a motorcycle with Sano riding on the back, but an hour later he came back alone and took her two suitcases.

Marpaung said the man could have been posing as a police officer but added "we are still checking the information."

Meanwhile, Gde Alit Widana, chief of the Denpasar Police Headquarters in the Bali provincial capital of Denpasar, said more than one perpetrator may have been involved.

"So far, we have been questioning four people," Widana said, without elaborating whether the four are witnesses or suspects.

Photographs have been shown to Someya in an attempt identify the perpetrator, he said.

Officials of the Japanese Consulate General in Denpasar said they are trying to confirm the facts regarding the case.

For many Japanese, especially women, Bali is a popular resort destination. Bali tours for female customers often include such services as massages at ritzy resort hotels.

Video link (in Bahasa)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Power substation fire causes blackout, traffic jams in Jakarta

Compiled from, Xinhua & Tempo Interactive

An electricity substation of the stated-owned firm PLN (Perushaan Listrik negara) has been razed by fire, causing blackout and traffic jams at parts of the capital of the country.
Fire from explosions at the Cawang Baru office of the State Electricity Company in East Jakarta has cut half of the capital from electricity, with Central, East, and South Jakarta become the most extensively affected areas. The fire occurred at around 13 : 30 p.m. Jakarta time and it could be extinguished in fifty minutes, General manager of PLN Purnomo Willy said.

The electricity outage has caused traffic lights turn off, triggering serious traffic jams in many parts of the city.

The manager said that the fire caused power outage at parts of east and south of Jakarta.

“Power cut occurred in Gambir (Central Jakarta), Kuningan (South Jakarta), Manggarai (South Jakarta), Pulomas (East Jakarta), Cawang (East Jakarta), Jatinegara (East Jakarta), Kramat Jati (East Jakarta), Cikini (Central Jakarta), and Mampang (South Jakarta)," Ikhsan L, Distribution Manager for Greater Jakarta and Tangerang Area said.

The fire have destroyed two out of six 500 kilovolts transformators in the main power terminal, but Ikhsan said he could not predict on how long the repair works could be completed.

General Manager for Distribution in Greater Jakarta and Tangerang Area Purnomo Willy told Tempo that the company is distributing power loads to other power terminals in the capital to reduce the extent of power cuts, but added that only 30 – 40 percent of the actual capacity could be distributed through the alternative lines, while the remaining capacity will have to remain cut from the customers.

Indonesia's state bank among 50 Forbes' impressive Asian firms

Compiled from:, Xinhua and, and other sources

Indonesia's Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) is listed again among 50 most impressive Asian firms by the influential business magazine Forbes.

Retaining its presence in the list since last year, BRI was ranked 7th of firms listed in the Forbes' "Asian Fabulous 50" list this year. The Indonesian' state-run bank that provides loans for small-sized firms and farmers in the country is regarded to have impressive working performance in the last 5 years.

The selection on firms fitted in the list was based on the firms' share price in the market and the firms' future business projection. Forbes has learned that BRI's market capitalization now stands at 9.3 billion U.S. dollars with sales reached 2.8 billion dollars.

Indian, Chinese and Japanese companies dominated Forbes’ second annual list of the 50 best listed companies in the Asia-Pacific region with twelve, nine and nine spots respectively. There were six Taiwanese companies on the list as well.

Most of the companies featured on the list were in the field of utilities, telecoms, mining, milling and smelting the metals and minerals to feed Asia’s emerging need for better overall infrastructure.

After India, China and Japan, the next biggest companies were from South Korea and Taiwan followed by Australia.

The Fab 50:

1. Acer -- Taiwan
2. Adani Enterprises -- India
3. Agile Property Holdings -- China
4. Angang Steel -- China
5. Anhui Conch Cement -- China
6. Axis Bank -- India
7. Bank Rakyat Indonesia -- Indonesia
8. Bharat Heavy Electricals -- India
9. Bharti Airtel -- India
10. BHP Billiton – Australia

Click here for complete list…

Who Runs Asia's Fab 50: The bosses of the best, big, public companies in Asia –

Miyabi..yes or no?

Source: AFP. Picture:

Filmmakers in Indonesia say they would stick to their plans to fly in a top Japanese porn star to act in a local comedy.

Muslim leaders have blasted plans to bring out erotic film megastar Maria Ozawa, 23, popularly known as Miyabi, to play herself in the upcoming film, Menculik Miyabi (Kidnapping Miyabi).

But Maxima Productions general manager Adi Sudiadi said the firm would stick to plans to include Ozawa in the film, which tells the story of a group of university students who accidentally kidnap the starlet.

'We guarantee that Miyabi won't be playing in a porn film here. We will bring her here not as a porn star, but purely for a comedy,' Mr Sudiadi said. 'Miyabi is well-known to Indonesians...We are expecting her to attract a lot of spectators here.

'We are also trying to fix Miyabi's image by showing she can be more than just a porn star,' he said, adding that no final agreement had been reached with Ozawa to act in the film.

