Indonesian News

LinkedIn Releases Indonesia's First Power Profiles List

Jakarta Globe Business - Tue, 2017-09-19 21:56
Jakarta. LinkedIn, a business-oriented social networking service, announced on Tuesday (19/09) the release of the first LinkedIn Power Profiles in Indonesia, listing most-viewed professionals in the technology sector. "Through their ability to influence, our most viewed members have shown that they can build and transform themselves, their companies and even industries," LinkedIn's managing director for Asia Pacific, Olivier Legrand, said in a statement. The Power Profiles list consists of 30 names clustered in the following categories: top leaders, under-30, marketing and advertising, and human resources. Each category features well-known professionals, including Mataharimall.com chief executive Hadi Wenas, Go-Jek Indonesia founder and chief executive Nadiem Makarim, as well as the founder and chief executive of Bubu.com, Shinta Witoyo Dhanuwardoyo. Bukalapak founder and chief executive Achmad Zaky, who is featured in the top leaders category, said he uses LinkedIn to share his perspective about the industry's future and to encourage Indonesian professionals to take their chances in improving career or business. "By doing this, I hope I can take part in helping to drive the progress of the digital industry in Indonesia, and inspire others to become global professionals and business leaders," he said. The full list can be found here.
Categories: Indonesian News

Maxx Coffee Introduces New Autumn Beverage

Jakarta Globe Business - Tue, 2017-09-19 19:19
Jakarta. Lippo-owned chain Maxx Coffee has added a new autumn beverage dubbed Apple Pie Frappe to its menu, the company said in a statement received by the Jakarta Globe on Monday (18/09). Apple Pie Frappe is a mix of sweet and sour, consisting of vanilla flavoring and caramel syrup combined with apple flavoring and topped with whipped cream and cinnamon powder. "The new seasonal drink variant shows our commitment to always innovate by introducing and using more quality products. The most important thing is to maximize our customers' craving to enjoy our best products and services," said Geoffry Samuel, the company's head of marketing. The beverage will be available at all Maxx Coffee outlets in Indonesia until October. The Jakarta Globe and Maxx Coffee are both affiliated with the Lippo Group.
Categories: Indonesian News

SOE Banks Drop Electronic Money Fees

Jakarta Globe Business - Tue, 2017-09-19 17:58
Jakarta. Four state-owned banks have decided not to impose fees for topping up electronic money accounts, yielding to their customers complaints. Bank Mandiri, Bank Negara Indonesia, Bank Rakyat Indonesia and Bank Tabungan Negara Persero, which belong to the State-Owned Banks Association (Himbara), will need to come up with other sources of funding to maintain and expand their e-money networks. "Himbara will direct further developments by utilizing technology," Bank Rakyat president director Suprajarto, said on Tuesday (19/09) as quoted by Antaranews.com. The lenders were planning to push Bank Indonesia, the central bank, which regulates payment systems, to charge between Rp 1,500 (11 US cents) and Rp 2,000 for topping up e-money. They said the fees would allow them to expand the e-money networks. The plan, however, was soon met with opposition of a consumer rights body, which thinks the fees would burden e-money users. Electronic money has gained popularity a few years ago, since public transportation companies like TransJakarta adopted it as the sole payment method. By Oct. 31, in accordance with a government regulation, all toll road services in Indonesia will rely on e-money systems, putting pressure on banks to install card readers in toll booths. "If there is a cost for [using] electronic money, it should be borne by the party that benefits from it most," Bank Mandiri director of digital banking Rico Usthavia Frans said. He added that Bank Mandiri will obey Himbara's resolution, regardless of the central bank's decision on the fees, which should be announced by the end of this month. Bank Indonesia executive director of communications Agusman said the central bank is still drafting the regulation on e-money fees to minimize possible burdens both to banks and customers. "We are reviewing the provisions, because Bl will always prioritize consumer protection," he said.
Categories: Indonesian News

President of RI Joko Widodo Appreciation of SOE Efforts in Building Community Economy in Borobudur Tempafale

