Monday, May 31, 2010

World No Tobacco Day 2010

On 31st May each year, the World Health Organization celebrates the World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with the use of tobacco and advocating for effective policies to reduce consumption. Tobacco use is the second cause of death globally (after Hypertension) and is currently responsible for killing one in 10 adults worldwide.  

The theme for this year's World No Tobacco Day is Gender and Tobacco, with an emphasis on marketing to women. WHO will use the day to draw particular attention to the harmful effects of tobacco marketing and smoke on women and girls.

The World Health Assembly created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and its lethal effects. It provides an opportunity to highlight specific tobacco control messages and to promote adherence to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Tobacco use is the number one preventable epidemic that the health community faces.

Related links

- World No Tobacco Day site
- WHO's Tobacco Free Initiative
- More about tobacco abuse and control


Source:  World Health Organization (WHO)

 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Females and Cigarettes in Jakarta

The survey of the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) shows that in 2004 there was a very sharp increase in the  numbers of females smoking cigarettes in Jakarta compared to the year 2001.

Perhaps that was the reason why in 2005 the provincial government of Jakarta introduced an Anti-Smoking by-law which require Smoking Area to be located separately from Non-Smoking Area. It seems that this was not effective that on 6 May 2010 the government completely banned smoking in buildings.

More details are available on the article of The Jakarta Post that I have quoted below. Happy reading.

Anti-smoking campaign targets women, girls

Ika Krismantari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 05/30/2010 9:58 AM | Headlines
Tobacco doesn’t discriminate by gender or age. People who smoke cigarettes — men or women, young or old — will suffer the negative impacts.

This view was shared during the “No Tobacco Show”, a one-day event organized by the National Commission on Tobacco Control on Saturday in Kuningan, South Jakarta. The event drew 1,500 people from 22 schools in Greater Jakarta.

The event was set up to disseminate information to young people and women on the dangers of smoking ahead of World No Tobacco Day, which falls on May 31.

Committee chairwoman Laks-miati A. Hanafiah said the commission organized the event in response to the rise in the number of women and teenage smokers in Jakarta.

The latest data from the Central Statistics Agency show the prevalence of smoking among women
in Indonesia had tripled to 4.5 percent in 2004, with the highest increase among teenage girls aged 15 to 19.

The number of teenage smokers has grown almost tenfold from 0.2 percent in 2001 to 1.9 percent in 2004.
Laksmiati said that this worrying trend was caused by ubiquitous cigarette advertising in media and public places that conveyed false information.

“All those ads are misleading. There is no safe limit for cigarettes. The only thing that is safe is to stop smoking,” Laksmiati said, referring to commercials offering cigarette products claiming to have lower amounts of nicotine.

She added the event would help people find the real message behind the advertisements.
At the event, students from different schools displayed their own anti-smoking campaigns to help get the real message across to the public.


A participants coming from state vocational high school SMKN 8 in Pejaten, South Jakarta, exhibited a ghost house to demonstrate the dangers of smoking.


Some of the students dressed up as ghosts with heavy mascara and pale makeup standing in front of a poster with information on cigarettes.


“We want to warn people that this is the result you meet when you smoke,” said 10th grader Leni Nuraini, who was dressed as an angel of death.


Laksmiati acknowledged the importance of involving the youth as well as women in the war against tobacco because they were the next target for cigarette companies.


The commission plans to hold a seminar to raise awareness among women to contribute to the war against tobacco, she added.
This commission believes personal initiatives from individuals were important for the success of the anti-tobacco movement, especially in light of the failure of the local government to enforce regulations prohibiting smoking in the capital.


The Jakarta administration introduced the first anti-smoking bylaw in 2005, but its implementation is seen as a failure. The bylaw required smoking areas to be separated from non-smoking areas.


The administration has tightened the rule since May 6 this year by banning smoking completely in buildings. 

The public, as well as authorities, have questioned the effectiveness of this policy. Indonesia is the world’s third-largest tobacco consumer.

Indonesian & Australian central banks scandal

The Coruption Eradication Commission (KPK) will start inquiry on allegation that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has given US$ 1.3 million in Bribe to senior officers of Bank Indonesia (BI) to win a note printing tender in 1999.

The Jakarta Globe (below) quoted KPK Deputy Chief M. Yassin as saying that  this inquiry is based on an undisclosed public complaint received on 25 May.

Considering that this case was disclosed by an Australian newspaper The Age 11 years after the bribery took place, I wonder whether there are any other unknown foul play between said central banks of both countries. Hmmmm .... I'll keep my fingers crossed.

KPK Begins Inquiry Into Bank Indonesia Australian Bribery Case


Armed with a public complaint, the Corruption Eradication Commission announced it would initiate an investigation into allegations that senior central bank officials had received $1.3 million in bribes over a banknote-printing tender with an Australian company in 1999.

Deputy Chairman Muhammad Jasin said on Friday that the complaint officially enabled the antigraft agency, also known as the KPK, to conduct the probe.

“Regarding allegations of bribery at Bank Indonesia, the KPK received a report that was registered at the KPK Directorate of Public Complaints on May 25,” Jasin said. “The report is now being examined by the public complaints team as we gather additional information.”

Jasin added that the commission would not disclose who filed the complaint or the contents of the report.

“We are also discussing the possibilities of collaborating with our Australian counterparts on the matter,” Jasin said.

The case surfaced after Melbourne-based newspaper The Age reported on Tuesday that two senior BI officials, identified only as Mr. S and Mr. M, had allegedly received bribes from Indonesian businessman Radius Christanto.

Radius reportedly paid $1.3 million in bribes to award the $50 million contracts to print 500 million Rp 100,000 banknotes to two Australian firms he was representing — Securency International and Note Printing Australia.

KPK spokesman Johan Budi said that the case was under the agency’s jurisdiction. “As long as it involves public officials and there had been a misappropriation of state funds, the KPK will investigate.”

Muhammad Assegaf, lawyer of former Bank Indonesia Governor Syahril Sabirin, confirmed that the alleged bribery occurred during his client’s tenure. “However Syahril was not aware of the bribery because he was not involved in the technical aspect of the procurement or tender process,” Assegaf said.

The central bank also pledged to conduct an internal investigation into the matter. Deputy Governor Budi Rochadi said four former BI officials directly linked to the tender had been questioned but refused to disclose names.

“The officials involved in the procurement had mostly retired but some are still active. We will question everyone from the staffers to the directorial levels,” he said, as quoted by state-run Antara news agency.

The Age reported that a confidential fax, sent from Christanto to the two firms on July 1, 1999, explicitly referred to large bribes to Bank Indonesia.

The paper added that Christanto’s correspondencewith the Australian firms also revealed collusion among BI officials, Chris­tanto and the firms’ executives to mark up the bids for the rupiah contract.

The Reserve Bank of Australia, the holding company of both firms said it took the matter “very seriously” and condemned corrupt behavior of any kind, but could not comment further given the ongoing Australian Federal Police investigation.

In a separate statement, Securency said it had referred the bribery allegations to Australian police after it became aware of them a year ago.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lapindo Mudflow Tragedy

Four years ago, PT. Lapindo Brantas failed to follow standard procedure for pumping natural gas in Sidoarjo, East Java, causing a never ending hot mud flow that inundated many buildings and commercial lands in the neigbouring area.