Indonesian Council of Ulema chairman Amidhan slammed the choice of Ozawa - who has gained notoriety in Japan's porn industry, thanks to her Canadian-Japanese looks - as a threat to the moral health of the country's youth. 'Even if the film isn't pornographic, it is very dangerous for our young people, particularly if they become fans of this porn actress and become curious enough to watch her films,' he said. 'We have to be firm and not let rubbish into our country. This is about Indonesia's reputation as the world's most populous Muslim country.'

Nearly 90 per cent of Indonesia's 234 million people are Muslim.

Indonesia's Parliament earlier this month passed a controversial film law that imposes tighter controls on content, including violence and sex.

Indonesians asked to wear batik on Oct 2

Source: The Malaysian Insider. Picture:

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called on Indonesians around the world to don their best batik on Friday to celebrate the United Nations’ announcement that the traditional dyeing technique is an Indonesian cultural treasure.

Yudhoyono’s invitation was aired during a dialogue with members of the Indonesian community in Massachusetts, the United States, last Saturday.

“I invite the Indonesian people, wherever they may be, to wear batik on Oct 2,” the President said to loud applause.

Ownership of batik and other cultural items such as the Balinese pendet dance have cropped up recently as thorny issues in relations between Malaysia and Indonesia.

President Yudhoyono last week vowed to ask the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) to recognise the angklung, a musical instrument made of bamboo, as Indonesia’s.

Jakarta says the instrument originated in West Java.

“We will keep fighting for our heritage, one tradition at a time,” declared Jero Wacik, Indonesia’s Culture and Tourism Minister.

Unesco has already recognised the keris (traditional dagger) and wayang kulit (shadow puppet theatre) as belonging to Indonesia.

Jakarta residents asked to wear batik on Oct 2 – Antara

Jakarta Journal: Nannies Get Holiday. Rich Families Get a Suite

Source: The New York Times/Norimitsu Onishi

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Every year at the end of Ramadan, millions of maids, nannies and chauffeurs make their annual pilgrimages to their hometowns across Indonesia, leaving their pampered employers to fend for themselves.

Some of those left behind hire temporary maids at exorbitant rates. Others go abroad. Still others check into hotels not far from their homes.

In the basement of a luxury hotel, which had been transformed into a playground, Djoni Kamaruddin and his wife, Lianny, who opt for a Jakarta hotel every year, sat down for lunch with their son and daughter. “We just think of this as a holiday,” Mr. Kamaruddin, 37, said jovially.

But a minute later, Mr. Kamaruddin’s face tightened as his 8-year-old son threw a temper tantrum, the boy’s round, bespectacled face scrunched up in anger. Because it was a holiday, the boy said, he wanted to eat his lasagna and chicken fried rice with a spoon, which most Indonesians use, not a fork.

The father reasoned, cajoled, pleaded and, after the fork went flying across the hotel floor, shook his son. The parents quickly mentioned that their two maids, who had left Jakarta a week earlier, were returning the next day.

“They called yesterday to say they’re coming back tomorrow,” Ms. Kamaruddin, 35, said. “I’m relieved.”

In one of the world’s largest annual exoduses, tens of millions of Indonesians leave Jakarta and other cities to celebrate Id al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday at the end of Ramadan, with relatives in villages and towns across rural Indonesia. More than 27 million are believed to have made the trip home this year, according to the authorities.

The exodus transforms Jakarta overnight. It thins the smog that envelops the skyscrapers in the city center. It stills its construction cranes. It empties its perennially clogged streets of ojeks, the kamikaze-like motorcycle taxis that weave in and out of traffic, and find shortcuts on sidewalks. Business comes to a halt.

It also wreaks havoc in wealthy and middle-class households that — given the seemingly endless supply of cheap labor in this country of 237 million, mostly poor people — depend on domestic servants. This year, hotel occupancy in the city rose 70 percent during the holidays, according to the Jakarta tourism agency. While 35 percent of the guests were visitors from outside the capital, the rest were Jakarta residents checking into hotels.

At the Hotel Mulia Senayan in south Jakarta, most weekday guests are foreign businessmen, according to Adeza Hamzah, a hotel spokesman.

But last Tuesday morning, instead of businessmen in suits or batik, the hotel lobby was swarming with young families. A man in shorts and Crocs kept an eye on his daughter, whose sneakers squeaked furiously on the lobby’s marble floor. Mothers pushed strollers, unaccompanied by nannies dressed in telltale monotone uniforms.

For many, compounding the holiday stress was the common fear that their maids — after getting their Id al-Fitr bonuses — would stay in their villages or look for better jobs elsewhere.

“It’s getting more difficult to find people who want to work as domestic helpers in Jakarta,” said Sugito, 54, who runs a domestic help agency and, like many Indonesians, uses one name. “They prefer to work as migrant workers because the money is better.”

Mr. Sugito also arranges temporary help for Jakarta residents, charging $55 for the service. The temporary maids, he said, earn $5 to $8 a day, the equivalent of what many earn in a week during normal times.

“Last year, I earned two months’ wages just by working 10 days,” said Zubaedah, 34, who came here from west Java with her 17-year-old daughter to look for temporary work.

“It’s hard not to celebrate with my kids and family, but we need the money for my children to go to school,” she said. Her husband, she added, makes about $1 a day selling ice cream.

