Indonesian News

Tribute concert for David Bowie to be streamed live

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 12:29

A graffiti mural depicting David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust is seen on a wall in Brixton, London. Since Bowie’s death, the mural has become a shrine in memory of the musician.(Shutterstock.com/chrisdorney)

A tribute concert to the late rock star David Bowie, set to take place on April 1 at Carnegie Hall in New York, will be live streamed on Skype.

The concert, dubbed The Music of David Bowie, was announced only two hours prior to his death on Jan. 10, resulting in sold-out tickets for the show as well as a second event at Radio City Music Hall. Tickets reportedly start at US$300.

Up to 18 artists have confirmed they will perform at the concert, which has turned into a celebration of Bowie's musical legacy, including The Flaming Lips, Mumford & Sons, Blondie, the Pixies, Perry Farrell and The Roots.

For those interested in watching the show live, a minimum $20 donation to charity is required in order to get the streaming link.

Bowie kept a low profile after reportedly suffering a heart attack in the 2000s, the Associated Press reported. He made a moody album three years ago called The Next Day — his first recording in a decade, which was produced in secret in New York City. Blackstar, which earned positive reviews from critics, represented yet another stylistic shift, as Bowie gathered jazz players to collaborate with him. (kes)(+)

Categories: Indonesian News

Artistic makeover

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 12:29

Artists paint murals on a wall along the Code River in Yogyakarta on Wednesday. Art communities in the city also organize art performances and have taken it upon themselves to clean up areas along the river.(JP/Tarko Sudiarno)

Categories: Indonesian News

Russian tourist detained for plan to burn RI flag after bad trip

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 11:00

The Langkat Military Command (Kodim) has detained a Russian tourist, Mickael Chervikov, for attempting to burn the Indonesian flag during a visit to Bukit Lawang tourist village on the eastern side of Mount Leuser National Park in North Sumatra.

Kodim commander Lt. Col. Roy Hansen J. Sinaga said the tourist was unhappy with the services provided by a tour guide, Man, during his trip to see orangutans at a sanctuary near Bukit Lawang.

Together with his mother and several other tourists, Chervikov went on a trek on Monday.

On Tuesday, he went to the office of the Indonesian Tour Guides Association (HPI) in Bukit Lawang to complain about his unpleasant experience, saying Man did not give him enough time to see orangutans or enjoy the scenery in the national park.

When he arrived at the HPI office, Chervikov remove a red-and-white flag from a flagpole.

“He was angry; he then bought gasoline from outside the HPI office to use to burn the flag,” Roy told The Jakarta Post.

Before he had a chance to burn the flag, however, village supervisory non-commissioned officers (Babinsa), who were not far from the site of incident, confiscated the flag and the gasoline, Roy said.

Babinsa officer Second Sgt. Edi Sulianto took Chervikov to the Bahorok Police office for questioning, along with the evidence.

“The police are in charge of this matter, and they are the ones that have the authority to continue all legal processes needed,” Roy said.

North Sumatra Police spokesperson Adj. Sr. Comr. MP Nainggolan said the police had detained Chervikov on Tuesday and questioned him on Wednesday.

Langkat Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Dwi Asmoro said that after thorough consideration, Chervikov’s act could not be categorized as an insult to the country. “There were not enough criminal elements to charge him. We will hand over the case to the Medan Immigration Office,” Dwi said.

According to the law on the national flag, language, state emblems and national anthem, anyone who damages, rips, burns or conducts other acts with the intention to insult or undermine the national flag could be sentenced to five years in prison or pay a maximum Rp 500 million in damages.

The national park covers an area of 800,000 hectares, straddling the border of North Sumatra and Aceh provinces. It is home to some 4,000 animal species, many of which are protected, such as Sumatran tigers, orangutans, elephants and rhinoceroses, which are targeted by poachers.

The local forestry and horticulture agency estimated the population of Sumatran tigers in the park to be around 400 or 500, while there are believed to be 2,000 Sumatran elephants, 230 rhinos and 6,624 orangutans.

Separately, Oscar-winning actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio also visited the park recently, accompanied by fellow actors Adrien Brody and Fisher Stevens.

They took a tour around a research facility in Ketambe, Southeast Aceh regency. During their visit, they met three Sumatran orangutans and observed the animals’ behavior.

Categories: Indonesian News

TNI in touch with Philippines over hostage crisis

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 11:00

The Indonesian Military (TNI) has communicated with its Philippine counterpart to collect information on the militant group that is holding 10 Indonesian sailors hostage.

Two Indonesian-flagged vessels, Brahma 12 and Anand 12, which were manned by a total of 10 crewmen and carrying a combined 7,000 tons of coal, were hijacked by members of hard-line Islamist group Abu Sayyaf in Philippine waters near Borneo Island.

The boats departed for Batangas in South Philippines from the Puting river in South Kalimantan.

The company that owns the boats, Patria Maritime Lines, is still trying to negotiate the release of the crew from the captors, who have asked for a ransom of 50 million pesos (US$1.08 million) and set a five-day deadline for payment, beginning on March 26.

Earlier reports suggested the hostages had been taken to the Philippines’ province of Sulu.