Jakarta Globe Business - Tue, 2017-09-19 16:58
President of RI Joko Widodo Appreciation of SOE Efforts in Building Community Economy in Borobudur Temple President of Indonesia Joko Widodo appreciated the active role of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN) in promoting economic progress of the community through the development of Village Economic Center (Balkondes). The appreciation was conveyed by President Jokowi through a visit with SOE Minister Rini Soemarno to Balkondes BUMN in 2 villages located in Borobudur Temple Tourism Area, Yogyakarta, Monday (18/9). The Balkondes visited by the President Jokowi this time is Tuksongo and Wringinputih. Balkondes is one part of the program BUMN Present for the State initiated by the Ministry of SOEs. Meanwhile, the Minister of SOE Rini M. Soemarno revealed, the concept of establishing Balkondes which is to build a populist economy through the assistance of corporate social responsibility that supports the progress of the tourism sector. "Balkondes was established as a means of economic development of local communities through the development of UMKM activities in the surrounding environment. On one hand, there is also homestay that can be combined with local art and cultural exploration to support local tourism, "explained Rini. Currently, through the spirit of synergy SOEs Present for the country, SOEs have been able to present 16 Balkondes in 16 Villages of 20 Villages planned in Borobudur District. Balkondes built by BUMN is entirely handed over to the community as a form of corporate social concern to the people of Indonesia. On his visit at the Balkondes Tuksongo site, President Jokowi was greeted directly by the Borobudur Sub-district and had the opportunity to provide assistance in the form of coffee and clove seeds to 20 Heads of Villages in Borobudur. Balkondes Tuksongo built by Telkom Indonesia and inaugurated by Minister of SOE Rini M. Soemarno on August 20, 2017, supported by various facilities and integrated services based on digital, ranging from room automation, booking system based online tour to digital cash payment system. Balkondes Tuksongo is also equipped with digital signage and smart parking facilities. In the future, Balkondes Tuksongo is projected to become Digital Heritage Village, which is a tourist village complex that combines digital technology with the unique rural atmosphere in various cultural activities, arts, UMKM, education, and agro-tourism. On the next visit, President Jokowi visited Wringinputih built by PT. Pertamina. During the visit, the President also had the opportunity to witness the process of making Jemparing (arrow equipment) by the local community. The President was not reluctant to try the activities of archery that is available in the area of Wringin Putih. The Balkondes development in the villages around Borobudur Temple is a manifestation of SOE commitment to improve Indonesian tourism as well as developing a populist economy. It is intended to raise the potential of the region and empower the local community, so it is expected to move the economy and improve the welfare of the community through tourism activities around the Borobudur Temple. Besides being equipped with homestay facilities that allow tourists to stay and enjoy the beautiful countryside environment, Balkondes also has Joglo House facilities and a plaza with amphitheater as a stage of art and cultural performances. There is a house limasan as a display space of the work of SMEs and a small limasan house as a workshop location of the perpetrators of SMEs so that tourists who spend the night in Balkondes can directly interact and enjoy a variety of works of local SMEs and of course the local cuisine. On the same occasion, besides the President Director of Pertamina and Telkom, the President Director of BUMN-BUMN also participated in building Balkondes, among others BRI (Tanjungsari), BNI (Wanurejo), Mandiri (Kenalan), BTN (Karanganyar), PLN (Ngadiharjo), PP (Bumiharjo), Jasamarga (Majaksingi), PGN (Karangrejo), TWC (Ngaran) and Patra Jasa (Kembanglimus). Through Balkondes, SOEs are also working to improve the capacity and capabilities of local SMEs and to raise the wealth of traditional arts and culture. This is in line with the spirit of the Government to realize economic independence.
Categories: Indonesian News

Indonesia to Trace and Tax Assets Kept Hidden During Amnesty

Jakarta Globe Business - Tue, 2017-09-19 16:11
Jakarta. Indonesia's government has issued new regulations aimed at tracing and taxing the wealth of taxpayers who were not pardoned in the nine-month tax amnesty that ended in March. Around 972,000 taxpayers joined the amnesty program and declared assets worth a total of Rp 4,881 trillion ($368.07 billion). About 24 percent of that was held offshore, mostly in Singapore, and only a small percentage of it was pledged to be brought back home. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo vowed last year to implement a "tax law enforcement" program in 2017 following the amnesty. His finance minister, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, warned tax dodgers that if they did not join the amnesty, they would face "hell". But the government later acknowledged that tax amnesty declarations and the pledged repatriation of offshore assets back to Indonesia did not correspond to data it had on taxpayers' foreign holdings. In a guide to the new regulations, the government said it had also detected onshore assets that were not reported under the amnesty and had not been obtained with taxed income. "Given that condition, after the tax amnesty program ended it must be followed by law enforcement in the taxation field," it said. The regulation calls for all assets that were not reported or were misreported in the amnesty program, and which were obtained between Jan. 1, 1985 and Dec. 31, 2015, to be treated as untaxed income. The estimated value of the undeclared assets has not been made public. If the assets are found by authorities before July 1, 2019, they will be subject to a final income tax of 30 percent for individuals, 25 percent for companies, and 12.5 percent for special cases. That compares with personal income tax rates of 5-30 percent and corporate income tax rate of 20-25 percent. Indonesia does not have a wealth tax. Earlier this year, Indonesia's government granted tax authorities wider access to information on customer accounts at banks and other financial institutions. Starting next year, the tax office will also get data on Indonesian taxpayers assets kept in jurisdictions that are signatories to the OECD's Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters. Indrawati has previously said Indonesia's tax-to-GDP ratio of below 11 percent was "hard to swallow" and she was committed to raising it to 16 percent by 2019. The average tax-to-GDP ratio among OECD countries is 34.3 percent. Reuters  
Categories: Indonesian News

Deloitte Highlights Indonesia's Competitive Advantage, but Points to Underinvestment