A few in this Westernizing society see the maid shortage not as a problem but as an opportunity. Julie Tan, for one, said she tried to use the temporary absence of her two maids to instill some much-needed discipline in her three children.

“They’ll call the maid to get a glass of water,” said Ms. Tan, 42, who lived in Los Angeles for 10 years and was worried that her children might one day also have to face life in a place without someone at their beck and call. She ordered takeout at home. Her children helped with the laundry and dishes.

“It’s once a year,” she said. “So it’s O.K.”

At the Hotel Mulia, Abraham Tjahja, 69, and Diana Farolan, 60, sat at a table near the pool, surrounded by their children and grandchildren. A daughter, visiting from Bali with her husband, had chosen to stay at the hotel, partly because the holidays had decimated her parents’ domestic staff.

Six of the couple’s eight maids, as well as the family’s two drivers, had gone home to their villages. So for a week or more, the couple and the children still living at home had been getting by with the help of only two maids and one temporary worker they had hired.

“We clean up our own bedroom,” Mr. Tjahja said, adding that stress over managing the domestic staff had contributed to a stroke his wife had a few years ago.

Mrs. Farolan, a plate of chicken satay before her getting cold, said, “This is the most tiring time of the year.”

Monday, September 28, 2009

Indonesia unlikely to pass new mining rules this year

Source: Reuters/ Fitri Wulandari; Ed Davies

Indonesia is unlikely to complete final regulations attached to a new mining and coal law this year, an official said, creating more uncertainty for a sector that is already struggling to attract new investment.

The government has been drafting regulations on the new mining and coal law passed in December 2008 for presidential approval, and had said they should be issued by October when a new administration under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is due to start a second term.

Bambang Gatot Ariyono, director of mining and coal production at the energy and mines ministry, said ministries including the forestry and finance Ministry with vested interests in the regulations had yet to respond to the drafts proposed by his office.

"Looking at the progress, we doubt the regulations can be completed this year," said Ariyono, who did not say when he thought the regulations were likely to be completed.

Issuing the regulations is seen as crucial to providing more certainty for mining investors in Southeast Asia's biggest economy.

But analysts have said it may take more time to issue the regulations. In the case of an oil and gas law passed in 2001, it took three years to issue the implementing regulations.

With the delay, the sector is unlikely to see fresh investment in the near future as the government has frozen new mining permits until the regulations are finalised and there may be further delays under a new here to view full news by Reuters

Indonesia to produce A/H1N1 flu vaccine

Source: Xinhua News. Picture story: The Jakarta Globe

Indonesia is to produce vaccine to stop the further spread of the A/H1N1 viruses that have killed 10 people and infected more than 1,000 others in the country, a senior official of the Health Ministry said.

The plan comes after the United Nations recently asked major vaccine producer firms in the world, including Indonesia's drug maker Biofarma, to produce the vaccine, Director General of Disease Control and Environmental Health of the ministry Tjandra Yoga Aditama said.

"As the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the world could only produce 3 billion doses of the flu vaccine out of 5 billion doses expectation. So, we will produce the vaccine," Yoga told Xinhua at his office when asked whether Indonesia will produce the A/H1N1 flu vaccine.

But, it had not been determined yet the amount of the vaccines to be produced by Biofarma and whether Indonesia would join other countries move to donate the vaccine to under developed countries, he said, adding "Let's wait until two months after the preparation process is completed, then all will be clear, such as the amount of the vaccine to be produced, whether they are only for us or to be given to other countries."

The director said that the development of the A/H1N1 influenza virus has often unpredictable, but his ministry would keep closely to watch it.

"Eat, Pray, Love": After India shooting, Julia Roberts will head to Indonesia

Compiled from: Tourism Indonesia and Punjab Newsline Network

Oscar winner Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman) will head to Bali (Indonesia) for shooting the third and final leg of “Eat, Pray, Love”, once she completes the India part of the shooting, according to reports.

She is currently shooting at Ashram Harimandir hermitage in Pataudi, about 60 kilometers from India’s capital Delhi, and the India shooting will reportedly end around October six-10. She has already completed some shooting in New York and Italy.

The Balinese provincial government confirmed earlier this month it had issued the permits needed to shoot the film, with Roberts being scheduled to appear on set from Oct. 16 to Nov. 6.

“We have issued the permit to shoot in Gianyar. Their preparation is complete,” said Ida Bagus Puruvita, the Gianyar cultural office’s chief of permits and films.

The shoot is planned to take place at the traditional markets and Monkey Forest in Ubud, along with the nearby villages of Demayu and Tegalalang, and in Badung, Uluwatu and Nusa Dua.

“Eat, Pray, Love” is the best-selling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert. It tells her story of overcoming a deep depression after a painful divorce during a journey of soul-searching and self-discovery. In her search for peace, she spends a year traveling in Italy, India and Indonesia.

While in Bali, the author learns how to balance earthly delights with spirituality and discovers the meaning of love.

The book has been the subject of much controversy in Bali because of passages about a Balinese medicine man the author met in Ubud. The man reportedly helped Balinese housewives with infertile husbands get pregnant by arranging sexual trysts with drivers and gigolos.