TNI chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo said on Wednesday that the militant group consisted of several factions, and his recent communication with Philippine military chief Hernando Irebarri was focused on finding out which faction had abducted the sailors.

Gatot said his office had not decided whether launch a joint military operation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to search for the hostages, adding that information about the faction responsible would determine their response.

“We will provide whatever assistance [the AFP] needs. We are waiting for information from the Philippine military and will exchange [useful] information [to help it locate the group] ,” Gatot told journalists at the TNI headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta.

He dismissed reports that the TNI has been building up its forces in Tarakan, North Kalimantan, following the kidnapping.

“Since it is inside Philippine’s territory, it is the Philippine Navy that has the authority to conduct a rescue operation,” he said.

Gatot also said the military would not take any action before it received news from the Foreign Ministry, which is leading negotiations with the hijackers.

Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir has previously said the ministry was unable to give comment, including providing information about possible means to rescue the hostages. Due to the sensitivity of the issue, he added, any misleading information might put the lives of the men at stake.

Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, the Foreign Ministry’s director for the protection of Indonesian nationals and entities abroad, said the Indonesian government had consulted with all relevant parties in order to step up its efforts to release the hostages.

Charlos Barahama and Sofitje Salemwuring, the parents of boat captain, Peter Tonsen Barahama, publicly expressed their worries after learning that their son was captured by the terrorist group, which has pledged allegiance with the Islamic State (IS) movement in Syria.

“We are sure Peter will be freed soon. All things happen under God’s watch and God must help release him,” Charlos said.

Badrus Sholeh, an international relations expert from Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University said Manila should open the door for other countries to become involved in handling the release operation.

“Given the fact that Abu Sayyaf has pledged alliance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the abduction is not Manila’s domestic problem anymore,” he said. (mos)
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Categories: Indonesian News

PDI-P on track to reinstate GBHN

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 11:00

New alliances: Former president and chairwoman of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) Megawati Soekarnoputri (right) shakes hands with senior Golkar Party politician Akbar Tanjung (left) while People’s Consultative Assembly chairman Zulkifli Hasan (second right) and Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie look on during the opening ceremony of a convention on State Policy Guidelines (GBHN) in Jakarta on Wednesday.(JP/DON)

A proposal from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) to restore the authority of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) to set the direction for the government and the objectives of the state has won support from political groups.

The government’s direction and the state’s objectives for the next five years could be incorporated in the presently defunct State Policy Guidelines (GBHN), which the PDI-P has demanded reinstating.

PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri said on Wednesday that the MPR, a powerful legislative institution under the New Order regime, should have its power returned so the country had a reference point to determine what to do and where to go in the long term.

“It’s time to rethink the country’s development plan [...] In the Reform Era, liberalization has been a distraction from the country’s principles. The practice of democracy, then, drastically changed. The state now has no clear direction,” Megawati said.

The country’s lack of guidelines, she claimed, could be seen in the exploitation of natural resources, the increasing poverty rate and a lack of recognition for local wisdom.

Megawati proposed the idea during a PDI-P national working meeting held in Jakarta in January.

The eldest daughter of founding president Sukarno and the fifth president of the country learned the concept from her father. However, it was Sukarno’s successor, Soeharto, who made the idea a reality in 1969.

Under Soeharto, the GBHN were passed by the MPR and implemented by the president. Thus, all regions had to follow the guidelines. Regional autonomy was not as strong as nowadays and regions’ ability to explore innovation remained weak.

In the post-Soeharto era, the MPR could threaten to use the GBHN to impeach a president who did not effectively implement development policy, as the president was held responsible by the Assembly.

A Constitutional amendment in 2001 removed the MPR’s status as the highest state institution and axed the GBHN altogether.

Indonesia’s development has since followed the National Long-Term Development Plan (RPJP) and National Mid-Term Development Plan (RPJM), deliberated and approved by both the executive and legislative powers. Consequently, there are no longer clear sanctions if a president does not work in line with his or her development plan.

The PDI-P could reinstate the GBHN through a fifth Constitutional amendment, which Megawati said would be a limited amendment. It would add to the MPR’s authority to pass the national development policy outline, as outlined in the Constitution.

MPR Speaker Zulkifli Hasan of the National Mandate Party (PAN) said all factions had agreed to re-establish the state guidelines, except the Democratic Party.

“Ten factions and regional representatives in the MPR agree that the GBHN is important for the country, but the Democratic Party has yet to reveal its stance on it,” Zulkifli said.

To create a comprehensive basis for the guidelines, Zulkifli said the MPR would seek advice and recommendations from academics, government institutions and constitutional law experts.

If the new concept of the GBHN is passed, it will likely come into effect for the MPR’s 2020-2024 period.

“We will make sure that the GBHN will not restrict the president’s authority. It will only guide what the president should do to ensure sustainable development for the country, in line with campaign promises,” Zulkifli said.

Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie agreed that Indonesia needed a long-term development plan set by the MPR based on recommendations from the public, so the government did not have to seek advice from foreign financial experts who could discredit the country.

“Such guidelines are important, so the president can’t arbitrarily change the long-term plan,” Aburizal said.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party is of the opinion that the current long-term and mid-term plans are more effective, measurable and accountable than the GBHN, because they are made and implemented by the same person.