Jakarta Globe Business - Mon, 2017-09-18 23:03
Jakarta. Indonesia, along with India and the Philippines, will rise as an economic powerhouse in the coming decades, while other Asian countries are starting to face demography-driven challenges, says a new report by global accounting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. "Our analysis shows that aging will produce some very large winners at the industry level, particularly in Asia," Deloitte Australia economist Chris Richardson said in a statement on Monday (18/09). The report titled "Demographics Under the Spotlight, by Country," which is one of three reports featured in Deloitte's third edition of Voice of Asia series, highlights challenges and business opportunities in Asia Pacific. According to the report, Indonesia's working-age adult population will remain relatively stable in decades to come. Approximately two-thirds of Indonesia's current 260 million population are working-age adults, more than in other countries in the region, like Thailand or Singapore. As working adults tend to have higher purchasing power, Indonesia offers opportunities for the tourism, entertainment, hospitality, manufacturing and education industries. Rapid urbanization and political focus on infrastructure development offer opportunities in the construction, utilities and transport sector. The report also said Indonesian manufacturers have a better competitive advantage against the Chinese. Deloitte noted that the current average daily cost of factory labor in Indonesia stands at about $9, compared with $28 in China. The report said Indonesia should capitalize this trend to promote low-cost manufacturing to attract more investors. Underinvestment and Inequality? Despite the ample workforce, according to the report, Indonesia's cities are "underinvested," lacking access to clean water, sewer system and public transportation, which holds back economic growth. The Indonesian government is targeting the economic growth of 5.2 percent this year and 5.4 percent next year. That compared with last year's 5.02 percent. As the economy will continue to grow at a high rate, Indonesia may face further income and wealth inequality. "Should assets and capital continue to be largely owned by a small elite class, the richest Indonesians are more likely to benefit disproportionately from the projected high rates of economic growth generated by the demographic dividend," the report said. Still, better access to infrastructure and education may also offset the risk of inequality. "Indonesia's relatively youthful workforce gives it a significant advantage in adapting to the technological changes that are likely to arise as digital infrastructure in Indonesia catches up with the rest of the world," the report said. Indonesia, India and the Philippines have their share in the demographic dividend, with India set to become an economic superpower. India's potential workforce is going to increase from 885 million to 1.08 billion in the next 20 years. "India will account for more than half of the increase in Asia's workforce in the coming decade," Deloitte India economist Anis Chakravarty said. According to Chakravarty, India will have more advantages, because new workers will be "much better trained and educated" than the country's existing workforce, and more women will join the employment market.
Categories: Indonesian News

Former PGN CEO Hendi Prio Santoso Appointed Semen Indonesia Chief

Jakarta Globe Business - Mon, 2017-09-18 22:09
Jakarta. Shareholders of Semen Indonesia, the country's biggest cement maker, appointed Hendi Prio Santoso as its new president director, replacing Rizkan Chandra who passed away in July, the company announced after an extraordinary general shareholders meeting on Friday (18/09). Hendi previously served as president director at state-owned gas distributor Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN), from May 2008 to May 2017. He started his professional career in 1990, at Bank Niaga and later moved to Citibank Indonesia. He also served as associate director at state-owned brokerage firm Bahana Securities in 1998, before becoming a director at asset management company Anugra Cipta Investa in 2001. In 2004, he joined JP Morgan Securities Indonesia. The company also appointed Fadjar Judisiawan as finance director, replacing Darmawan Junaidi who now serves as finance director at state-owned Bank Mandiri. Semen Indonesia, traded under the ticker SMGR, appointed Benny Wendry as production director, replacing Johan Samudra. The company also appointed Doddy Sulasmono Diniawan as business development and strategy director, replacing Budi Siswoyo, and Tri Abdisatrijo as engineering and project director, replacing Aunur Rosyidi. The full list of Semen Indonesia executives is as follows: President director: Hendi Prio Santoso (new) Finance director: Fadjar Judisiawan (new) Marketing and supply chain director: Ahyanizzaman Production director: Benny Wendry (new) Business development and strategy director: Doddy Sulasmono Diniawan (new) Engineering and project director: Tri Abdisatrijo (new) Human resources and law director: Agung Yunanto
Categories: Indonesian News

Ongki Kurniawan Appointed Managing Director at GrabPay Indonesia

Jakarta Globe Business - Mon, 2017-09-18 20:17
Jakarta. Online ride-hailing service Grab appointed Ongki Kurniawan as managing director in Indonesia for its online payment system GrabPay, the company announced on Monday (18/09). "We are excited to have Ongki grow GrabPay in Indonesia and accelerate financial inclusion for Indonesians. The unique nature and size of Indonesia requires world-class expertise and we are convinced Ongki's experience spanning telco, payments, social media and commerce will add invaluable depth and strong local leadership to our Indonesia team," GrabPay head Jason Thompson said in a statement on Monday. He added that Ongki's deep understanding of the national market will help transform GrabPay into Indonesia's most relevant and widely used mobile payments platform. "I share the same passion as Grab in helping Indonesians benefit from the digital economy through innovations made here in Indonesia. GrabPay‟s vision to bring everyone into the digital economy – from the emerging middle class to small businesses across the country – is one that will help make Indonesia Southeast Asia's largest digital economy, and I look forward to being a part of that journey," Ongki Kurniawan said. Ongki will work alongside local engineers at Grab's research and development center in Jakarta, as well as expand the company's network with partners to develop payment solutions for Grab Indonesia's consumers and merchants. Ongki previously served as managing director of LINE Indonesia, a local arm of Japan's Line Corporation. He also served as chief digital officer at XL Axiata, Indonesia's second largest mobile telecommunications operator. Ongki holds a bachelor's degree from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in electrical engineering and a master's degree in finance and accounting from Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Earlier this year, Grab made a commitment to invest $700 million in Indonesia by 2020 to expand its business in the Southeast Asia's largest economy. Grab also aims to develop five million micro-entrepreneurs in Indonesia by 2018 and to expand the number of local engineers and technical assistants hired by Grab. The company will also invest more than $100 million in companies that focus on strengthening financial inclusion for lower- and middle-class residents. The company will focus on expanding its mobile and financial services sector, especially to serve smaller cities in Indonesia which have yet to enjoy the benefit of the digital economy. The fund will also help entrepreneurs market their products with capital investments and technical assistance from Grab. Meanwhile, Grab also acquired Kudo, an online to offline payment platform in May this year for an undisclosed amount to improve Grab's e-payment service. The Jakarta Globe and Grab are both affiliated with the Lippo Group.
Categories: Indonesian News