Aimed at a release in 2011 and directed by Emmy nominated Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck), “Eat, Love, Pray” also stars Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Richard Jenkins (The Visitor), Viola Davis (Doubt), Billy Crudup (Almost Famous), James Franco (Pineapple Express), Luca Argentero (Lezioni di cioccolato), etc.

Briton named `best public figure` in Indonesia's Gorontalo

Source: Antara News

Lynn Marion Clayton, a British female reseacher, who has been working in Nantu forest, Boalemo district, was selected as Gorontalo`s Best Public Figure in 2009, a spokesman for the selection committee said.

The title was awarded to Clayton by Moawota, a Gorontalo community organization in Makassar, South Sulawesi, under the the "Gong 2030" or "Superior Gorontalo" program, Muhammad Rum Dali, chairman of the Best Gorontalo Public Figures 2009 organizing committee, said here Saturday.

Dali said in the selection, the committee evaluated 10 people in the region as potential public figures based on the opinions of 1,000 respondents in the region who sent in their choices by short text message (SMS) and Facebook.

The ten potential public figures generally work in the fields of education, agriculture, environment, health and religion affairs, he said.

"It`s a fact Lynn Clayton is a foreign citizen who lives in Gorontalo. However, the selection committee had decided that anyone from any country, if he or she is domiciled in Gorontalo and dedicates his or her life to the welfare of the local people, he or she deserves to receive a citation," Dali said.

Marion Lynn Clayton is a doctoral conservation expert and has been living for 20 years in the region to do research in the Nantu Forest in Boalemo District, Gorontalo province.

Lynn has been conducting various studies, especially on boars and deer in forests that cover a total area of 31,215 hectares, Muhammad said.

Meanwhile, Clayton expressed her gratitute after receiving the award because it showed the local public appreciated her and her work in the region.

RIM Introduces the New BlackBerry Curve 8520 in Indonesia


Research In Motion (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM) on September 23 introduced the BlackBerry Curve 8520 smartphone in Indonesia. The slim and stylish handset, a new addition to the BlackBerry Curve series of smartphones, is scheduled to be available from Axis, Indosat, Telkomsel and XL in October.

The new BlackBerry Curve 8520 introduces an innovative touch-sensitive trackpad which makes scrolling and selection smooth and easy for an exceptional navigation experience. It is also the first BlackBerry smartphone to feature dedicated media keys, which are smoothly integrated along the top of the handset giving customers an easy, convenient way to control their music and videos.

According to RIM, the user-friendly BlackBerry Curve 8520 provides easy access to email, messaging (IM, SMS, MMS) and social networking sites (including Facebook and MySpace), and features a highly tactile full-QWERTY keyboard for comfortable, accurate typing. It is also Wi-Fi-enabled and includes rich multimedia capabilities with easy access to music, games and other mobile apps for entertainment on the go.

“The BlackBerry Curve 8520 is an incredibly approachable and feature-rich smartphone and it delivers all the great messaging, social networking and multimedia features that customers have come to love about BlackBerry smartphones,” said Gregory Wade, Regional Vice President, RIM Asia Pacific. “More and more people are switching from basic cell phones and the BlackBerry Curve 8520 is an exceptional choice for first-time smartphone users.”


Full-QWERTY keyboard and touch-sensitive trackpad for reliable, responsive typing and navigation

256MB Flash memory and a 512Mhz next generation processor for enhanced performance

Premium phone features including voice activated dialing and Bluetooth (2.0) support for hands-free use with headsets, car kits, stereo headsets and other Bluetooth peripherals

2 MP digital camera with zoom and video recording

Advanced media player for music, pictures and videos, with dedicated media keys and a 3.5 mm stereo headset jack, plus BlackBerry Media Sync, which makes it easy to quickly sync music from iTunes® or Windows Media® Player with the smartphone

BlackBerry Internet Service support for access to up to 10 supported email accounts, including most popular ISP email accounts such as Yahoo !, Windows Live Hotmail, AOL and Gmail; and BlackBerry Enterprise Server support, which provides advanced security and IT administration features for corporate deployments

Expandable memory via hot swappable microSD/SDHC memory card slot, supporting up to 16 GB cards today and expected to support next generation 32GB cards when available; a 2GB card is included

Built-in Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)

Quad-band world phone: EGDE/GPRS/GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)

Govt to make ‘temulawak’ an icon of Indonesia

Compiled from: The Jakarta Post & other source

The government is working to establish temulawak, or Java turmeric, as an icon of Indonesia, on the grounds that the country has the most varieties of the herb.

State Minister for Research and Technology Kusmayanto Kadiman told a press conference in Jakarta that research is currently underway to prove that the medicinal plant, whose Latin name is Curcuma xanthorrhiza Roxb, merits to be recognized as a classic Indonesian icon.

The next step, he said, would be to research how to use the herb, which naturally tastes bitter, in cooking.

“We have to make ‘temulawak’ part of our daily lives, in food, cosmetics, medicine or supplements; we don’t want other countries claiming it as their own,” he added.

Temulawak is used as an ingredient in most traditional herbal medicine, known locally as jamu. It is said to have anti-inflammation, anti-microbe, cholesterol reducing, and anti-cancer properties, and is widely used to treat stiff muscles and liver disease.