Now, the tragedy  has been regarded as a mere natural disaster and responsibility of PT. Lapindo Brantas and its owner have been transfered to the government.

According to Kompas (below) the government of East Java is planning to turn Mudflow site into a Tourist site, for which purpose the amount of 273 Billion Rupiah in fund has been allocated.

Rp273 Billion for Lapindo Tourist Site Allocated
Sabtu, 29 Mei 2010 | 06:01 WIB

 SURABAYA, KOMPAS.com - The government has set aside  Rp273 billion in funds to develop a geological tourist object near the Lapindo mudflow site in Sidoarjo district, East Java, an official said. 
 
"The government through the maritime affairs and fisheries ministry has set aside Rp273 billion in funds to develop Lapindo geological tourist site," East Java Governor Soekarwo said here on Friday.
  
The 83-hectare geological tourist object would be located north of the mudflow site, he said adding: "President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited the location some time ago."
  
"The DED (detailed engineering design) of the project will be available in 2011. The project is likely to be started this year," he said.
  
Asked to comment on the land subsidence around the mudflow site, he said there was nothing to worry about it.
  
"The land subsidence can be handled if new embankments are not built. The emergence of new mudflow spots and land subsidence results from the construction of new embankments which add to another burden," he said quoting geologists of the Surabaya-based Sepuluh November Institute of Technology (ITS) and Airlangga University (Unair).
 
To date, there were 180 thousand mudflow spots, including 30 thousand to 50 thousand new ones, he said. The mudflow first began from a crack near an exploratory gas well owned by PT Lapindo Brantas on May 29, 2006. It soon expanded into a mud lake, swallowing houses, factories and schools, leaving more than 15,000 people homeless.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Young Cigarette Addict

tSo many strange and shocking stories about what's happening in Indonesia have been reported by the mass media in the last few months.

One of them is about a 2-years old boy who has been addicted to cigarettes, which is so disgusting for me that I have been trying to avoid writing about it. I never thought that any parents could ever let their very young son (a baby?) become cigarette addict.

Please find below a blog post about this matter that I have quoted from my friend Anastasia F-B (anatheimp@blogspot.com) in London.

Tobacco Boy


I read a truly shocking story today in the Daily Mail about a two-year old boy in Indonesia who has a forty-a-day cigarette habit. Yes, that's right, forty a day! Ardi Razal's health has been ruined and he now struggles to move himself, according to the report. His mother, Diana, says that he is totally addicted. All of her attempts to stop his puffing have been abandoned in the face of his tantrums;

If he doesn't get cigarettes, he gets angry and screams and batters his head against the wall. He tells me he feels dizzy and sick.

His father, Mohammed Razal, a fishmonger living in Musi Banyuasin in South Sumatra, does not seem to see a problem, believing his son looks perfectly healthy. All I can say is that he needs to look just a little harder. More than that, he needs to ask himself how healthy his son is likely to be by the age of ten, assuming he ever makes it that far.

Although this would appear to be an extreme example, Indonesian authorities are worried by the number of young children taking to smoking in a culture where tobacco is king. According to official statistics, 25% of children between three and fifteen have tried cigarettes, and there has been a sharp increase in smoking among those aged between five and nine.

The usual panaceas are being offered as solutions; that there needs to be a ban on tobacco advertising and a campaign illustrating the effects of passive smoking. This does not, it seem to me, to go anywhere near understanding why, and by what means, children as young as two have become hardened smokers.

We all have choices to make in life, risks we freely chose to take with our eyes open. Ardi Razal clearly did not acquire his habit by free choice or overnight. Admittedly without knowing all of the facts -the report does not make the precise circumstances of his addiction to tobacco clear- I can only conclude that his parents are feckless, irresponsible or uncaring, perhaps a combination of all three.

Have a Wonderful Waisak


To all my Buddhist Friends in Indonesia and other parts of the world, I wish you all a Happy Waisak 2554.

Photo: Courtesy of Google

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bribery in Bank Indonesia

Since Indonesia became a democratic country in 1998, almost everything that ever happened here are freely reported by the media.

So many corruption cases and foul play in the management of the country have been exposed, the latest being the mysterious flow of 6.7 Trillion Rupiah to bailout of Bank Century, and the Trillion Rupiah Tax fraud.

While the above cases are still being investigated by the law enforcement agencies, yesterday The Jakarta Post (below) reported that officials of the central bank i.e. Bank Indonesia, have received US$ 1.3 million bribes from a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia for helping the latter in winning a contract in 1999.

Considering that this is a very serious allegations, I hope that the law enforcement agencies in both countries would check whether or not the news report is true.

Former BI officials took bribes from RBA: Reports
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 05/26/2010 10:13 AM | National

Former Bank Indonesia officials received US$1.3 million in bribes from Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) subsidiaries to help the latter win a contract and manipulate future tenders in 1999, a newspaper reported.

Melbourne’s The Age cited confidential faxes from a Jakarta businessman to executives at Securency International and Note Printing  Australia (NPA) referring to “our friends” and “unofficial payments" and “commissions”. One fax, dated July 1, 1999, specifically stipulates the paying of S1.3 million to two Bank Indonesia officials.

According to The Age, Radius Christianto, who represented the RBA firms Securency and NPA in Indonesia between 1999 and 2006, was to be paid US3.65 million for his services.
In his faxes, Christianto refers to “Mr. S” and “Mr. M”, which the newspaper believes were senior Bank Indonesia officials who played key roles in awarding the RBA firms the contract for printing 500 million Rp 100,000 banknotes.

The revelation of this possible corruption came when a former Securency employee said recently that he was asked to pay bribes and procure prostitutes for foreign central bank officials.

Currently, the Australian Federal Police are investigating Securency for paying more than $A20 million in bribes through middlemen to win currency printing contracts in Vietnam, Nigeria and Malaysia between 2003 and 2006.

Christanto’s correspondence also revealed collusion between Bank Indonesia officials, Christanto and RBA banknote executives to mark up the Securency and NPA bid for the rupiah banknote contract by 20 percent with an agreement that it would then be reduced to a 10 per cent mark-up.

Bank Indonesia said it would allow the law enforcers to investigate the alleged bribery. “Let the KPK [Corruption Eradication Commission] and the Attorney General’s Office conduct an investigation,” he was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

“The KPK has not received any official report on the case,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi said Tuesday. He added that the commission had only just learned of the allegation from Jakarta journalists, so had not had the opportunity to discuss a possible investigation.

“We will process any information on possible corruption as long as it involves state officials,” Johan said.

“The KPK does not work retroactively, therefore we can’t process any case that occurred before August 1999,” Johan said, adding that the KPK was regulated by the 1999 Corruption Eradication Law, which came into effect in August that year.
The law defines corruption as well as the process for its eradication.

“The KPK also refers to the Criminal Code, which stipulates that a person cannot be charged or tried for any crime occurring before the issuance of any law covering such crimes,” Johan said.

“However, we can investigate these allegations if the case has consequences occurring after 1999.”
 It is possible that someone might come forward with information on the case because of the media coverage,” he said, emphasizing that ”we except anonymous reports”. (ipa)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Scorpions' Borobudur Temple show

German rock band, the Scorpions, has been one of my most favorite rock bands for so many years.