Garuda to Start Direct Jakarta-London Flights on Oct. 31

Jakarta Globe Business - Mon, 2017-09-18 19:31
Jakarta. Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia announced on Friday (15/09) that it will start direct flights between Jakarta and London next month. The new nonstop flights to London's Heathrow Airport, available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, will commence on Oct. 31, cutting out the current stopover in Singapore. The state-controlled airline said in a statement that it will use the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft currently used on the Jakarta-Singapore-London route, offering economy, business and first-class seats. Garuda president director Pahala N. Mansury said the direct Jakarta-London route has been the airline's top priority ever since it resumed flights to Britain in March last year. The airline is using the newly built Terminal 3 at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport as a hub for international and domestic flights. Pahasa said the airline decided to start offering direct flights to satisfy rising demand, and to allow travelers from Britain to enjoy better connectivity to other destinations in the Asia-Pacific region. Towards this end, Garuda Indonesia has amended flight timings to allow passengers from Britain to access flights to destinations such as Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. The airline said in the statement that first-class customers on the upcoming flights will enjoy various premium services, including "Inflight Connectivity" (inflight internet services), "Live TV," and "Chef on Board" to make the long-distance flights more enjoyable.
Categories: Indonesian News

Matahari Putra Prima Appoints Travis Saucer as Interim CEO

Jakarta Globe Business - Mon, 2017-09-18 16:55
Jakarta. Indonesian listed retailer Matahari Putra Prima, or MPP, appointed William Travis Saucer as its new interim chief executive to replace Noel Trinder, the company announced on Monday (18/09). Saucer, who will serve as MPP's chief executive for the next 12 months, was appointed Matahari Department Store's chief executive and president. He started his professional career in 1973, working for US department store J.C. Penney and Saks Fifth Avenue. Saucer also previously served as chief executive for military footwear company McRae. Under Saucer's leadership, the management at MPP will focus on strengthening its customer value propositions, innovation and increasing operational efficiency, while continuing to empower its strong team of local and expatriate workers. MPP's board of directors is currently seeking a candidate to serve as the company's long-term chief executive. Meanwhile, Noel Trinder, who has been with MPP for more than 10 years, will continue to serve as Lippo Group's head of consumer retail. Trinder joined MPP in 2003 as its chief executive. MPP is one of Indonesia's largest multi-format retailers and operates more than 289 stores across the archipelago and employs more than 12,700 staff and store associates. In the last 12 years, Matahari's compound annual growth grew 37 percent. The company partnered with 3,168 suppliers and serves more than 15 million Indonesians each year. The Jakarta Globe is affiliated with MPP through the Lippo Group.
Categories: Indonesian News

Consumer Group Opposes C. Bank's Plan to Charge Extra Fees on Cashless Top-Ups

Jakarta Globe Business - Mon, 2017-09-18 15:08
Jakarta. Bank Indonesia's plan to allow lenders to charge top-up fees on electronic money systems was met with criticism from the Indonesian Consumer Protection Foundation, or YLKI, which argued that extra fees would burden low-income customers. Electronic money systems have risen in popularity in the country over the past few years, in large part due to the central bank's efforts to promote cashless transactions. Most commuters in Jakarta now use plastic cards to pay fees to use public transportation like Transjakarta and commuter trains. Local banks, however, said their investments in cashless systems have yet to yield significant returns and previously urged Bank Indonesia to issue a regulation that would allow them to make money whenever customers increase their e-money balance. YLKI was quick to voice opposition to the proposed regulation. "A cashless society is in line with the digital economic phenomenon. But it would be counter-productive if Bank Indonesia releases a regulation to charge consumers for topping up their electronic money [balance]," Tulus Abadi, YLKI's managing director, said in a statement over the weekend. Tulus said customers pay fees to start using e-money systems and that banks do not have to pay interest on customers' balances. It would be "unfair and inappropiate," Tulu continued, to force customers to pay extra fees each time they top up their balances. "Banks' profits should be based on circulating capital by giving loans, not by taking a fee from penny transactions," he said. "Imposing fees for top-ups are only tolerable if consumers are using a different bank for another bank's electronic money," Tulus said. "Otherwise, no way!" Bank Indonesia Governor Agus D.W. Martowardojo previously said the regulation will be officially introduced by the end of September and which will set a maximum fee for topping up electronic money balances. Electronic money will become more critical in day-to-day activities in the country following the government's decision to only allow access to toll roads via e-payment solutions, which will become effective on Oct. 31. As of July, 69.45 million e-money accounts were registered in the country, up nearly 36 percent compared to the number of accounts registered in Indonesia at the end of 2016. According to Agus, as quoted by state-run news outlet Antara, banks need to charge extra fees to invest in infrastructure projects, provide automatic booths and pay workers' wages to sell electronic money systems.
Categories: Indonesian News