Charles Saerang, chairman of the Indonesian Herbal and Traditional Medicines Entrepreneurs Association (GP Jamu), said Indonesia was the largest temulawak producer in the world, with the best varieties of the herb found in Central Java, particularly in the Semerang area.

Indonesia, however, lags behind other countries that have long patented some properties of the herb and developed temulawak products.


Curcuma zedoaria, curcuma javanica, Javanese turmeric.

Common name:
Tumulawak, Java turmeric, temu lawak, gedè, Indian saffron, Jiang huang, Haridra.

Zingiberaceae (ginger family).

Temulawak, originally from Indonesia, can grow up to 8 feet tall. The flower is yellow.
The large leaves stem from the root and the large rhizome of the plant contains herbal qualities.
Cultivation has spread to other countries including Surinam.
Java - turmeric is a mild spice used in several drinks to give these flavor and color (yellow); it is also used for seasoning.
It has an aromatic, pungent odor and a bitter taste.

500 Indonesians die during exodus

Source: Global Times/AFP

Almost 500 people died on Indonesia's roads as they headed home in a mass exodus to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holidays marking the end of Ramadan, an official said Sunday.

"We recorded 1,153 accidents in the period of six days before Eid and three days after it, mostly involving motorcycles," Transport Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan told AFP.

"472 people died and 551 others were seriously injured," he added.

"The travelers were on the road for 16 hours on average, and many were tired and in a rush," he said.

Indonesians celebrated the Eid holiday September 20 in one of the world's largest yearly mass migrations.

Masses of people crammed in planes, trains, ferries, buses and overloaded motorcycles and cars as major cities and towns emptied.

Around 90 percent of Indonesia's 234 million people are Muslim, making it the world's largest Muslim-majority country.

At least 548 people were killed on Indonesian roads during last year's exodus, according to figures provided by the Indonesian government.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Challenges Faced by Indonesia in Battling against Corruption

Compiled from and AFP

The future of Indonesia's powerful anti-corruption commission has been put under threat by what activists say is a concerted campaign to shut down progress made against entrenched graft.

Lawmakers are expected to pass a law next week that would strip the independent Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) of the authority to prosecute -- a power that has seen it put away high profile politicians and officials.

The law, part of a rash of legislation before the end of the current parliament's term, would leave the KPK solely as an investigator while the corruption-tainted attorney general's office (AGO) would be left to prosecute.

The Corruption Eradication Commission, the KPK, also faces a power vacuum after police named three officials as suspects in criminal investigations. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says the bill should not be rushed through parliament in a form that hinders the fight against graft.

"The grand scenario is the government is trying to weaken the KPK," Indonesia Corruption Watch secretary general Teten Masduki told AFP.

The law is likely a reaction to successes that have seen the KPK-linked Corruption Court achieve a 100 percent conviction rate in a country known as one of the world's most corrupt, Masduki said.

"I think everyone knows the DPR (parliament) is always reluctant to go with the process of anti-corruption. They don't really support the KPK."

Here are some questions and answers on the issues.

Why does this matter?

Indonesia needs billions of dollars from domestic and foreign investors, but endemic corruption, red tape, and an unpredictable legal system all serve as deterrents.

Yudhoyono promised to tackle graft when elected in 2004 and has made some progress, thanks mainly to KPK and the corruption court, far more effective than other courts. The perception that Yudhoyono is serious about graft, has helped boost the rupiah currency, stocks and bonds.

But by weakening the two institutions most effective in jailing corrupt officials, bankers and businessmen, Indonesia will put off investors, post GDP growth rates below potential, and create insufficient jobs for a growing population.

How could the bill weaken the corruption court?

Mainly through changes to the panel of judges. The panels consist of two career judges and three ad hoc judges. But the government and members of parliament want to relax this rule so that the head of a district court can decide the make up of the court.

The judiciary is rated among Indonesia’s most corrupt institutions. The corruption court’s 100 percent success rate is due in part to the ad hoc judges and their majority on the panel: change that and it will become like other courts.

In addition, MPs want to stop the KPK from using wiretaps without permission and take away its power to prosecute suspects. The president has said that the KPK must retain those powers.

These clauses need to be agreed by parliament and the government before Sept. 30, when parliament’s term ends and a new parliament is sworn in.

The deadline for the bill is Dec. 19, but it seems unlikely a new parliament could handle it in time. As a final resort, the president could issue a regulation-in-lieu-of-law, or Perppu, to extend the life of the court.

Will the anti-corruption agency still be able to function?

The KPK plays an important role in the fight against graft, investigating and prosecuting in the corruption court.

But some parliamentarians appear keen to limit its role to investigating cases and give the authority to prosecute back to the Attorney General’s office, another body in need of reform.
Several lawmakers have already been sent to jail by the court. Others are awaiting trial, prompting corruption watchdogs to warn that this is why members of parliament want to curb the powers of the court and KPK.

What about the KPK power vacuum?

The fight against graft appears to be coming under increasing attack from other law enforcement agencies. The police on Sept. 16 named two senior KPK officials suspected of abuse of power.

Antasari Azhar, the head of the KPK, was detained in May as a suspect in a murder investigation. Yudhoyono has set up a panel, made up of a prominent lawyer, the security and justice ministers, a presidential adviser, and a former KPK head — to temporarily fill the vacant spots.