That is why I was rather surprised when I read on The Jakarta Globe that the band is planning to end its 45 years existence by holding a final show next month on the compound of the 9th century Borobudur Temple in Central Java.

Considering that international rock bands usually use high power equipments that would create abnormal vibrations in their shows, I hope that before the show is held there would be a study to find out whether or not such vibration would effect the temple's 9th century structure.


Scorpions Plan Last Sting in the Tail at Borobudur

Boyolali, Central Java. German hard-rocking hair band Scorpions announced they would play a concert as part of their farewell Sting in the Tail tour under the shadows of the stunning ninth-century Borobudur Temple. 

Agus Canny, marketing director of PT Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Prambanan and Ratu Boko, which manages the temple site, said the concert would be held in June of next year. 

“This concert will mark the end of the 45-year musical journey of the Scorpions. Their management agency has met us and expects the concert to be held in mid-June of 2011,” he told the Jakarta Globe on Monday. 

Two Scorpions representatives from Indonesia and two more from Germany visited Borobudur Temple last week to map out the concert details.

Chief executive of the temple’s management company, Purnomo Siswo Prasetyo, said that as a Unesco World Heritage Site, Borobudur Temple had hosted its share of big acts through years.

“However, the Scorpions concert certainly will be a great honor for us since the band is a legendary [act] and very popular throughout the world,” he said.

However, due to the fragile state of one of the world’s iconic Buddhist sites, Purnomo said his company would need to evaluate the potential for damage to the structure from heavy sound vibrations caused by the group’s driving rock.

But that is probably little more than a bump in the road for the group, which has sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

Agus said that the band behind rock classics “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” “Wind of Change” and “Still Loving You” chose Borobudur Temple because they were “blown away” by the monument built four centuries before Cambodia’s Angkor Wat.

Next year will ring in the 20th anniversary of the temple’s induction onto the Unesco list, as well as 100 years since the structure was first restored by Dutch expert Van Berg in 1911.

The Scorpions formed in Hanover during the 1960s and found commercial success nearly two decades later behind a battery of guitar-driven songs. The band’s 1989 album, “Crazy World,” was heavily influenced by the political upheaval band members witnessed in Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

They had earlier toured the Soviet Union, being only the second Western band to do so after Uriah Heap. In the critically panned 1996 release “Pure Instinct,” the group collaborated with Indonesian singer-songwriters Titiek Puspa and James F Sundah on the song “When You Came Into My Life.”

Photo: Courtesy of AceShowBiz


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fatwa against Transvestites

Recently, leaders of Islamic Boarding Schools (Pondok Pesantren) across the Island of Java gathered in Kediri, East Java, and issued a Fatwa (Edict) banning Transvestites (Male wearing Female's dress) from Cutting and Styling Muslim woman's hair.

According to The Jakarta Globe, the Fatwa cited that Transvestites were Males, therefore forbidden for them to see and touch a woman who was neither their spouse nor relative.
One of the instigators of the Fatwa said that the hair is part of a woman's Aurat (part of body that must not be shown according to Islamic Law).

However, the Fatwa was questioned by a leader of the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, i.e. Nahdatul Ulama, who said although Islam does not allow a man to touch a woman who is not his spouse or relative because it might cause temptation, but in this case it is different because the Transvestites are merely working.

Considering that most Transvestites make money by Cutting and Styling hair, many people feared that if they are not allowed, many of them might become prostitutes or criminals.

Although a Fatwa is not part of the Indonesian national legal system, thus cannot be legally enforceable, however considering that it was issued by leaders of Islamic Boarding schools respected by their followers, it would then be obeyed as a religious obligation.

Due to the above, I hope that the Department of Religious Affairs together with two of the largest Muslim organization i.e. Nahdatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah  would clarify this matter so as to avoid confusions.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Anas Urbaningrum, a new Hope for Indonesia

Yesterday evening, the congress of the ruling Democrat Party (PD) has elected Anas Urbaningrum (40), currently the chief of the party's faction in the House of Representative (DPR) as Chairman of the party.

This is a big surprise considering that the two other candidates have better advantages i.e. Marzuki Alie (54) is the the Speaker of the DPR, and Andi Malarangeng (47) is the Minister of State for Youth and Sports  supported by the son of President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) i.e. Eddy Baskoro.

Moreover, Anas did not use the mass media for campaign, while his rivals, especially Andi Malarangeng, have used them very intensively.

Brief information about Anas ::
Anas was born in Blitar, East Java, 15 January 1969. He studied Political science at the Airlangga University, Surabaya-East Java, and Gajah Mada University (Post graduate) in Jogyakarta, active in student movements as Chairman of the Islamic Students Association (HMI) from 1997 to 1999. Married with four children. He was a member of the General Election Commission from 2001 until 2005, afterward he join the party's leadership and became member of DPR in 2009.

Considering that PD is the party of President SBY, therefore leads the coalition government, and has the largest number of seats in the DPR,  the victory of Anas is not only important for his party but also for Indonesia that badly needs fresh young leaders to replace old politicians who are currently running the country.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Species Found in the Forests of Papua

The Indonesian province in the western part of the Island of Papua seems to have lots of unknown species.

Recently, ECPulse (below) reported that some Australian scientist have found news species in the province' forest.

I hope that the central and provincial governments would protect said forest so as to maintain the habitat of those species.


Surprising new species found in the virgin forests of Foja Mountains
|

Nature does not stop short of surprises! The Australian scientists found hidden in the virgin forests of Foja Mountains in western Indonesia several new species, including a Pinocchio-nosed frog and the world's smallest wallaby (kangaroo). 

The Australian scientist Paul Oliver is the one lead the team during an expedition to the Foja Mountains in West Papua in Indonesia that started in 2008, and which led to the incredible discovery of several new species. 

Although Paul Oliver and his team endured torrential rainstorms and life-threatening floods, they were determined to explore the isolated and most undeveloped rainforest block in the Asia-Pacific region because of its precious biodiversity. 

"It is not an exaggeration to say that the Foja Mountains are well-defended against any access", said expedition participant Bruce Beehler. Seemingly, their appears that their expedition was not disappointing at all. 

The 300,000 hectares of undeveloped and undisturbed rainforest in the Foja Mountains were hiding several new species, including never-before-seen mammals, a reptile, an amphibian, at least 12 insects and a new bird. 

The amphibian is a tree frog with a Pinocchio-like spiked nosed which points upward when the male is calling but then deflates when the frog is less active. The wallaby that was found appears to be the world’s smallest kangaroo; however, they also spotted an extremely rare golden-mantled tree-kangaroo. 

Scientists also discovered an oversized woolly rat, a bent-toed gecko with intriguing yellow eyes, a new blossom bat that feeds on rainforest nectar, a small new tree-mouse, a new black and white butterfly, a new flowering shrub and a new imperial pigeon with rusty, whitish and grey colored feathers. 

Scientists however warned that growing population, deforestation and climate change might lead to the loss of this biodiversity, and urged the government to conserve it and “pay more attention to protecting the new species that have not been recorded yet”.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bloggers and Good Governance in Indonesia

In the last few years, Bloggers and other internet activists have played an important role in what is happening in Indonesia.