Soekarno-Hatta Skytrain Starts Limited Operations

Jakarta Globe Business - Mon, 2017-09-18 15:07
Jakarta. State-controlled airport operator Angkasa Pura II has commenced limited operations of the new skytrain service at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, on Sunday (17/09) as part of efforts to ease travel between terminals at Indonesia's busiest airport. During the first phase, the service will operate three times daily – from 7.00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m.; 12.00 p.m. to 2.00 p.m.; and 5.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. – to transfer passengers between Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. AP II plans to start full-time services between the airport's three terminals in December. The $70 million skytrain missed its June target for the first-phase launch, but AP II president director Muhammad Awaluddin gave assurances that the second phase will commence on schedule. "Soekarno-Hatta Airport is the window to Indonesia. So, it is imperative to show that this airport [...] can also function well like other leading airports," Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said during the inauguration on Sunday. Skytrax, a United Kingdom-based consultancy that runs an airline and airport review and ranking site, improved Soekarno-Hatta's ranking to 44th place in its 2017 best airport list, from 63rd place last year. Budi expressed hope that the sky train service would further improve the airport's ranking to the top 20 next year. Awaluddin said use of the skytrain service is free of charge to all passengers. There will be 5-minute intervals between trains. The airport issued a free porter service policy for all domestic and international passengers last month to improve the airport's hospitality standard. Soekarno-Hatta Airport served 12.5 million people – or about a quarter of the total air travelers in Indonesia – between January and July this year, up 5.9 percent from the same period last year. With the completion of the skytrain, the airport will be able to serve 65 million passengers annually.
Categories: Indonesian News

Bolt Offers First Prepaid Unlimited Internet Service in Indonesia

Jakarta Globe Business - Mon, 2017-09-18 13:08
Jakarta. Indonesian 4G mobile network service provider Bolt launched its first prepaid unlimited Internet service on Sept. 4. The service is the first prepaid Internet package that offers unlimited data usage in the country. "This first prepaid unlimited service is a proof of our commitment to give the best and better service for our customers," Billy Abe, chief product officer at Bolt, said in a statement on Friday (15/09). Packages for three-day unlimited data costs Rp 49,000 ($3.70), while the 10-day package is priced at Rp 139,000 and a similar 30-day package runs at Rp 399,000. The packages are available around the clock and provide maximum upload speeds of up to 2 Mbps and download speeds of up to 8 Mbps. Bolt! and the Jakarta Globe are both affiliated with the Lippo Group.
Categories: Indonesian News

UN court acquits Serb ultranationalist Seselj of all counts

Jakarta Post Latest News - Fri, 2016-04-01 04:29

A man walks past posters depicting Vojislav Seselj, the leader of the ultra-nationalist Serbian Radical Party (SRS), reading: "We don't want into EU", in Belgrade, Serbia, Dec. 7, 2011. (AP/Darko Vojinovic)

In a sweeping defeat for UN prosecutors, the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal acquitted Serbian ultranationalist Vojislav Seselj on Thursday of all nine counts alleging that he was responsible for or incited atrocities by Serbian paramilitaries in the 1990s Balkan wars. The ruling sparked joy in Serbia and outrage in Bosnia and Croatia.

Prosecutors had charged Seselj, 61, with crimes including persecution, murder and torture and had demanded a 28-year sentence. But in a majority decision, the three-judge panel said there was insufficient evidence linking the politician himself to the crimes.

"Following this verdict, Vojislav Seselj is now a free man," Presiding Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti said at a hearing in The Hague, which Seselj did not attend.

At a Belgrade news conference shortly after his acquittal, Seselj, who defended himself throughout his trial and did not call a single defense witness, said the decision was "the only possible one from the legal aspect."

"After so many proceedings in which innocent Serbs were given draconian punishments, this time two honest judges showed they valued honor more than political pressure," he said.

The court's chief prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, questioned a number of key findings by two of the three trial judges. He almost certainly will appeal, but said Thursday he first has to study the 100-page ruling and its dissenting opinions.

In a majority ruling, the three-judge panel ruled that Serbian plans to carve out a "Greater Serbia" by uniting lands they considered Serb territory in Croatia and Bosnia was a "political goal" and not a criminal plan, as prosecutors alleged. The plan often was accompanied by military campaigns that drove out thousands of non-Serb civilians and left thousands of others dead.

Antonetti, the judge, distanced Seselj from the crimes of the paramilitaries he helped to establish, saying that although Seselj, "may have had a certain amount of moral authority over his party's volunteers, they were not his subordinates" when they went into combat.

Brammertz, the prosecutor, pointed to the ruling's controversial findings, including that there was not a widespread attack by Serb forces on civilians in Bosnia and Croatia, and that operations to bus non-Serbs out of areas claimed by Serbs as part of a "Greater Serbia" amounted to a humanitarian mission rather than the forcible removal of the population.

"The reading of the conflict by the trial chamber is very, very different to what we are used to," he told reporters at the court, adding that the marathon case was beset by allegations of interference with witnesses and evidence.

The acquittal stunned many Bosnians.

"An absolutely shocking decision," said lawyer and publicist Senad Pecanin. "This is the lowest point of The Hague tribunal."

Ismar Jamakovic, 23, a student of political science from Sarajevo, said judges ruled that "advocating the creation of Greater Serbia was a political and not a criminal act. Does this mean I can now advocate the creation of an Islamic State without facing any consequences? You've got to be kidding me."