“We need an in-depth review and consideration before deciding to reinstate the GBHN, including whether it will become a more comprehensive guideline than the RPJM,” party deputy chairman Syariefuddin Hasan said.

Ravik Karsidi, chairman of the Indonesian Rector’s Forum (FRI) advisory body and rector of Sebelas Maret University (UNS) in Surakarta, said reinstating the GBHN did not mean a return to the New Order regime.

“The guidelines are more ideological and aim to provide a comprehensive outline for development, while the RPJM is more pragmatic and more like a strategy,” Ravik said.
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Categories: Indonesian News

US group says 98 girls in C-African Republic sexually abused

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 11:00

In crisis: In this Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015 file photo, Judge Marie Deschamps, left, of Canada, chair of the Independent Review Panel on U.N. Response to Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Foreign Military Forces in the Central African Republic, is joined by panel member Hassan Jallow at a news conference at the United Nations. On Wednesday, a US-based advocacy group says 98 girls in Central African Republic have reported that they were sexually abused by international peacekeepers and that 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. (AP/Richard Drew)

A US-based advocacy group said Wednesday that 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 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 and Congo. 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 actually went back to 2013 and also 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. (**)

Categories: Indonesian News

Azarenka beats Konta 6-4, 6-2 in Miami Open quarterfinals

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 09:58

"Watch the ball": Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, hits a return to Johanna Konta during their match at the Miami Open tennis tournament, Wednesday,in Key Biscayne, Fla. (AP/Lynne Sladky)

Victoria Azarenka was well on her way to victory Wednesday when she drew a code violation for chastising herself too colorfully, and she later angrily jabbed at her eyes with two fingers as if to say, "Watch the ball."

Azarenka has high standards for herself, which is one reason she is undefeated in March.

The two-time Grand Slam champion moved one win closer to a rare Indian Wells-Key Biscayne double by beating Johanna Konta in the quarterfinals of the Miami Open, 6-4, 6-2.

Eight-time champion Serena Williams was eliminated as a potential obstacle in the fourth round, making Azarenka's path less daunting. Her opponent Thursday night will be No. 2-seeded Angelique Kerber, who beat No. 22 Madison Keys 6-3, 6-2.

Keys, who committed 39 unforced errors, was the last American in either draw.

No. 15 Svetlana Kuznetsova, who ousted Williams, will play No. 19 Timea Bacsinszky in the other semifinal.

David Goffin, seeded 15th, became the first Belgian ever to reach the men's semifinals at Key Biscayne by rallying past No. 18 Gilles Simon 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. His opponent Friday will be the winner of Wednesday night's match between five-time champion Novak Djokovic and No. 7 Tomas Berdych.

Azarenka, seeded 13th, beat Williams in the Indian Wells final less than two weeks ago and is 20-1 this year. She is trying to become the third woman to win Indian Wells and Key Biscayne in the same year, a feat achieved only by Steffi Graf and Kim Clijsters.

"If I'm able to make it, it's great," Azarenka said. "It seems so close, but it's really far. I want to stay in the present. I want to continue to fight and keep getting better."

Azarenka won Key Biscayne in 2009 and 2011. A former No. 1 player, she fell out of the top 30 in 2014 because of foot and thigh injuries but will be back in the top five next week.

"I never doubted my abilities," she said. "The doubt was to get healthy again. I still feel I'm far from my best, and that's really exciting for me."

Against the No. 24-seeded Konta, Azarenka wasn't always pleased with her play. The code violation came when she lost the first game of the second set.

"Sometimes I cuss, and that's OK," she said. "Whatever will make me play better, I'm going to do. I was just trying to push myself."

Azarenka never lost serve and committed just 14 unforced errors in 119 points. Her deep, steady groundstrokes gradually broke down Konta's baseline game, and the Brit double-faulted three times on break point. (**)

Categories: Indonesian News

Mini rides

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 09:58

A craftsman inspects model bicycles made of brass at a workshop in Pakualaman, Yogyakarta, on Wednesday. The workshop produces miniature versions of various vehicles, such as becak (pedicab), bemo (three-wheeled motorized vehicle) and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, some of them for export.(JP/Tarko Sudiarno)

Categories: Indonesian News

Colombia to hold peace talks with 2nd-largest rebel group

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 09:58

Peace talks: Antonio Garcia, chief negotiator of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, from left, along with rebels Pablo Beltran, and Marian Elena Velazco, confer during a signing agreement to start peace talks, in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday. The formal peace talks with the ELN, the country's second-largest rebel group, heightens expectations for a definitive end to a half-century of political violence in the Andean nation. (AP/Ariana Cubillos)

Colombia and country's second-largest rebel group announced Wednesday that they will hold peace talks, heightening expectations for a definitive end to a half-century of political violence in the Andean nation.

The government has been in exploratory talks in Ecuador with the National Liberation Army, or ELN, for more than a year. Negotiators for the two sides announced at a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela, that those talks will now be formalized around a six-point agenda, including justice for victims, disarmament, and reintegration into society.

While a start date has not been set, negotiations will kick off in Ecuador and then possibly continue in Venezuela, Brazil and Chile and Cuba. Those five countries, along with Norway, will sponsor the talks.