Last year, they helped the "release" of an innocent mother of two infants who was detained and prosecuted just because she e-mailed her friends about the low standard services of a hospital.

Further, they also helped the "release" of two leaders of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) who were arrested based on uncertain legal grounds.

In this regards, I would like to quote the comments of U.S Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero as reported by Ethiopian Review.  

In Indonesia, Bloggers Show How Civil Society Can Promote Good Governance 



About the Author: Maria Otero serves as Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs.

Today, Indonesia is the world's third-largest democracy, and its free media environment plays an important role in the country's steady democratic development. In fact, the NGO Freedom House rated Indonesia as the most free media environment in all of Southeast Asia. Over the last decade, Internet penetration has surged, and half of Indonesia's Internet users are on Facebook and Twitter. There are over one million bloggers in the country.

On Wednesday, I met with leading bloggers and media developers in Jakarta. The lively discussion revealed the dynamic role of Internet activism in Indonesia. Even though fewer than 15 percent of Indonesians regularly access the Internet, the increasing number of people who engage online are making a difference in the way Indonesian society communicates about topics ranging from the environment and human rights to political issues, culture, fashion, and academic material.

The government, online businesses, and consumers all share a responsibility for protecting freedom of expression and freedom of information on the Internet. As co-chair of the NetFreedom Taskforce with Under Secretary for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs Robert Hormats, I was pleased to learn about how Indonesia's bloggers use the online space to express their views and advocate for change in their country through a conducive internet environment. It was helpful to listen to their views and look for more ways to engage together.

Indonesian citizens' active involvement in social media demonstrates how civil society can promote good governance and protect freedom of expression. Of course, as in any country, we must be mindful of threats to such freedoms. The bloggers at the meeting described the Indonesian social media response to a draft law on multimedia content that would form a government committee with the potential to censor online content. The bloggers voiced their objection to the draft law, citing that it would limit freedom of expression online. Fortunately, in response to online protests, President Yudhoyono put a hold on the law. The social media activism and response by the President signify the importance of partnership between government and society when securing the freedom of expression on the Internet. I am encouraged by the lively internet activism in Indonesia, and am grateful to the bloggers and government officials who are committed to protecting freedom of speech.

Under Secretary Otero traveled to Indonesia, May 16-21, to meet with civil society, non-governmental organizations, and senior government officials to discuss global issues on which the two countries can partner. As Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, María Otero oversees U.S. foreign policy on democracy, human rights, population, refugee, health, and environment issues.

Giant Sea Turtles in Bali


Giant Sea Turtles are endangered species that are protected by the law in Indonesia, therefore people are not allowed to trade and consume them.

But it seems that there are many people who love to eat said forbidden Turtle's meat, and obviously willing to pay high price for it, that some restaurants and food stalls are willing to break the law and sell them.

And recently, the Associated Press reported that the Police have just confiscated 71 Giant Sea Turtles from a food stall in Denpasar, Bali.

Photo: Courtesy of Google/AP.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Reformasi

On 21 May 1998, devastating economic crisis has forced President Soeharto to step down from power.

After that, Indonesia has been experiencing the process of transformation from an authoritarian rule to a liberal democracy. This process is popularly known in Bahasa Indonesia as " Reformasi ".

And today, 12 years after " Reformasi ", I wonder whether the whole process has been beneficial for the Indonesian people, or merely for a bunch of politicians.

In this regards, I quoted a relevant article in Kompas (below).

12 Years after Soeharto, Indonesians Fear for 'Reformasi'
Jumat, 21 Mei 2010 | 12:01 WIB
JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - Twelve years after the dawning of Indonesia’s ’Reformasi’ movement with the resignation of military strongman Soeharto, there are fears the country of 240 million people is on a slipperly slope backwards. No one disputes how far Indonesia has come: the economy is booming and last year’s peaceful elections brought political stability by returning Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to the presidency for a second five-year term.

The massive street protests, bloody anti-Chinese riots  and economic ruin that marked the last days of  Soeharto's "New Order" regime are in the past, and Indonesia  is demanding a greater say in world affairs. But on the 12th anniversary of Suharto’s resignation Friday, all is not well with ’Reformasi’, the sweeping popular movement for democratic change that energised reform across the vast archipelago for more than a decade.

Some analysts fear the tide may be turning back in favour of Suharto-style cronyism and a political and business elite that has never, they say, relinquished power.

“There is not much difference between Soeharto’s time and now. It’s just that Soeharto’s cronies have been replaced by new cronies,” economist Martin Panggabean said.

Analysts express concern about persistent, widespread corruption, a lack of government transparency, a culture of impunity for human rights abuses and the increasing use of draconian libel laws to muzzle critics.

Such fears came to a head earlier this month with the shock resignation of finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, an independent economist who frequently clashed with reactionary forces within the ruling coalition.

Indrawati won international accolades for keeping Southeast Asia’s biggest economy growing throughout the global downturn while battling to clean up the graft-riddled tax and customs offices.

But her lonely campaign received little more than rhetorical support from Yudhoyono, and eventually her position became untenable in the face of constant attacks from the Golkar party, Soeharto’s largely unreformed political vehicle. Speaking to business leaders earlier this week, the outgoing minister compared the current situation to the crony-dictatorship of Soeharto, who died in hospital in January, 2008.

“We have learnt from the 30-year regime of president Soeharto, where relationships between personal and public interests were so mixed-up,” she said.  “We all knew — what occurred during the New Order era was like a disease. But at that time it was done behind closed doors. Now it’s more sophisticated and the skills of power enable the decision-making process to be co-opted.”

In what some observers interpreted as a parting shot at the ruling elite before she starts her new job as a World Bank director next month, she said the current system worked like a “cartel” or a “same-sex marriage”. “You can see for yourselves, government officials with business backgrounds, even though they say they have put aside all their businesses, everyone knows that their siblings, their children, who knows who else from their families, are still running the firms,” she said.

The comments were reported as a stab at Golkar party chief Aburizal Bakrie, seen as the architect of the campaign to remove Indrawati after she tried to bring his vast business empire under the rule of law.


Within days of her resignation, and after secret talks with Yudhoyono, Bakrie had been appointed to lead a new “secretariat” tasked with overseeing the ruling coalition.

Analysts said a key test for ’Reformasi’ will be whether an investigation launched by Indrawati into 210 million dollars in allegedly unpaid taxes by Bakrie-linked mining companies is brought to trial or swept under the carpet.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

RIP: Gesang

Gesang Martohartono, the Legendary Keroncong Music Composer, passed away today at 6 pm at a hospital in Surakarta, Central Java, at the age of 92 years old.

Gesang was born in Surakarta, on 1 October 1917, and one of his masterpiece was the song titled: Bengawan Solo written in the year 1940. This song has been translated to 13 languages including English, Chinese and Japanese.

In this regards, I would like to express my deepest sympahty and condolence the family of Gesang.

- Gesang (Wikipedia)
- Gesang Berpulang (Kompas)

Photo: Courtesy of Kompas.