The ruling also triggered outrage in Croatia, with media headlines declaring "Shame on The Hague, the notorious warmonger is free" by the Jutarnji List newspaper.

Russian state television covered the Seselj verdict extensively, spinning it as a triumph of justice.

Dmitry Rogozin, a Russian nationalist politician turned deputy prime minister, welcomed Seselj's acquittal. Rogozin met Seselj during his trip to Belgrade in January. He said at the time that was a private visit and that he had known Seselj since the 1990s.

"I congratulate my friend on his victory!" Rogozin said on Twitter. "But who is going to restore his health that was battered by the time in prison and public humiliation?"

Seselj's return to Belgrade in late 2014, when the tribunal released him on humanitarian grounds due to his ill health, only boosted his popularity among the ultranationalists.

With a surge in pro-Russian and right-wing sentiments ahead of Serbia's April 24 general election, Seselj's Serbian Radical Party has a good chance to return to parliament after missing out after the last vote two years ago.

Seselj has campaigned on the platform that Serbia must never enter the 28-nation European Union or NATO and should forge closer ties with Moscow. He has burned EU flags during pre-election rallies, and said he would join a coalition government with the incumbent populists, his former allies, only if they give up their goal of EU accession.

The acquittal has given Seselj an additional boost ahead of the vote. He also said he filed a lawsuit in 2012 against the UN court demanding 12 million euros in compensation and could now add 2 million euros more to his demand.

He said he expects to win 20-25 percent of the vote for his far-right radicals.

"The most important is that we get more than the progressives," he said, referring to the ruling Serbian Progressive Party, his former allies-turned-foes.

Natasa Kandic, a human rights activist in Serbia, said the acquittal would likely be overturned on appeal.

"Some of the explanations are contrary to sane logic," she said.

____

Associated Press writers Jovana Gec in Belgrade, Aida Cerkez in Sarajevo and Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow contributed to this report.

Categories: Indonesian News

21 killed, many trapped in overpass collapse in India

Jakarta Post Latest News - Fri, 2016-04-01 04:29

Locals and rescue workers clear the rubbles of a partially collapsed overpass in Kolkata, Thursday. (Swapan Mahapatra/Press Trust of India via AP)

A long section of a road overpass under construction collapsed Thursday in a crowded Kolkata neighborhood, with tons of concrete and steel slamming into midday traffic, leaving at least 21 people dead and scores of others injured in the Indian city, police said.

Rescuers used saws, small cranes and their bare hands to dig through the wreckage in search of survivors.

At least 21 people were killed, a police official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. It was not immediately clear how many people remained missing.

Yogesh Sharma was sitting at a small roadside tea stand with friends when the overpass, which spanned nearly the width of the city street and was designed to ease traffic through the densely crowded neighborhood, "came down with a huge crashing sound."

"I left my cup of tea and ran," said Sharma, a 23-year-old resident of the Bara Bazaar neighborhood. "I was crying at the spot."

Smashed yellow taxis, destroyed rickshaws and the bloody legs of trapped people jutted from the collapsed girders and concrete slabs.

The fallen sections of the overpass totaled perhaps 100 meters (yards), with many other parts still standing. Mamta Banerjee, the top elected official of West Bengal state, said a private builder had missed several deadlines for completing the construction.

Army troops and personnel from the National Disaster Response Force joined efforts to extract people from vehicles that lay under massive concrete blocks and metal debris. Huge cranes and other rescue equipment reached the site and began clearing the rubble. Workers also used gas cutters to pry open the slabs.

O.P. Singh, the chief of the disaster response force, said the operation was a "very, very challenging task."

Rescuers were using sniffer dogs and special cameras to find trapped people, Singh told reporters.

More than 70 injured people were admitted to two hospitals in Kolkata, the state capital, hospital officials said.

"The area was very, very crowded. Motorized rickshaws, taxis ... there was a lot of traffic," one witness told NDTV television.

The contract for the overpass was signed in 2007 and it was expected to be completed in two years. Banerjee accused the previous Communist government in West Bengal of not adhering to building regulations.

"We completed nearly 70 percent of the construction work without any mishap," said K.P Rao, a top official of IVRCL Infrastructure company, which was building the overpass. "We have to go into the details to find out whether the collapse was due to any technical or quality issue."

"It was a total act of God,'" said his colleague, Dilip, who uses one name.

Building collapses are common in India, where regulations are poorly enforced and builders often use substandard materials.

Categories: Indonesian News

Group says 98 girls in C. African Republic sexually abused

Jakarta Post Latest News - Fri, 2016-04-01 04:29

UN peacekeeping soldiers patrol the streets on the occasion of Pope Francis' visit at a refugee camp, in Bangui, Central African Republic, Dec. 13, 2015. (AP/Andrew Medichini)

A US-based advocacy group says 98 girls in Central African Republic reported they were sexually abused by international peacekeepers, and three girls told UN staff they were tied up, undressed and forced to have sex with a dog by a French military commander in 2014.

AIDS-Free World's Code Blue Campaign to end sexual abuse and exploitation said the three girls told a UN human rights officer that a fourth girl tied up with them later died of an unknown disease.

The group said the information it received, including the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl in another part of the country on Monday, is in the hands of senior UN officials.

The UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, in a statement Thursday called the allegations "sickening" and said all three countries whose peacekeepers are accused have been formally notified. He said countries must do more to stop abuse and hold their troops accountable, "otherwise this awful cycle of abuse will never end."

There was no immediate comment from French authorities.

The United Nations has been in the spotlight for months over allegations of child rape and other sexual abuses by its peacekeepers, especially those based in Central African Republic. There have been similar allegations against the French force known as Sangaris, which operates independently in Central African Republic, known as CAR.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said last week that a UN team was sent to gather information about recently reported allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by UN and non-UN forces as well as civilians in Kemo prefecture, east of the capital Bangui, in 2014 and 2015.

Dujarric said in a note to correspondents Wednesday evening that the new allegations went back to 2013 and included allegations against local armed groups. He said a UN team is on the ground and the exact number and nature of "these extremely troubling allegations" is still being determined.

The team has identified the alleged involvement of UN contingents from Burundi and Gabon, which will remain confined to camps during the investigation, Dujarric said. Allegations against French forces in the same area are also being investigated, he said.

The UN recently reported that 25 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation were registered with the UN mission in Central African Republic in January and February, most from previous years. This compares with a total of six allegations in the 15 other UN peacekeeping missions in the first two months of this year, the UN peacekeeping department said.

A UN report earlier this month said there were 69 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers in 2015 — 22 of them in CAR.

Central African Republic has been rocked by sectarian violence since 2013.

AIDS-Free World called the information it received "shocking." Two weeks ago, it said, the UN children's agency UNICEF interviewed 98 girls who reported being sexually abused.

The group said that Saturday a delegation from the UN peacekeeping mission known as MINUSCA met local leaders and victims who alleged that troops from France and Gabon had sexually abused girls. Some victims left the area because they were stigmatized by the community, it said.

During the delegation's visit, AIDS-Free World said the three girls reported being tied up inside a camp by the French military commander. After having sex with the dog, the group said, each girl was given 5,000 Central African Francs, or about US$9.

One girl told the UN human rights officer that the fourth girl who later died "was called 'the Sangaris' dog' by people in the community."

AIDS-Free World also said the mother of a 16-year-old girl informed local police in another part of CAR that a Congolese UN peacekeeper raped her daughter in a hotel room Monday afternoon.

The group said that when the soldier was questioned by police in the presence of his commander he confirmed that he "had sexual intercourse" with the victim several times and paid her between 2,000 and 5,000 Central African Francs.

___

Associated Press writer Sylvie Corbet in Paris contributed.

Categories: Indonesian News

Indonesia rejects Israel's latest call for bilateral relations

Jakarta Post Latest News - Fri, 2016-04-01 04:29

Israeli Arab Bedouin children play before a rally marking the 40th anniversary of Land Day and against a plan to uproot the village of Umm Al-Hiran, in Umm Al-Hiran, the Negev desert, southern Israel on Wednesday. Land Day commemorates the killing of six Arab citizens of Israel by the Israeli army and police on March 30, 1976, during protests over Israeli confiscations of Arab land.(AP/Ariel Schalit)

Indonesia will stand firm in its support of an independent Palestine and will not respond to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu most recent call for official bilateral relations, an official said on Thursday.

"We want to assert that Indonesia's support and efforts to push for the independence of Palestine will not change," Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said on Thursday as quoted by kompas.com.

He also expressed disappointment that several senior Indonesian journalists had recently visited Israel, after being invited by Netanyahu, who said that he wanted to change public opinion about Israel.

During the meeting, the prime minister expressed his hopes that Indonesia and Israel would initiate official relations, saying that both countries had many opportunities to cooperate.

The ministry was aware that the Middle Eastern country had conducted similar activities in the past to promote its tourist and business sectors.

"We regret that such activities are politicized by Israel," he said.

Tantowi Yahya, a lawmaker from the House of Representatives commission I overseeing foreign and security affairs, said Indonesia's support of Palestine was in accordance with the Constitution, which asserts that independence is the natural right of every nation. (liz/rin)

Categories: Indonesian News

Harvard taking more steps to acknowledge its ties to slavery

Jakarta Post Latest News - Fri, 2016-04-01 04:29

A bicyclist walks by Harvard University's Langdell Hall, which includes Harvard Law School's library, in Cambridge, Mass., Aug. 1, 2005. (AP/Charles Krupa)

Harvard's president says the Ivy league university will do more to acknowledge its ties to slavery.

University President Drew Faust announced Wednesday in an op-ed in the student newspaper that the nearly 400-year-old institution will install a plaque next month at the former home for college presidents to recognize the slaves who lived and worked there. Slavery was abolished in Massachusetts in 1783.

She's also convened a committee to recommend other campus sites warranting similar recognition and says Harvard will host a conference on universities and slavery next year.

Faust said in her op-ed that Harvard, like many New England institutions, was "directly complicit in America's system of racial bondage" but has rarely acknowledged it.

The announcement comes as Harvard has taken steps to remove university symbols and references that harken to the slave era.