His intervention to resolve the uncertainty shrouding the KPK and court bill has been welcomed by some but questioned by others who say he is interfering with the independence of KPK. The panel is due to name the officials on Oct. 1.

Indonesia to launch first WiMAX wireless service in Q1 2010

Compiled from Xinhua and TeleGeography

Indonesia will first time deploy WiMax wireless service in the fist quarter of next year through PTTelekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom).

Telkom consumer director Ermady Dahlan was quoted by the newspaper as saying that the firm was in the middle of completing the administrative requirements needed in order to obtain the operational licenses.

Spokesman for the Indonesian Ministry of Communications and Information Gatot Dewa Broto said the ministry would issue WiMAX operational licenses by the end of October after a series of operational feasibility tests based on the completion of the administrative requirements.

In August this year Telkom was one of eight companies to receive WiMAX broadband licences from the government. Minister of Information and Communication, Mohammad Nuh, said the eight successful winners had met the minimum criteria for the awards, including the stipulation that each rolls out ‘sufficient infrastructure’ and ensures a minimum 30%-40% of local products are used in the deployment.

The full list of winners is PT Telkom, PT Indosat Mega Media, PT Internux, PT First Media, PT Jasnita Telekomindo, PT Berca Hardayaperkasa, PT Rahajasa Media Internet (also known as the Indonesian WiMAX Consortium), and a consortium comprising PT Comtronics Systems and PT Adiwarta Perdania.

WiMAX is an advanced telecommunications technology providing wireless transmission of data using portable and fully mobile Internet access.

It provides high-throughput broadband connections over long distances without having to build costly infrastructure and large numbers of transmission towers.

The technology, which provides an alternative to cable and digital subscriber lines (DSL), has coverage of some 50 km in radius from each base station, and has relatively low-investment costs compared to existing 3G technologies.

Indonesia To Raise Toll-Road Tariffs By 23.2% On Average From Monday

Compiled from Reuters and

The Indonesian government will raise tariffs on 10 toll roads in Java and Sumatra by an average of 23.2% starting Monday, an official said.

The tariff adjustment, done every two years, is based on inflation rates in the past two years, Nurdin Manurung, the head of the toll-road regulator, told reporters.

Regulations allow toll-road tariffs to be increased to attract investments in new turnpike projects.

Listed state-owned PT Jasa Marga (JSMR.JK) is the country's main toll operator.

Indonesia's state toll road agency (BPJT) Chairman Nurdin Manurung said the higher tariffs, which are in line with an earlier announcement, would be applied to 14 toll roads.

Analysts have warned the toll hikes combined with expected increases of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) prices, electricity tariffs, and higher commodity prices next year, would increase inflationary pressure in coming months.

Faced with growing inflationary pressures, analysts expect Bank Indonesia, to hold its key rate, the BI rate BIPG, steady for the remainder of this year.

"Starting October, the increase in tariffs would start to have an impact," said Aldian Taloputra, an economist at Mandiri Sekuritas.

"Next year commodity prices will be higher, and the government also plans to increase administered prices...We expect Bank Indonesia to stand pat (on rates) this year, and to increase the BI rate by 25 basis points next year," he added.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Protect Your Privacy on Facebook and Twitt - PCWorld

By Tony Bradley, PC World

Here's how to safeguard your identity and your personal data in the age of the social Web.

Web surfing is no longer a solo affair. Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks have quickly become an integral part of the online culture, and with them comes a whole new array of potential security threats. In this article, I'll identify some of the key dangers of social networking and offer a few easy steps that you can take to stay safe online.

Social networking is built on the idea of sharing information openly and fostering a sense of community. Unfortunately, an online network of individuals actively sharing their experiences and seeking connections with other like-minded people can be easy prey for hackers bent on social-engineering and phishing attacks. It's important to be aware of the threats, and to maintain a healthy skepticism in your online interactions.

-Be Careful What You Share
-Remember Who Your Friends Are
-Friends of Friends May See Your Post
-Define 'Privacy'
-What Do Quizzes Reveal About You?
-Control What You Can
-Hijacking and Phishing
-Beware Friends Seeking Money
-What's Behind That Tiny URL?

See complete story: PCWorld, Sep 25, 2009 8:00 am

Indonesian Heaviest Newborn Baby


Dwarfing the infant next to him, his mouth open in an angry roar, this is the heaviest newborn ever recorded in Indonesia.

An Indonesian woman named only as Ani gave birth to the 19.2lb baby boy in Medan, North Sumatra yesterday.

She named him Muhammad Akbar Risuddin after the local district chief. 'Akbar' means 'big' in Indonesian. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he was delivered by Caesarean section. Britain's heaviest newborn was delivered in Cumbria in 1992 weighing 15lb 8oz.

The heaviest baby ever born was produced by Anna Bates of Canada in 1879, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. It weighed 23.12lb and died 11 hours after birth.

The record for a baby which survived, according to the Guinness record keepers, is held by a boy born weighing 22lb 8oz at Aversa, Italy in 1955. More recently Francisca do Santos gave birth to a son weighing 16lb 11oz by Caesarean section in Brazil.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is economic terrorism a threat to S.E. Asia?