National Ressurection Day 2010

On 20 May 1908, several native Indonesian led by Dr. Soetomo founded the first organization of native Indonesians, namely Boedi Oetomo.

This was a courageous action, because at that time Indonesia was occupied by the Dutch colonial forces whereby natives activities were strictly limited and oppressed.

It was this action that inspired independence movements in Indonesia, starting from the creation of the first native political party namely the Indische Partij in 1912, followed by the first congress of native youths on
28 October 1928, and the declaration of independence on 17 August 1945.

Due to the above mentioned facts, the 20th of May has officially been declared as the National Resurrection Day. 

I hope that those who are holding power now would always remember and respect all the efforts that have been made by our founding fathers, therefore do their very best to make Indonesia a better place to live. .

- Peringatan 102 Tahun Hari Kebangkitan Nasional
- Kebangkitan Nasional Indonesia (Wikipedia).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The New Finance Minister & his Deputy

This evening President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) appointment Agus Martowardoyo (54), President Director of Bank Mandiri (state owned bank), as Finance Minister to replace Sri Mulyani who will become Managing Director of the World Bank this June.

Further, SBY also appointed Anny Ratnawati (48), currently Director General of Budget of the Department of Finance, as Deputy Finance Minister.

Both top officials can be regarded as suitable choice i.e combination of Agus as a professional banker who successfully led Bank Mandiri (merger of 4 state owned banks) since 2005, and Anny as a carreer employee of the Dept. of Finance. They will be inducted by the President tomorrow.

Nevertheless, Agus needs more than his professional skills to do his new job i.e. serve the people and country.  He must also be able to satisfy the wishes of various political powers in this country if he wants to keep his job until 2014. Otherwise he would only be a victim of circumstances and coincidence like his predecessor.

Media reports related to the above post::
- Banker Who Can Work Miracle (The Jakarta Globe)
- Agus has the Managerial skill as Finance Minister, Analysts says (The Jakarta Post) 
- Anny Ratnawati Dipercayai Jabat Wakil Menteri Keuangan (Antara News) 

Photo: Courtesy of Kompas.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thailand oh Thailand

Thailand is very popular in Indonesia, not only because it is, like Indonesia, a member of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), but also because many of its agricultural and industrial products are consumed in Indonesia.

For example in Jakarta, Thailand's Durian Monthong and other fruits are very popular and widely sold at supermarkets,  its cars are used by many people, it's restaurants are available in so many places.

Further, Thailand's capital city Bangkok and popular tourists resorts like Pataya and Phuket have became favorite destinations for many Indonesians.

Furthermore, the military forces in Thailand tend to have their attention focused on the government, thus quite similar to the condition in Indonesia (especially until 1998).

For the above reasons, I felt so sad when I heard and saw the news about the social-political unrest that has been going on for the last few months in Thailand.

Please find below an article about the latest development in Thailand quoted from The Jakarta Post.

Hopes raised for brokered talks in Thai chaos

Vijay Joshi, The Associated Press, Bangkok | Tue, 05/18/2010 12:39 PM | World
Hopes rose Tuesday for an end to deadly mayhem in Thailand's capital as leaders of a protest movement occupying central Bangkok said they would unconditionally accept an offer by the Thai Senate to mediate talks.

Scattered violence continued Tuesday in the standoff between soldiers and anti-government Red Shirt protesters that has killed 37 people in the past six days.

The country's upper house of Parliament on Monday offered to broker negotiations between the warring sides providing they both stopped that fighting that has transformed large swaths of downtown Bangkok to a war zone.

A Red Shirt leader, Weng Tojirakarn, told a news conference "we accept the proposal from the Senate." Another protest leader, Nattawut Saikua, said, "It would not be right if I set conditions for the Senate."

It was not immediately known whether the government had agreed to the Senate talks

In perhaps the most hopeful of recent signs that Thailand's two-month-long crisis could be resolved, both sides Monday evening also revealed that the government's chief negotiator and a Red Shirt leader had discussed negotiations in a mobile telephone call.

But previous attempts to negotiate an end to the standoff - which has destabilized a country once regarded as one of Southeast Asia's most stable democracies - have failed. A government offer earlier this month to hold November elections foundered after protest leaders made more demands.

Meanwhile, violence continued unabated on Bangkok's streets with security forces arresting a 12-year-old boy Tuesday morning for allegedly setting fire to several houses during the mayhem.

At least 37 people - mostly civilians - have been killed and 266 wounded since the government began a blockade last Thursday on a sprawling protesters' camp in the heart of Bangkok. Most of the unrest has flared outside the camp, with troops firing live ammunition at roaming protesters who have lit tires to hide their positions.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's administration gave the anti-government demonstrators, who have been entrenched in the upscale Rajprasong district for more than a month, a Monday afternoon deadline to leave or face two-year prison terms.

By Tuesday, there was still no exodus among the estimated 3,000 protesters remaining at the camp, and no sign of troops trying to break through their tire-and-bamboo barricades.

The Red Shirts, many of whom hail from the impoverished north and northeast, have been rallying in the city since March 12 in attempts to unseat Abhisit and force immediate elections. They say the coalition government came to power through manipulation of the courts and the backing of the powerful military, and that it symbolizes a national elite indifferent to their plight.
 

Combating Terrorism

I believe that Terrorism exist because there are certain people who are very frustrated with all the terrible things that have been going on for a very long lime in a society, i.e. Injustices, Corruptions and Poverty.

Therefore, if a society wants to combat Terrorism, the above mentioned causes should also be eradicated, otherwise the end result would not be maximum.

That's what I thought when I read in The Jakarta Globe (below) that President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) has called upon all Indonesians to help the government in combating terrorism.

May 17, 2010  Camelia Pasandaran

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says the aim of Islamists to 
implement Shariah law was "unacceptable" to the Indonesian 
people. (Bloomberg Photo/Ian Waldie)
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says the aim of Islamists to implement Shariah law was "unacceptable" to the Indonesian people. (Bloomberg Photo/Ian Waldie)

President Hits Out at Terrorists, Says Indonesia Will Never Be Islamic State


In some of his strongest comments against terrorists yet, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday called on all Indonesians to join the government in combating terrorism and their plans to establish an Islamic state governed by Shariah law.

“I call for all Indonesian people to join together in saving the nation, saving our people, saving us all from the terrorism threat and from irresponsible parties that act beyond the limits of humanity,” Yudhoyono said at Halim Perdana Kusuma airport in East Jakarta before leaving for an informal visit to Singapore.

“I also hope that all Indonesian regions, provinces, districts and municipalities, all regional leaders, military and police personnel, and all other parties remain alert and active and to contribute to preventing the development of terrorism in their own areas,” he said. “This is to save our children, our young generation, from being trapped by terrorism crimes.”

The National Police have recently arrested and killed several terrorist suspects in Aceh, Central and West Java, and Jakarta. The police have revealed that the terrorists were planning to assassinate the president and high-ranking officials in a bid to create an Islamic state.

Laying out the evidence and identifying the suspected terrorists arrested or killed since operations began in the mountains of Aceh in February, National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri recently described the plot to attack the Presidential Palace during Independence Day celebrations on Aug. 17.

Yudhoyono, speaking to journalists in offices adjoining the runway, said that several important terrorists had been arrested in the past but when they were released from jail fell back into their terrorist ways.