Categories: Indonesian News

Papua will continue to use noken voting system: KPU

Jakarta Post Latest News - Fri, 2016-04-01 04:29

In focus: A photojournalist takes his place in front of a screen showing an election-related violence index compiled by the election supervisory agency (Bawaslu) ahead of the simultaneous local elections on Dec. 9. General Elections Commission (KPU) chairman Husni Kamil Manik said the noken voting system would be still used in the 2017 regional elections in Papua. (thejakartapost.com/DON)

The noken voting system will be still used in regional elections in Papua, as the social custom of the Papuan people, which has been passed across generations, has many good values, an election official has said.

General Elections Commission (KPU) chairman Husni Kamil Manik said that as a gauge of public opinion in Papuan culture, noken could not be totally removed from either regional head elections or general elections.

“Several values in the noken system are in line with general election principles, but some other values are not yet in accordance with election principles, so we need to alter how they are implemented,” he said in Jayapura on Tuesday.

Giving an example, Kamil said the noken system adopted Indonesia’s widespread “musyawarah untuk mufakat” (deliberation for consensus) style of decision-making. In a general election under the noken system, there is also a campaign period, during which a candidate conveys his or her vision and mission to all constituents. The constituents are also be given time to analyze the candidate and deliberate until consensus is reached, he added.

However, Kamil further said, that the noken system did not protect voters’ right to confidentiality, which was not in line with Indonesia’s principle of direct, public and free elections. Under the noken system, the choices of voters can be seen by all people present at a voting station.

“This could potentially trigger political resentment because a candidate will be fully aware who chose him or her and who did not support him or her,” said Kamil.

Under such conditions, the KPU chairman said, the Provincial General Elections Commission (KPUD) must alter the practice so that it maintained voter confidentiality.

“Until now, [voting takes place via] a noken [traditional Papuan bag] with the name of a chosen candidate attached to it. As the result, everybody knows ‘who chooses who’,” said Kamil.

“There should be a new method. We can still use a noken but we put it in a booth so that the confidentiality of our choice is maintained. The noken will be put into a ballot box before they are counted,” he said.

To adjust the noken system so that it complies with Indonesia’s direct, public and free election principles, Kamil said, all KPUD officials in areas still using the noken system must start a dialogue with the public about the positives and negatives of the noken voting system.

“One thing that they must tell the public is that it is important for a voter to be able to cast his or her vote directly. Although there has been an agreement that they must choose a certain candidate, they should still be allowed to participate in the voting process directly, and not be represented by others as has happened under the noken system until now” said Kamil.

KPUD Papua chairman Adam Arisoi said 11 regencies and municipalities would participate in regional elections in Papua in 2017. Of the total, six regencies, namely Dogiyai, Nduga, Lanny Jaya, Puncak, Puncak Jaya and Tolikara, would still use the noken system.

“However, not all polling stations in the six regencies will apply the noken system. Only some of them will use it and the remainder will allow for vote-casting in line with nationally-adopted direct, public and free election principles,” said Adam.

He further said that in the 2017 regional elections, tribal chiefs would no longer represent their tribes in casting votes. All voters will cast their votes directly.

KPUD Puncak Jaya chairman Jennifer Darling Tabuni said the noken system would be used at only eight locations. “Voters in other areas of the regency will cast their vote in line with the direct, public and free election principles,” he said. (ebf)

 

 

Categories: Indonesian News

Papua bans alcohol consumption

Jakarta Post Latest News - Fri, 2016-04-01 04:29

Members of the Navy's elite frogmen command (Kopaska) and Sea Security Force from Western Fleet Quick Response IV check the cargo of KM Kawal Bahari 1 and KM Kharisma Indah at the Lantamal IV Port at Tanjung Pinang, Riau Islands on March 20. The two boats were arrested when sailing from Singapore and hiding 500 sacks of sugar, 1,000 sacks of rice, 50 boxes of cigarettes, 4,000 cases of alcohol and several other types of goods.(Antara/M. N Kanwa)

Alcohol distribution and production are officially prohibited in Papua province starting Thursday to save Papuans from the disastrous effects of alcohol consumption, the Papua governor has said.

The prohibition came into effect with the signing of an integrity pact on Thursday. The document was signed by Governor Lukas Enembe, regents and mayors in Papua, the Papua Provincial Council (DPRD), Papua Police, military command and district court chiefs during a coordinating meeting.

The integrity pact would support the existing 2013 Provincial Regulations on alcohol prohibition to prevent alcohol distribution in Indonesia's easternmost province, Enembe said.

Several regional leaders expressed their support of the integrity pact, saying that alcohol had only brought issues such as domestic violence to Papua.

"Alcohol destroys Papuans. It could be the cause of their extinction," Enembe said on Thursday.

The integrity pact consists of several points, including prohibition of the production, distribution and sale of alcohol, cooperation with relevant offices in monitoring alcohol prohibition and implementation the 2013 Provincial Regulations.

Fien Yarangga, an activist from group Papuan Women (Perempuan Papua), applauded the provincial administration’s move, saying that it showed that local officials cared about the issues.

"Women are most often the victims of alcohol consumption. They fall victim to domestic violence triggered by alcohol," Fien said.

The group is currently assisting three victims of alcohol-related violence. One of them is the wife of a Jayapura public official who was tortured by her drunk husband. The two other women were raped by drunk men.

The group urged the provincial administration to promote the regulation and integrity pact among the public to raise awareness.

According to Papua Police data, 86 people have died, 264 have been heavily injured and 839 suffered light injuries since 2013 in alcohol-related cases. (rin)

Categories: Indonesian News
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