By Reuters/Andrew Marshall

If the suicide bombers who targeted two luxury hotels in Jakarta this year hoped their attacks would strike a significant long-term blow against Indonesia's economy, the reaction of financial markets suggests they were wrong.

Economic warfare is at the heart of the tactics of terrorism. A few militants with primitive and low-cost weaponry can cause economic destruction that reverberates far beyond the physical damage they inflict, impacting whole industries and countries.

But the overwhelming evidence from militant attacks over recent decades is that the impact is almost always temporary. In the long run, economies and markets are remarkably resilient.

From the hijacked airliner attacks in the United States on Sept.11, 2001, to the suicide blasts at nightclubs in Bali in 2002 and the Madrid and London train bombings of 2004 and 2005, markets have reacted in a highly consistent pattern.

Domestic equities, bonds and the local currency suffer a knee-jerk sell-off. Risk appetite drops sharply and there is a swift flight to quality, with investors seeking the sanctuary of U.S. Treasuries, and sometimes selected commodities and gold.

But within weeks -- and usually days -- asset prices recover. In the first trading session after the 2002 Bali bombings, the Jakarta stock market plunged more than 10 percent and the rupiah dived 3.7 percent. But within 24 days stocks were back at pre-attack levels, and the rupiah recovered within 5 weeks.

Subsequent bombings in Indonesia had far less impact even in terms of short-run reaction. After the hotel blasts in July, stocks sank 2.7 percent but ended trade just 0.6 percent down.


So what are the lessons for investors and risk managers?

Firstly, the initial market impact from terror attacks is likely to be overdone and to unwind over subsequent days.

The reasons can be found in human nature -- behavioral economists have shown that people tend to be naturally risk averse and prone to panic and a herd mentality in the face of uncertainty and danger. For bold investors, asset price weakness in the wake of militant attacks is a clear buying opportunity.

Second, once the initial panic eases, investors take a more rational look at the medium-term economic impact. The direct economic impact in terms of physical damage and loss of human capital is much less of an issue than the question of whether the attacks have spill-over consequences that magnify their cost.

To give one extreme scenario, a militant attack that led to conflict between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan could have a devastating global effect far beyond the initial damage.

Thirdly, the micro impact of attacks can be more serious than the macro. While economies are resilient, sectors such as airlines, tourism and insurance are much more vulnerable. Portfolio diversification can reduce this risk.

Finally, the extent to which attacks have a long-term market impact on industries and countries depends on whether they cause investors to re-evaluate their long-term risk assessments.

The 2002 Bali bombings fundamentally changed perceptions of Indonesian risk for investors and tourists. Later attacks had less impact because the higher risk level was already priced in.

Click here to view full story by Reuters/andrew Marshall


SCENARIOS: Key terrorism risks to economies in Southeast Asia

Forests fight back as Indonesia tackles illegal palm oil

Original source: Reuters/ Gillian Murdoch

For decades, the roar of the chainsaw has meant one thing in Indonesia's national parks: illegal loggers ripping down the rainforest.

Now, the whirring blades are part of a fight back to cut out illegal palm oil from the international supply chain and slow the deforestation that has pushed Indonesia's carbon emissions sky high, threatening the destruction of some of the world's most ecologically important tropical forests and their animals.

In the country's first, symbolic action to stop the lucrative crop's march into protected lands a chainsaw-wielding alliance led by the Aceh Conservation Agency (BPKEL), Acehnese NGOs, and police teams are sweeping tens of thousands of hectares of illegal palm from the 2.5 million hectare Leuser Ecosystem.

"Plantation speculators, developers, whatever you want to call them, have moved in further and further," said Mike Griffiths of BPKEL, the agency created by Aceh Governor Yusuf Irwandi to manage Leuser in 2006, a year after the province at Sumatra's northern tip won greater autonomy from Jakarta.

"They do it by fait accompli... Go in, knock the trees down and plant, and all of a sudden the local perception is that you own it. It's Wild West stuff."

Planting a cash crop used in some of the world's best-known brands of chocolate, crisps and soaps inside legally-protected forests and national parks may seem a high-risk strategy.

But with much legal land already allocated, lax law enforcement, large untapped workforces of villagers living inside remote rainforests, and high Crude Palm Oil (CPO) prices, such illegal conversions makes sense to many.

"The forest is seen as a green tangle with little real use and filled with dangerous animals and diseases," explained Jutta Poetz, Biodiversity Coordinator at industry environmental standards body the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

"If this green tangle can be converted into something profitable, with the dangers largely removed, isn't that good? Plantations will develop the country, create jobs and improve people's lives. This appears to be the prevailing sentiment in Southeast Asia."...CLICK HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE STORY BY REUTERS

World's biggest indoor theme park opens in Indonesia

By Channel NewsAsia   

An indoor theme park billed as the world's biggest opened recently in Indonesia. The 2.2 hectare park is located not in mainland Java but in Makassar, South Sulawesi. 

The iconic sign, Hollywood and almost all that's synonymous with American popular culture can be found at the new Indonesian theme park.

Called the Trans Studio Makassar, it is billed as the biggest indoor theme park in the world.