“What we’re actually facing now is those who have been controlling [the terror movement in Indonesia] for the last ten years ... with some more new members,” he said.

“What is interesting is the target of the terror,” he said. “In the past, they targeted foreigners, but now they are targeting our nation, our country, our government as the main target. They want to build an Islamic state, something that has been finished with in our history.”

Yudhoyono said that though Indonesia was not an Islamic state, Indonesia respected Islam and had adopted its values and aspects of its laws in building the nation.

“But if this group wants to push its intention to change the nation’s ideology, change the Constitution and the nation’s foundation, it is unacceptable for the Indonesian people. They’re against democracy while democracy is the result of reformation.”

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sangihe Island

Having more than 17,000 islands



Bendera Filipina Dikibarkan di Sangihe
Sabtu, 15 Mei 2010 | 07:53 WIB
sangihe.go.id
Wilayah perbatasan di Kabupaten Sangihe dan Kabupaten Talaud, Sulawesi Utara, memiliki potensi wisata yang luar biasa. Potensi itu antara lain kawasan laut yang tenang (atas) dan gunung berapi Karang Etang yang selalu mengepulkan asap.
TERKAIT:
MANADO, KOMPAS.com — Perhatian Pemerintah Indonesia yang lebih banyak tertuju pada pembangunan Pulau Jawa dan wilayah barat Indonesia adalah fakta yang memang usang. Itu sebabnya dibutuhkan cara membetot perhatian Jakarta supaya menoleh ke timur atau wilayah pinggiran yang lama terabaikan.
Pada titik itulah anggota Komisi I DPRD Sulawesi Utara, Ben Alotia, menyodorkan seruan yang mengagetkan. Ia meminta warga Kepulauan Sangihe dan Talaud mengibarkan bendera Filipina.
Penduduk di pulau paling utara Indonesia yang dekat dengan Filipina itu sejak lama lebih banyak diuntungkan oleh kebijakan Manila ketimbang Jakarta. Selain banyak memakai barang-barang dari Filipina, penduduk di sana juga mendapat siaran televisi Filipina.
Seruan Alotia itu segera menyulut kontroversi di Sulut. Kecaman tanpa melihat substansi lebih jauh segera berkobar.
"Saya juga terkejut pernyataan itu seperti ungkapan serius. Saya tidak bermaksud begitu. Saya hanya bercanda menanggapi keluhan warga dan pemerintah di sana atas kondisi mereka," ujar Alotia di Manado, Jumat (14/5/2010).

Menanggapi Alotia itu, Sekretaris Komisi I DPRD Jhon Dumais menyatakan, seruan koleganya tersebut bukanlah ajakan untuk makar. "Ia sudah jelaskan kepada kami konteks ungkapan itu. Pernyataannya tidak serius dan terlontar begitu saja. Yang pasti, Kepulauan Sangihe dan Talaud masih wilayah Indonesia," katanya.

Wakil Ketua DPRD Arthur Kotambunan membenarkan, ketergantungan penduduk dua daerah itu terhadap Filipina sering terdengar. Bahkan, sejumlah warga ada yang mengibarkan bendera Filipina.

"Itu dulu ketika daerah tersebut sungguh-sungguh kurang mendapat perhatian pemerintah. Tetapi sekarang tidak lagi. Pemerintah pusat sudah mulai memberi perhatian khusus kepada mereka. Ada fasilitas-fasilitas khusus yang akan diberikan, termasuk membangun bandara di sana," jelas Arthur.

Arthur juga memaklumi jika penduduk di sana ada yang memasang bendera Filipina. "Kalau cuma pasang bendera, itu sama saja seperti memasang bendera Brasil, Argentina, Amerika, dan lainnya. Itu kan hanya aksesori, tidak ada unsur makar di situ," katanya. (Maximus Geneva, Fernando Lumowa)

Surfing and Yoga in Bali

Every year, people from all over the world come to the island of Bali  to enjoy its beautiful beaches, friendly people and wonderful culture.

This has attracted many people to build business in the island, one of them is an Australian lady namely Janine Hall who built a Surfing and Yoga Retreat. Please find the story below that I have quoted from Kompas.

Women Strike A Pose in Bali
Sabtu, 15 Mei 2010 | 09:56 WIB
 
KOMPAS.com - Janine Hall isn't the first mid-30s executive to decide there is more to life than a career that demands a 24/7 commitment. But she may be the first to decide the antidote to her mid-life crisis is to run off to Bali and set up a surfing and yoga retreat for women called Surf Haven Bali.
 
"I figured there had to be women like me who felt totally burnt out and wanted to just get away from everything and hang out with their friends," says Hall, a New Zealander whose fashion marketing career had necessitated stints living in London, Sydney and Tokyo. 
                                                                                                                     
Hall had loved Bali since childhood visits, so it wasn't difficult to pick a location. The yoga and surfing combination seemed a good fit with today's women and with Bali, she says.

"Lots of women are really into yoga and I decided to add the surfing element because of where we are situated and also it's a challenge that is totally refreshing," Hall says.
She also wanted quality accommodation. "You get to a point in life where you don't want to share bathrooms or stay in bunks." Consequently, guests stay at two luxury four-bedroom villas at the resort in Seminyak.

Hall has employed the Australian nutritionist and award-winning restaurateur, Samantha Gowing, to design the menu with a view to using local produce and maximising health benefits. "We did surveys and found that nutrition is uppermost in our guests' wish list," she says.

Gowing turned the Grace Darling Hotel into one of Melbourne's first gastro pubs during the 1990s. She now runs Gowings Food Health Wealth, a successful nutrition and well-being business in Byron Bay, as well as consulting to the spa industry, here and internationally.

The seven-day retreats each month are limited to eight women. Packages including accommodation, 15 hours of surfing tuition (with instructors trained by the Australian Surf Industry Training) daily yoga and meditation classes, three hours of spa treatments, all meals, a full-day Bali tour and airport transfers, are priced from $2311, twin share.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Darkest Month of May

The month of May in the year 1998 is one of the darkest month in the history of the Republic of Indonesia.

It started on 4 May 1998 when thousands of students in Bandung, Yogjakarta and Medan protested against the increase of fuel price by the newly re-elected government of President Soeharto, which quickly developed into nationwide protest against the 32 years old authoritarian regime.

On 12 May, four students of the University of Trisakti, Jakarta were shot to death by snipers causing the students' take over of the building of the House of Representative (DPR), followed by violence which targeted the businesses of Chinese minority ethnics, many of their shops and houses were destroyed and their females raped.

The most horrible thing was that at that time the security forces do not seemed to be available in Jakarta, therefore causing a big tragedy and many people died/injured and their shops/houses destroyed and looted by the rioters.

According to widespread rumors, the tragedy was masterminded by someone who had a powerful position in the Army ad closely related to Soeharto, therefore trying everything possible to defend and preserve his power.

On 21 May, Soeharto stepped down from his throne and hand over power to Vice President B.J Habibie.

Unfortunately, until this present moment, the tragedy is still a mystery. Those who were supposed to be responsible were still untouched by the laws. Even those who were officially supposed to be responsible for security at that time remain untouched by the law, and are now holding public offices.