"If we can make peace, it will be the end of guerrilla fighters in Colombia and thus in Latin America," Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said in a televised address to celebrate the breakthrough.

The government has been negotiating for three years in Havana with the largest Colombian rebel group, the far-stronger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Santos emphasized that some important points have already been agreed upon in Havana and said will not be open for renegotiation in the new talks with the ELN, including the establishment of a post-conflict infrastructure to judge war crimes.

The smaller ELN, which the US government classifies as a terrorist group, has an estimated fighting force of around 1,500 and relies on extortion and kidnapping to fund its insurgency. Its main base of operations is eastern Colombia, along the border with Venezuela, where it frequently bombs a major oil pipeline.

The group, founded by radical Roman Catholic priests in the 1960s, prides itself on being more ideologically pure than the FARC. Unlike the peasant-based FARC, the ELN shares a tradition with other leftist insurgencies in Latin America that were formed by urban students and intellectuals in the wake of the Cuban Revolution.

Many analysts say the same orthodoxy that led the ELN to shun a heavier involvement in Colombia's drug trade also blinded its commanders to the opportunity to negotiate a far-reaching deal.

In recent weeks, the group kidnapped a local councilman and captured an army sergeant. Both were later freed but the group is believed to still be holding several others for ransom. On Wednesday, Santos called such actions "unacceptable" and incompatible with the peace drive.

The ELN, for its part, has played down its involvement in criminal activity.

"We didn't start this peace process to talk about kidnapping," the guerrilla commander known by the alias Antonio Garcia told journalists at a rare news conference in Caracas. "We're here to seek solutions to Colombia's problems."

Colombia's civil war has killed an estimated 200,000 people.

Human rights groups greeted news of the talks with cautious optimism, but stressed the importance of punishing all those who have committed abuses during the long-running conflict.

"The talks between the ELN and the government, coupled with an imminent peace deal with the FARC, bring hope that more than half a century of conflict in Colombia might soon be over," said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International. "The government and the ELN must ensure that human rights, including measures to put an end to impunity, lie at the heart of the negotiations."

___

 Associated Press writer Libardo Cardona reported this story in Bogota and AP writer Fabiola Sanchez Sanchez reported from Caracas, Venezuela. (**)

Categories: Indonesian News

Closer link

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 09:58

Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi (right) welcomes Bulgarian counterpart Daniel Mitov at the ministry in Pejambon in Jakarta on Wednesday. The ministers agreed to expand bilateral cooperation as Retno praised Bulgaria’s East Work Policy, which aims to develop better relations with Asia, with Indonesia being one of the priorities. The two countries also agreed to cooperate in tackling transnational crime.(JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

Categories: Indonesian News

UN calls for female quota at RI House

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 09:58

The UN’s top official on women affairs has called on Indonesia to provide a quota for women to sit at the House of Representatives.

UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment (UN Women) deputy executive director Lakshmi Puri argued that it was the most feasible way for Indonesia to have better representation of women and to produce just bills that are free from all forms of discrimination.

A mandatory quota is also the answer to the classic question of whether women should get legislative seats through affirmative action or based on merit, as good qualities can be developed overtime, as long as access into the legislative body is guaranteed, she says.

Women are to account for 30 percent of the candidate lists of all parties for all legislative bodies, but only 97 women made it through in the 2014 elections, 17 percent of House seats. The figure was lower than the 103 women elected in 2009.

“UN Women has always strongly advocated for special measures and quotas. Now, this 30 percent quota, is it a target or is it mandatory? It’s a target and that’s why it’s not being reached,” Puri, who is also the UN assistant secretary-general for intergovernmental support and strategic partnerships, said during her visit to Indonesia on Wednesday.

Puri was visiting Indonesia to attend the ASEAN-UN Partnership meeting. She was also scheduled to have a bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi to discuss gender issues.

“There can’t just be targets. There needs to be a mandatory quota, and you need the critical mass, otherwise you keep operating in a male-dominated and patriarchal environment,” she said.

She cited how Rwanda’s move to reserve seats for women — among other examples — resulted in 66 percent representation of women in its parliament. Another example was an Indian woman elected three times and beat out 15 men.

“[…] Representation of women in the local government has happened only because of a quota. But then after that, women, they come into their own and then are able to get elected on their own right, without reservation,” she added.

Puri also emphasized the need to educate voters on the value of having women lawmakers and to oblige parties to meet quotas during an election period. Indonesia is ranked 110 out of 188 countries in the gender quality index, with assessment components of reproductive health, empowerment and economic involvement. Indonesia also has a high prevalence of child marriage, with one out of six children under the age of 18 marrying every year.

Roberta Clarke, regional director of the UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, said that there was structural and cultural barriers that often made women reluctant to get involved in public affairs.

“The idea of merit is one that women politicians also bring up, as this idea that quotas undermine their sense of credibility […] but I think even those women can admit that structural barriers and cultural barriers are very high and we need revisions,” Clarke said.

“With a quota we are getting pass the cultural barriers. So create a new norm, a new norm that women have equal opportunity to represent.”

Categories: Indonesian News

Social media rouses dormant philatelists

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 09:58

In the era when sending multiple messages is one click away, collectors of postal stamps turn to online platforms, such as Facebook and eBay, to hunt for rare collections.