The fully air-conditioned park sits on reclaimed land in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

Outgoing Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who hails from Makassar, partnered an Indonesian business group to invest in the US$100 million project.

Chairul Tanjung, owner, Para Group, said: "We hope Makassar will be the beginning of the development of Trans Studio in other cities which will be bigger than Makassar."

Plans are in the pipeline to build similar theme parks in Bandung, Balikpapan and Jakarta.

Trans Studio Makassar is wholly built and operated by Indonesians with expertise from the US.

Visitors pay US$10 to enjoy the park's 21 attractions.

The theme park is part of an integrated project which includes a shopping mall and hotels, all on 24 hectares of reclaimed land.

The US has its Universal Studios, and Australia has its Movie World, and now Indonesia is proud to have its own Trans Studio.

It's the country's latest icon as it presses on with its economic development.

And the choice of Makassar in South Sulawesi - not mainland Java and capital Jakarta - marks the country's attempt to spread its growth across thus huge archipelago.

ADB revises up Indonesia's GDP forecast

Source: Xinhua News

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has raised its economic growth forecasts for Indonesia in 2009 to 4.3 percent from an earlier estimation of 3.6 percent in March, according to media reports.

 The revision was made as the bank said the region is leading a global recovery but warned against ending stimulus efforts too quickly, the Jakarta globe said.

 The Indonesian government expects the economy to register growth at 4.3 percent this year. The World Bank on Sept. 14 raised its forecast on Indonesia's GDP to 4.3 percent from earlier prediction of 3.5 percent.

The ADB said that "robust growth in private consumption, underpinned by easing inflation and a surge in election-related government spending, drove better-than-expected economic growth in the first half of 2009."

The bank said that the country's "fiscal stimulus measures supported growth. Net exports contributed to the expansion as imports contracted faster than exports, though investment weakened."

"Relative to forecasts made in March this year, the full-year growth projections are revised up for 2009 and 2010, and inflation will likely be lower. Risks to the outlook include higher-than-expected oil prices, which would propel inflation and hurt consumption, and dry weather that could damage harvests," it said.

 The ADB's region-wide forecast was also raised from 3.4 percent to 3.9 percent.

Download the report

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Indonesia's 'deradicalization' program. Does it work?

Original source: Antara News

Despite the recent death of top terrorist Noordin M Top, President Yudhoyono has warned that it does not mean that the terrorist network in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia, has been paralyzed.

The head of state`s statement was supported by various officials and elements including Ansyaad Mbai, head of the political, legal and security coordinating ministry`s anti-terror desk.

"We should not be too overjoyed about the death of Noordin M top and his associates, because the threat of terrorism still exists in Indonesia. What we should do is to continue addressing the root of the problem," Ansyaad Mbai said.

The government viewed radicalism as the root of terrorism, therefore it has long been implementing a de-radicalization program, especially in the wake of the series of terrorist bombings since 2002, he said.

However, the government`s deradicalization program to fight terrorism is not easy to implement and has so far not yielded optimum results.

"It concerns one`s ideology which is not so easy to change. So, this program has so far not yielded optimum results," Ansyaad Mbai said.

The program involved prominent religious figures, Islamic scholars (ulema), and Islamic boarding school (`pesantren`) teachers and was designed to rectify the misconceived or distorted Islamic teachings adhered to by terrorists, according to the national security official.

The government has also been cooperating with several other countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan in implementing the program, among other things by inviting their ulemas to Indonesia and distributing books on Islam to correct the radicals` misunderstandings about Islamic teachings.

Although the US was not openly mentioned by Indonesia`s officials as a country which had helped `moderation` of the country`s Muslims, an article entitled "Hearts, Minds and Dollars" written by David E Kaplan, in US, on April 17, 2005, revealed the US` role in countries like Indonesia, Egypt and Pakistan.

"After repeated missteps since the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government has embarked on a campaign of political warfare unmatched since the height of the Cold War.

From military psychological-operations teams and CIA covert operatives to openly funded media and think tanks, Washington is plowing tens of millions of dollars into a campaign to influence not only Muslim societies but Islam itself," Kaplan wrote.

In at least two dozen countries, Washington has quietly funded Islamic radio and TV shows, coursework in Muslim schools, Muslim think tanks, political workshops, or other programs that promote moderate Islam, through a strategy called Muslim World Outreach, he wrote.

The US` partners included allied Muslim states, private foundations, and nonprofit groups who share values like democracy, women`s rights, and tolerance, he added.

"In no country is the effort more pronounced than Indonesia, the world`s largest Muslim nation, with 240 million people. A bastion of moderate Islam, the nation has nevertheless given birth to several radical Islamic groups that include al Qaeda offshoot Jemaah Islamiyah, responsible for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202," Kaplan wrote.

Working behind the scenes, USAID now helps fund over 30 Muslim organizations in Indonesia. Among the programs: media production, workshops for Islamic preachers, and curriculum reform for schools from rural academies to Islamic universities, according to the US News article.


Hearts, Minds, and Dollars - By David E. Kaplan, USNEWS - Posted 4/17/05

`Deradicalization' works, claims book - The Jakarta Post

Changing the militant mindset: few signs of success - Reuters

Indonesia's Islamic Schools: More Female Friendly