Considering the above, I believe that if Indonesia wants to have a better condition, today and in the future, investigation of this tragedy should be re-opened and those responsible should be revealed and tried in the Court of Law. If the government do not want them punished, they can always be given them pardon.

Related media reports  :
- The Last days of President Soeharto (The Jakarta Globe)
- Indonesia Must Never Forget May Tragedy (The Jakarta Globe)
- Mei Pecas Ndahe (Ndoro kakung)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

British Toastmasters Invitation


Just got the news the Big Boss wants me to deliver that training to the whole staff department...OMG...what to DO?                        
 
                       Presenting a proposal for a prospective American investor...and DA*$...my English SUCKS

Have an interview invitation for a promising position with an MNC...will I be able to do well?

                     Now my Boss wants me to lead the monthly team meeting...goodness...what should I say? How to prepare?


Fellow Toasties,

Have you ever been in one of those stressful situations above? Or maybe you are in a similar situation right now? Do you realize that being in such a distress position can actually reveal to those around you how well your communication and leadership skills actually are? Would you prefer to transform those stressful situations to successful moments OR would you prefer to transform your distress into disgrace? Well, the choice is yours. But British Toastmasters Club is here to help you to achieve the former...transforming those stressful situations to become your successful moments...through the development of your communication and leadership skills...

SO...join us this Thursday as The British Toastmasters Club presents...

"MAYDAY!!! MAYDAY!!! MAYDAY!!!"

--- Ooh, this is an S.O.S ---

Thursday, May 20, 2010
6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Mercantile Athletic Club, World Trade Centre Building, 18th Floor

Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Jakarta - Selatan

Attendance Fee: Rp. 30,000

Learn the tips and tricks of effective communication and develop your leadership skills in a friendly, supportive, and sometimes crazy-filled-with-laughters environment at The British Toastmasters Club. Improve your communication skills, enhance your leadership skills and have fun with us!


To assist with meeting venue and catering, please confirm your attendance by Wednesday, May 19, 2010 by contacting Shabrina (0856 2288 934) / Mike (0855 100 6453).


************************************
To find out more about The British Toastmasters Club, please visit us at http://britishtoastmasters.wordpress.com
To find out more about Toastmasters International, please visit http://www.toastmasters.org
--
CINDY RESITA

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Susno: From Sinner to Saint?

Police Commissioner General Susno Duadji (55) is currently the most popular Policeman in Indonesia today.

But unlike most public officers who gained popularity when they were serving offices, Susno became popular after he resigned on November 2009.

Before that he was so unpopular due to his hostility to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in which he dubbed the KPK as Gecko, and the Police as Crocodile, implying that the former is weaker than the later. This remark was made after KPK learned about his connections with Corruption Cases investigated by KPK, a.o the mysterious 6,7 Trillion Rupiah Bailout of Bank Century and Anggoro Wijaya case.

After he resigned, Susno revealed undisclosed Police information to the public a.o by testifying against the Prosecution in the Court trial of former Chief of KPK Antasari Azhar, about middlemen in the handling of Police and Taxation cases that involve high ranking Police officers and the Tax Office. Some of the Taxmen and the middlemen have been arrested

Yesterday,  Susno was arrested by the Police on charges of Corruption and receiving Bribes. This arrest was protested by the Chief of the Constitutional Court and non-government organizations.

I hope that Susno's case would be processed according to laws based on the principle of presumption of innocence.

Please find below articles related to the above post.
- Susno Duadji (Wikipedia)
- Susno Duadji: Quo Vadis? (Multibrand)
- Susno Taken into Custody (Kompas) 
- Kapolri: Penangkapan Susno Sesuai Prosedur (Yahoo/Liputan6)
- Ketua MK: Seharusnya Susno tidak ditahan (Yahoo/Kompas)
- Penahanan Susno Melanggar HAM (Kompas)
- Setara Institute Kecam Penanhanan Susno Duadji (Tribune News)
.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bank Century for Lapindo Deal

Sri Mulyani's decision to resign from her job as Minister of Finance have made certain people very happy.

For Sri Mulyani, it means that she'll be able to take a prestigious position as Managing Director of the World Bank, and get away from politicians at the Parliament (DPR) who have been blaming her for the mysterious  6,7 Trillion Rupiah Bank Century Bailout.

For President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) and his Democrat Party, it means that it will calm down the protests in DPR against the Bank Century case, therefore regaining supports from political parties that formed the coalition government.

For SBY's political ally i.e. the Golkar Party, it means that no one will bother the businesses of its Chairman i.e. Aburizal Bakrie, especially PT Lapindo that has been responsible for the disastrous never ending flow of Hot Mud at Sidoardjo, East Java.
Golkar was very happy that they supported the creation of a Joint Secretariat for the Coalition and Bakrie became its Chief Executive Officer only two days after Sri Mulyani's resignation.

Considering that the Coalition Government also includes two political parties i.e. PKS and PPP, that supported DPR's Inquiry on the Bank Century case, I hope that the above political deal would not stop the investigation of the Bank Century case by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), and the fact finding efforts on the Lapindo Mud Flow.

Related articles :
- The Jakarta Post : World Bank appoints Sri Mulyani managing director
- Kompas : Life in Indonesia after Sri Mulyani moves to WB
- The Jakarta Globe : Reshuffle Hands Bakrie Leading Coalition Post

Airport's Full-Body Scanner

Since they were introduced several years ago, many people have protested the use of Full-Body Scanners at airports around the world, claiming that they invade privacy and may violate the Pornography Law. 
Apparently, Kompas reported (below) that such scanner has caused a fight among two airport security officers in the United States.  
I wonder whether such incident ever happened at the airports in Indonesia.

Penis Jokes Lead to Airport Security Assault
Jumat, 7 Mei 2010 | 09:19 WIB

KOMPAS.com - A US airport security screener allegedly beat up his colleague for poking fun at the size of his penis during testing of full-body image scanners.

Rolando Negrin was arrested after attacking a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) worker at the parking lot of Miami International Airport, The Miami Herald reported yesterday. 

                                    
Negrin had been the butt of his colleagues' jokes for a year after the security scanners - which are used to detect foreign objects hidden under a person's clothes, but also show a person's private parts - revealed he had a small penis.

The frustrated screener told police "co-workers made fun of him on a daily basis and ... he could not take the jokes any more and lost his mind".

Negrin waited for his colleague at the parking lot on Tuesday after work, saying he wanted to talk about "respect", the Miami New Times reported.

When the colleague refused to let him into his car, Negrin allegedly whipped out a baton and started hitting him on his arms and back.

The alleged victim was forced to kneel and say "I'm sorry" to Negrin, before getting into his car and speeding off, the Times reported.

Negrin was arrested the following day.

A TSA spokesman said in a statement his organisation had "a zero tolerance policy for workplace violence" and were "investigating to determine whether training procedures were violated".

Testing of full-body scanners already take place in 19 US airports, included Miami International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, CNN reported.

The scanners have caused controversy around the world since they came into use, with claims they invade privacy and may breach child pornography laws.