Philatelist Yusup A. Ridwan said that many philatelists, who had been inactive after the introduction and dominance of emails in written correspondence, had returned to their hobby following the growing popularity of social media by using online platforms to build up their collections.

“With the emergence of social media, many sleeping philatelists have started to collect stamps again. There are even more curious newbie [collectors],” he said, adding that a Facebook group of more than 7,000 members existed, who collaborate on stamp collecting.

He said he often found stamps online that he had been searching a long time for.

“I keep watching Facebook and eBay, as well as asking the Indonesian Philatelist Association (PFI) whether any new stamps have been issued. So every time new stamps are issued, I will immediately buy one,” said Yusup, who is particularly passionate about stamps with a mushroom theme.

He said that out of more than 2,000 stamps he had collected, around 400 were related to mushrooms.

He said he planned to create a story based on the stamps and display them in an exhibition in the near future.

PFI Secretary General Rachmat Asaad said that unlike email or other means of written communication, he found distinctive features in postal stamps. “Emails cannot be collected, but stamps could,” he expressed at the Pasar Baru PFI office in Central Jakarta.

Rachmat said that postal stamps were a representation of a nation because only sovereign countries could issue stamps and get acknowledgement from other countries.

Indonesian stamps, for example, offered a different feel for collectors as they symbolized the country’s characteristics such as its flora, fauna, cultures, national heroes and historical events, he said.

Even though people nowadays do not consider stamps as a necessary means for written correspondence, philatelists are creative in making use of the tiny-sized pieces of paper, he added.

“There are international competitions for philatelists to showcase their collections and create stories out of them,” he said.

Rachmat said that two international organizations affiliated to philatelists, the Federation of Inter-Asian Philately (FIAP) and Fédération Internationale de Philatélie (FIP), often held festivals or competitions.

The FIAP, for example, will organize a competition in Bangkok, Thailand, in August and he plans to attend.

“In the last competition in Singapore last year, our Indonesian contingent earned three gold medals,” he said.

Rachmat also explained that certain stamps could have added value and would be highly demanded if they, for example, were signed by a state president or a high ranking official for commemorative purposes.

“The first thing I will do when I meet an important person such as a president is to take his signature on my FDC,” he said, referring to the “First Day Cover” envelope that is released along with a stamp’s initial issuance.

He revealed that the most expensive stamp he had bought was one with the “Taiwan Bridge” on it, which he acquired for Rp 10 million (US$750).

Service manager Teguh Prihantoro of PT Pos Indonesia, the state-owned company responsible for providing postal services, said that the firm would continue issuing stamps to commemorate important moments, such as promoting tourism for the recent solar eclipse.

He acknowledged that the number of people using conventional letters for correspondence was decreasing.

“Currently, the parties using conventional letters are mostly lenders” he said. (fac)

Categories: Indonesian News

Greater Jakarta: Businesses leave Dadap Cheng In

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 09:58

Two months prior to the planned closure of red light district Dadap Cheng In, located close to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang regency, business owners have begun to pack up and demolish their own buildings.

“In the last three days, after dismantling the buildings, they disappeared. This place has become much quieter at night,” explained Safri, a local resident, to Tribunnews.com on Wednesday. Most of the prostitutes, Safri said, had left even earlier. “They left one by one, starting two weeks ago,” he said.

Female prostitutes who had been known to attract customers while sitting on the side of the road have also ceased to be seen in or around the area, he was quoted by tribunnews.com as saying.

Inspired by the Kalijodo eviction carried out by the Jakarta administration in February, the Tangerang regency administration began to take steps to clear out the Dadap Cheng In red-light district, an event
that was officially planned for May. The area is said to have been home to more than 78 cafés and karaoke bars, housing at least 400 female prostitutes.

Tangerang Regent Ahmed Zaki Iskandar said that he plans to transform Dadap into a park, complete with a mosque and a seafood culinary center.

Categories: Indonesian News

North Korea, again, demands halt to US-South Korea war games

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 09:58

War games: In this March 12, 2016 file photo, US Marines, left, and South Korean Marines, wearing blue headbands on their helmets, take positions after landing on the beach during the joint military combined amphibious exercise, called Ssangyong, part of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises, in Pohang, South Korea. It’s a demand North Korea has been making for decades: The US and South Korea must immediately suspend their annual military exercises if they want peace on the Korean Peninsula. And, once again, it’s a demand that is falling on deaf ears. This year’s exercises are bigger than ever before and reportedly include training to take out Kim Jong Un himself. For Pyongyang’s ruling regime, that’s a bridge too far. But probably not far enough to fire the first shots over. (Kim Jun-bum/Yonhap via AP, File)

It's a demand North Korea has been making for decades: The United States and South Korea must immediately suspend their annual military exercises if there is to be peace on the Korean Peninsula. And, once again, it's a demand that is falling on deaf ears. Following the North's recent nuclear test and rocket launch, this year's exercises are bigger than ever.

In the Koreas, the cycle of tensions is as predictable as the changing of the seasons — they surge every spring, when Washington and Seoul hold their annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises. This year's drills, which are to continue through April, are not only bigger but also reportedly include for the first time training for precision strikes directed at the North's leadership and Kim Jong Un himself.