Full body scanners have been trialled at airports around Australia and the Federal Government announced in February they would be put into regular use in the next four years as part of a $200 million airport security shake-up.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Wives fighting for Husband's Office

I believe that Polygamy marriage is a personal matter of the man and woman who are involved in such kind of marriage.       

As long as such marriage is done according to the national laws, regulations and traditions in Indonesia and do not cause disturbances to society, and those involved do not hold public offices, I really don't care.

It is for this reason that I was very surprised when I read on The Jakarta Globe (below) about two wives of the Resident of Kediri, East Java, competing against each other in a regional election to replace their husband in office.

Claws Out as Two Wives Fight to Replace Husband in Office


What happens when two wives of an incumbent district head vie to replace their outgoing husband?

Hostility comes out into the open.

And that is exactly what is happening in the election in Kediri, East Java.

Haryanti is the first wife of district head Sutrisno. Among others, she will be running against Nurlaila, her husband’s younger wife.

Haryanti has the support of four political parties — the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the Golkar Party, the United Development Party (PPP) and the National Awakening Party (PKB).

Nurlaila’s ticket is being backed by the National Mandate Party (PAN) and some other factions not represented in the national legislature.

The hostility between the two wives was evident on Thursday when all the candidates were invited to explain their vision and mission at the Bukit Daun Hotel in Kediri.

It got off to a bad start when first wife Haryanti refused to shake hands with Nurlaila. 

As a consequence, a member of the audience threw a plastic glass of water at the candidates. It was not clear who the target was, as it failed to hit any of the three hopefuls. But chaos ensued.

The head of the Kediri General Elections Commission (KPU), Agus Edi Winarto, said he had tried his best to hold a debate among candidates before the elections on Wednesday.

Agus said he did not believe there was a political motive behind the incident and he was certain the candidates would behave themselves in the future.

He acknowledged the debate had been designed to prevent the candidates from confronting one another head on.

“We designed it with a mediator so that they could not directly argue against each other, in the hope that they would not try to attack each other,” Agus said.

Hostility between the two wives has been obvious for a long time.

During a presentation of the candidates’ vision and mission before Kediri’s Regional Legislative Council last month, the two wives previously refused to shake hands after the event.

Haryanti also left the building through another door to avoid having to meet Nurlaila.

While the two wives are currently squabbling for a position now held by their husband, he is busy facing corruption allegations over the construction of the Simpang Lima Gumul monument, which ate up billions of rupiah of the state budget.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Unilever still buys Indonesian Palm Oil

Last December, Unilever the world's largest consumer of Palm Oil stopped buying Palm Oil from PT Sinar Mas, the largest producer/supplier of Palm Oil in Indonesia.

However, according to Reuter (below) Unilever is still buying 65% of its Palm Oil from other suppliers in Indonesia.

In my humble opinion, as long as the Palm Oil producer/supplier do their business according to the valid laws and regulations therefore do not disturb/damage the forest and nature in Indonesia, there would not be any problem at all. 

Unilever unit says Indonesia remains key palm oil supplier

JAKARTA, May 5 (Reuters) - The Indonesian unit of Unilever (ULVR.L) (UNc.AS), the world's top palm oil buyer, on Wednesday said it gets 65 percent of its palm oil from Indonesia despite halting purchases from a unit of market leader Sinar Mas Group.

Unilever, which uses palm oil in such products as Dove soap and Ben & Jerry ice cream, cancelled its annual 20 million pound ($30.27 million) contract with one of its Indonesian suppliers, PT SMART (SMAR.JK) in December. SMART is part of Sinar Mas Group, Indonesia's biggest palm oil producer.

The move prompted speculation that Unilever might cut palm oil purchases from other Indonesian suppliers, but a spokeswoman for the company said it was still buying from Indonesia.
"About 65 percent of palm oil bought by Unilever worldwide comes from Indonesia. We only stopped buying from SMART but we are still buying from other Indonesian suppliers," said Maria Dewantini Dwianto, a spokeswoman for PT Unilever Indonesia (UNVR.JK).

SMART had shipped some palm oil cargoes up to April to fulfil an agreement made ahead of Unilever's decision to stop purchasing from SMART, Dwianto added.
Other palm oil suppliers in Indonesia include Musim Mas and an Indonesia unit of Singapore-listed Wilmar (WLIL.SI), she added.

Unilever consumes about 1.9 million tonnes of palm oil each year -- of which about four-fifths comes from Indonesia and Malaysia -- and has pledged to buy only from certified sustainable plantations from 2015.
Greenpeace has alleged that Sinar Mas, Indonesia's biggest palm oil producer and the second-biggest in the world, has been responsible for widespread deforestation and peatland clearance, practices which release vast amounts of carbon dioxide.

PT SMART and PT Unilever Indonesia agreed to appoint two independent auditors -- Netherlands-based Control Union Certification (CUC) and British Standard institute -- last month to investigate the environmental allegations.

SMART's president director, Daud Dharsono, has said that the independent auditors would complete their study by the end of June.

The allegations by Greenpeace prompted Nestle (NESN.VX) to stop buying palm oil from Sinar Mas, while agribusiness giant Cargill Inc [CARG.UL] has also threatened to remove Sinar Mas as a palm oil supplier. ($1=.6606 Pound) (Reporting by Telly Nathalia; Editing by Yoko Nishikawa and Sara Webb)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Who will benefit from Sri Mulyani's resignation?

Yesterday, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani (47) resigned from her cabinet post to accept a job as Managing Director of the World Bank starting 1 June 2010.
Later that day, President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) proudly announced that he has accepted Sri Mulyani's resignation so that she can take the prestigious international position.

This is a dramatic development of the Bank Century bailout case, in which the Parliament has blamed Sri Mulyani and Vice President Boediono responsible for the flow of 6.7 trillion Rupiah state money to save the bank.

Sri Mulyani's resignation has made most people in Indonesia aware that all the mambo jambo made by politicians in the Parliament (DPR) were only political maneuvers based on their own selfish motives.

In this regards, I would like to quote an article in The Jakarta Post  (below) about who will benefit from Sri Mulyani's resignation :

1. Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie. Mulyani said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in mid
    January, she believed her past actions had offended Aburizal.
2. Former tax chief Hadi Purnomo (now chairman of the Supreme Audit Agency). Hadi remains an influential
    figure at the tax office with numerous disciples despite being sacked by Mulyani in mid 2006. Hadi was
    reportedly furious over his dismissal.
3. Smugglers. A business group close with the police and military may have financed street rallies against 
    Mulyani after its illicit businesses were interrupted by Mulyani’s reform program.
4. Islamic parties (PKS, PAN, PPP).  Several lawmakers were reportedly resented  Mulyani’s refusal to
    contribute to the recent general election.
5. Mining companies: because of tax problems related to unpaid value-added tax.
6. Companies linked to SBY’s inner-circle: Several companies have been netted by Mulyani in tax dodging
    cases.

With Sri Mulyani's departure, Indonesia and the Indonesian people loose a very brave non particant leader who is a reformist, a seer of vision, and miner of truth, incomparable to all those politicians at the DPR who have been fooling around with her in the last 8 months.

Last but not least I would like to wish that Sri Mulyani will be successful with her new job, and I hope that she would want to return to Indonesia before the next national elections in 2014 so that Indonesia can have a much better hope for the future.