In the eyes of North Korea's ruling regime, that is a bridge too far.

Even before the exercises began, North Korea's formidable propaganda machine had been churning out articles every day condemning the United States and South Korea in the strongest terms, displaying nuclear bomb and missile mock-ups and warning it is ready at any time to launch a pre-emptive strike against the presidential residence in South Korea or even a nuclear attack on the US mainland.

Nightly news programs have been dominated by videos of leader Kim watching North Korea's own drills, replete with large-scale artillery arrays firing barrages from beachfront positions into the ocean and repeated claims that the North now has an H-bomb — which it says it tested in January — and a means of taking the war to the US mainland.

"This isn't just military training," Kim Il Sun, a teacher at the Pyongyang Tourism University, said of the U.S.-South Korea military activities going on just south of the Demilitarized Zone as she headed home after work on Wednesday.

"These are war exercises aimed at a nuclear war against our country," she said. "They are preparing to attack us."

Gauging the true level of concern among North Koreans as their government whips up anti-US and anti-Seoul feelings is always difficult.

North Korea has been in a state of virtual martial law since its founding and North Koreans are accustomed to the rise and fall of tensions and the threat — real or perceived — that their country is on the verge of being invaded. Apart from the war-like talk on the news and the more-than-usual number of missile and rocket tests, life in the capital continues to be business as usual, although the whole nation has been mobilized for a 70-day loyalty drive aimed at boosting production ahead of a major political meeting to be headed by Kim in May.

There are also strong signals that North Korea doesn't see the situation as serious enough to go to war over.

Yet.

Despite threats it is fully prepared to carry out a pre-emptive strike and conduct a "sacred war of reunification," the government has repeatedly insisted it will only attack if provoked. Ultimately, it says, what it really wants is to sit down with the United States to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, which concluded in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

Such talk has always been a non-starter in Washington.

The longstanding US demand has been that North Korea must either give up its nuclear program or verifiably demonstrate it is willing to do so before any serious discussions can begin. North Korea wants talks first since it says the threat of a US invasion is what forced it to develop a nuclear deterrent to begin with.

Washington did suspend an earlier version of the joint military exercises in an attempt to make progress with North Korea.

But that was back in 1992 and there is no sign of that happening again soon, with tensions on the Korean Peninsula worse than usual and the US and South Korea leading efforts to impose new sanctions on the North.

In the meantime, officials here say, the ball is in Washington's court.

Jon Min Dok, director of the Institute for Disarmament and Peace, part of North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told an AP Television News crew in a rare interview this week that "as long as the U.S. persists in its moves to stifle our socialist system" North Korea has no intention of backing down.

"We consider that keeping the balance of force by bolstering our nuclear forces is the only way effectively to deter the persistent nuclear threat and war provocations from the US," he said. (**)

Categories: Indonesian News

Issue of the day: Police – better service or better image?

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 09:58

Violent rally: A driver with application-based Go-Jek was arrested by a police officer when he and many other fellow drivers thronged Jl. Satrio in South Jakarta to face taxi, public minivan and three-wheeled bajaj drivers who staged a rally to protest the recently increasing numbers of app-based modes of public transportation.(JP/P.J. Leo)

March 27, p5

Pictures of taxi drivers running amok and smashing vehicles during a rally last Tuesday quickly went viral on social media. The public also saw pictures of a Go-Jek (app-based motorcycle taxi) driver being mobbed and beaten up by a group of people.

There were other pictures of conventional taxi drivers blocking the inner-city toll road in front of the House of Representatives compound, causing traffic to grind to a standstill, while in separate incidents, some passengers were forced to get out of taxis.

Upon seeing those pictures on our gadgets, we all had the same question: “Where are the police?”


Your comments:


That the police were not present during the taxi demo, but think nothing of dispatching 500 personnel to safeguard a cultural event, which says a lot about the priorities of the police. It’s a well-known fact that the police as an institution are looking to earn money. They are, indeed, essentially just another business receiving minimal state subsidies.

As long as the basic set-up doesn’t change, you cannot expect any improvement. But then again, does the establishment want real change, or just a better image?

Kulit Merah

Meanwhile, I recently spent four days on an extended overland trip and — without elaborating — I was in total 13 times stopped for razia (raids).

The 10th time, I took a couple of selfies with the policeman who stopped me to celebrate this milestone — he didn’t mind a bit!

In fact, he was a decent chap, and seemed rather put out at having to stand in the road in the middle of the night, stopping cars.

Gordon Freeman

It would also help if the Indonesian police were paid more to stop them from extorting money from tourists, locals, motorists and justice-seekers.

Brucelee4444


Police were present in front of my office. My staff were asked by police to delete any photos they had taken of the scene — forget about enforcing the law or keeping the peace, photos are more important!

Funny that, because I regularly see police taking photos, probably to convince their bosses they are actually working.

KPK69


Police are absent when a mob is present. There’s a definite trend — whenever the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) is present, the police are nowhere to be found, apart from a cursory few.

Ucok

Do your job and people will respect you. Succumb to corruption and people will scorn you and even curse you.

Siang Malam

The police as an institution are not free from corruption.

Sorong


Overall what the writer is trying to convey makes sense. Except for one thing, which is pride in a job well done. If that basic standard is instilled, where people follow SOP to the letter, and don’t cut corners, accept or give graft, then Indonesia and not just the police would be very different.

However, it will take much more effort by the police to change their image and the perception of the average citizen of them than T-shirts and key chains.

Deddy K


I have a novel idea — just do your jobs. Enforce the laws on the books and stop taking coffee money. Stand on the side of the law and your image will improve tremendously. Stop supporting those with criminal intent.

Xsimaging

New T-shirts for the police at least could give them a different image; how about they wear pink, so they can blend in better with LGBT groups when they force them to disperse?

Jorith

Categories: Indonesian News

Belgium premier's residence, office found on bomber's laptop

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 08:29

On guard: Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel, second right, and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspects the troops prior to a meeting at the Egmont Palace in Brussels, Wednesday.(AP/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

A laptop used by one of the Brussels bombers contained images of the Belgian prime minister's home and office, an official said Wednesday, heightening fears after last week's attacks on the airport and subway system.

A government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said that "it is alarming that they were apparently scouting the terrain" around the lush Royal Park where both his office, "Le 16," and his Lambermont residence are located.

Security around Prime Minister Charles Michel has increased since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris and in Brussels last week. Michel also has had several unspecified death threats over the past years, the official said.

A laptop found near the hideout of the suspects of the March 22 airport bombing first gained notoriety because it contained a sort of will of suicide bomber Ibrahim El Bakraoui, in which he spoke of being "in a haste" and "no longer know what to do."

The computer was also "full of stuff" on many locations around Brussels in information garnered from the Internet, said an official linked to the investigation.

The official, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is ongoing, said that at the moment there were "absolutely no" specific indications that Michel was under threat from the attackers.

The report was first published by De Tijd and L'Echo newspapers.

In propaganda material distributed Tuesday, the Islamic State group described the Brussels attacks as part of "a war against all their tyrants and pagans; a war against secularism." The material showed a cropped still of surveillance footage showing the two airport bombers. The attacker who escaped with his life, wearing a dark hat, was cropped out.

"Its most important results are that it showed the fragility of the security systems of the European states that claim they are the strongest in the world, and this was through the type of operation, its timing, its place, and the circumstances surrounding it, and the nature of those who executed it," the material said, according to a translation Wednesday by the SITE Intelligence Group.

In all, 32 people died in the attacks on Brussels international airport and the Maelbeek subway station and 87 remained in hospital. Three attackers were killed when their bombs exploded and police are looking for at least one more suspect.

___

Lori Hinnant contributed to this story. (**)

Categories: Indonesian News

Islands in focus: Illegal miners shot by police, hospitalized

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 08:29

Twenty-one illegal gold miners are receiving hospital treatment after a clash with hundreds of police officers and forest rangers near Lore Lindu National Park in Poso regency, Central Sulawesi.

The 21 miners are being treated at Tora Belo Hospital in Sigi and Bhayangkara Police Hospital in Palu and were among thousands of miners and residents who made a convoy to Palu on Tuesday to protest a government plan to stop illegal mining activities in the park.

“Ten people suffered wounds from rubber bullets and are being treated at Bhayangkara hospital,” Central Sulawesi Police deputy chief Sr. Comr. Leo Bana Lubis said.

Hospital records show that at least 21 people suffered shot wounds.

At least 95 protesters were arrested after the clash. A police truck was destroyed during the clash while hundreds of miners’ kiosks along road leading to the mining site were torn down and the debris burned.

Categories: Indonesian News

Corruption court verdict implicates PKB chief

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 08:29

A verdict imposed on a senior Manpower Ministry official by the Jakarta Corruption Court on Wednesday points to the alleged involvement of then-manpower minister Muhaimin Iskandar in a 2013 graft case and may lead to his prosecution over the same case.

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) asserted that it would open a new probe against Muhaimin, who is also chairman of the National Awakening Party (PKB), and other alleged beneficiaries of funds embezzled by Jamaluddin Malik, who was declared guilty on Wednesday. Jamaluddin was a director general at what used to be the manpower and transmigration ministry.

In its verdict on Jamaluddin, who was sentenced to six years in prison for embezzling ministry funds in 2013, the court stated that he had funneled Rp 400 million (US$30,176) to Muhaimin in the same year.

KPK spokesman Priharsa Nugraha said a guilty verdict was a strong ground for the KPK to open a new probe into the possible involvement of other individuals in the graft case, especially those whose names were mentioned by the panel of judges in the verdict.

“We will collect more supporting evidence before we make a follow-up move in the case,” Priharsa said.

KPK deputy chairman Alexander Marwata, who is a former ad hoc judge at the Jakarta Corruption Court, confirmed the KPK’s planned move against Muhaimin and other people mentioned in the verdict.

“Witnesses’ testimonies and a verdict implicating other people in a case [is a strong ground to step up an investigation], and the involvement of other people in [Jamaluddin’s case] will be further examined,” Alexander said.

In connection with the case, the panel of judges at the Jakarta Corruption Court found Jamaluddin guilty of instructing his subordinates at the ministry to siphon off between 4 percent and 5 percent of funds for programs financed by the state budget, enabling him to collect around Rp 6.7 billion.

The judges said Jamaluddin had pocketed Rp 5.4 billion of those embezzled funds, while the remainder had been funneled to numerous manpower ministry officials, including Muhaimin.

“The defendant is also obliged to pay a fine of Rp 200 million, and he has to return to the state the Rp5.4 billion he received in the case,” presiding judge Mashud said.

In a KPK investigation document obtained by the Post on Thursday, antigraft body prosecutors revealed details about the alleged flow of Rp 400 million to Muhaimin. Jamaluddin’s subordinate, identified as Sudarso, who was questioned as a witness in the case by KPK investigators, kept receipts on a number of transfers from Jamaluddin to high-ranking ministry officials, including Muhaimin, as well as House of Representatives lawmakers.

“In the notes made by the witness, there was a transfer marked as ‘for Gatsu [Gatot Subroto] 1’, which refers to then-minister Muhaimin Iskandar, whose office was located on Jl. Gatot Subroto,” KPK prosecutors noted in the document.

The document further revealed: “It was the defendant [Jamaluddin] who first asked the witness ‘Pak Sudarso, do we still have money available? The minister has yet to receive an honorarium’”.

Sudarso later told Jamaluddin that he was holding onto a sum of money at that time. Jamaluddin then instructed Sudarso to exchange the Rp 400 million in cash to US dollars.

Categories: Indonesian News

Trump suggests 'punishment' for women who get abortions

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 08:29

Upbeat: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis., Wednesday. (AP/Patrick Semansky)

Women who get abortions should receive "some form of punishment," Republican front-runner Donald Trump said Wednesday, without indicating specifically what the punishment should be.

The comments came in a heated exchange with MSNBC's Chris Matthews during the taping of a town hall in Wisconsin, which holds its primary next week.

"There has to be some form of punishment," Trump told Matthews in the exchange over whether abortion should be banned. The subject remains highly controversial decades after the Supreme Court legalized it.

Pressed by Matthews on the nature of that punishment, Trump responded: "I haven't determined what the punishment should be." He also suggested that women could continue to receive abortions, but at "illegal places."

Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton quickly responded on Twitter, noting Trump's comments and adding, "Just when you thought it couldn't get worse. Horrific and telling."

Trump has often said he's opposed to abortions except in the case of three exceptions: rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at risk. He used to describe himself as in favor of abortion rights, but says his stance has evolved over the years.

Within hours, Trump's campaign sought to take back his comments in two separate statements, ultimately saying the billionaire businessman believes abortion providers — and not their patients — should be the ones punished.

"My position has not changed," Trump argued in both statements released by his campaign. "Like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions."

Even before Trump's comments, recent polls have put his negative ratings nearing or even eclipsing 70 percent among women.

The New York billionaire arrived in Wisconsin fending off another controversy. His campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was charged with misdemeanor battery in Florida on Tuesday over an altercation with a female reporter earlier this month.

Wisconsin's April 5 primary looks pivotal in the Republican race. If Texas Sen. Ted Cruz wins, it would narrow Trump's already tight path to the nomination and raise the prospect of a contested party convention. Delegates there might turn to other candidates if the billionaire fails to win on the first ballot.

Trump heads into Wisconsin with 739 delegates to Cruz's 465. Kasich lags behind with 143. Wisconsin has 42 Republican delegates, with 18 going to the statewide winner and 24 divided among the winners in each of the state's eight congressional districts

Trump would need 1,237 delegates by the end of the primary season to capture the nomination and avoid a contested convention.

All three Republican candidates now say they aren't committing to supporting whomever the party chooses as its nominee for the November election.

Trump on Tuesday said he was rescinding his promise because "I have been treated very unfairly," and he listed the party establishment among those he believes have wronged him.

Cruz said if Trump were the nominee, that would hand the election to Clinton.

Based on primaries and caucuses to date, Clinton has 1,243 delegates to rival Bernie Sanders' 975. Including superdelegates, party leaders who are free to support any candidate, Clinton has 1,712 delegates to Sanders' 1,004, leaving her shy of the 2,383 it takes to win the nomination. (**)

Categories: Indonesian News

National scene: House speaker takes one step back on library

Jakarta Post Latest News - Thu, 2016-03-31 08:29

House of Representatives Speaker Ade Komarudin has softened his stance on a plan to build the largest library in Southeast Asia at the legislative complex, saying that he will first seek government approval.

“If the government recommends we postpone the good plan due to the country’s unstable economic condition, then we will. However, we won’t give up on making it happen,” Ade said on Wednesday.

The politician stated that the government should have a clear argument and explanation for a postponement and ensure that construction would eventually start.

The plan to build a library has been opposed by a few House factions and People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) leaders, who say a library is not a priority amid a potential state budget deficit of Rp 290 trillion (US$21.6 billion), especially as the government had imposed a moratorium on the construction of state buildings for efficiency sake.

Ade claimed that he had previously intended to postpone the construction until a number of noted intellectuals went to the House to encourage him to forge ahead with the plan.

“I think establishing a library will help restore public trust in the legislative body, but I will involve the executive body in the decision,” Ade said, vowing to approach the government before attempting to garner support from House members.

Categories: Indonesian News
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