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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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December 14, 2020

Jakarta Globe - December 14, 2020

Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – More than 2,000 Covid-19 patients have died since December 1 as Indonesia is entering the worst period of the outbreak halfway through the month. At this point last month, there were 1,279 coronavirus-related deaths.

Jakarta Post - December 14, 2020

Jakarta – Authorities in East Java have prepped 2,400 staff for the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive.

Straits Times - December 14, 2020

Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja, Jakarta – Indonesian vigilante group Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI) has enticed ex-members of disbanded Muslim hardline group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) to join them, and conducted army-like training for young recruits.

Jakarta Post - December 14, 2020

Jakarta – As Indonesia continues its struggle to control the COVID-19 pandemic, many regions have come up with creative ways to curb the spread of the disease, including various punishments for those caught violating health protocols.

The Jakarta Post has compiled a list of unique measures imposed by regional administrations across the country.

Central Java

Jakarta Post - December 14, 2020

Jakarta – As COVID-19 case figures keep rising, hospitals need to restructure their health services to help curb virus infection and survive the pandemic.

On Sunday, Indonesia logged another day of more than 6,000 new cases, contributing to a cumulative 617,820 confirmed cases, which includes 505,836 recoveries and 18,819 fatalities.

Jakarta Globe - December 14, 2020

Jayanty Nada Shofa & Natasha Christy Wahyuni, Jakarta – Foreign Affairs Ministry's spokesman Teuku Faizasyah denies Israeli media claims of Indonesia seeking to normalize diplomatic ties with Israel.

Jakarta Post - December 14, 2020

Adrian Wail Akhlas, Jakarta – Retail sales in Indonesia dropped significantly in October and are expected to drop further in November in another sign that the nation's economic recovery is losing steam as people's purchasing power remains sluggish as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

December 13, 2020

Jakarta Globe - December 13, 2020

Jakarta – Firebrand Muslim cleric Rizieq Syihab wore an orange vest as he walked out of the Jakarta Police's interrogation room just after midnight on Sunday, a confirmation that he was detained right after the interrogation.

Jakarta Globe - December 13, 2020

Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – The number of coronavirus-related deaths in Indonesia has been rising steadily in the last three weeks, during which 100 or more people died of the virus every day.

The previous longest run of three-digit daily deaths was 12 days.

Jakarta Post - December 13, 2020

Jakarta – As COVID-19 cases in Tasikmalaya, West Java increase, Tasikmalaya acting mayor M. Yusuf has said the administration is turning a hotel in the city into a COVID-19 emergency hospital.

"We are almost done with preparations and will probably start operating tomorrow or the day after," Yusuf said as quoted by kompas.com on Friday.

Associated Press - December 13, 2020

Indonesian police have arrested a man believed to be the military leader of the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network who has eluded capture since 2003, and is suspected of being involved in the 2002 Bali bombings, authorities said Saturday.

Jakarta Post - December 13, 2020

Jakarta – Many pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) in Indonesia are reportedly ill-prepared to handle the COVID-19 pandemic as the number of confirmed cases at the facilities has been rising.

Jakarta Post - December 13, 2020

Jakarta – Controversial Islamic cleric and leader of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) Rizieq Shihab was arrested on Saturday after undergoing questioning in a case pertaining to the alleged breaching of COVID-19 restrictions by staging several mass gatherings.

Jakarta Post - December 13, 2020

Jakarta – The government will prioritize Java and Bali islands for the first round of vaccination programs due to their high number of COVID-19 cases.

"Out of the 10 provinces with the most confirmed cases, most of them are in Java and Bali islands," national vaccination program spokeswoman Siti Nadia Tarmizi said on Wednesday as quoted by tempo.co.

December 12, 2020

Tempo - December 12, 2020

Jakarta – The spread of the coronavirus is becoming increasingly worrying. The government needs to immediately show seriousness in putting right its mistaken policies in order to bring the pandemic under control.

Jakarta Globe - December 12, 2020

Jakarta – Rizieq Syihab, the self-proclaimed supreme leader of hardline group Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, arrived at the Jakarta Police headquarters for a questioning on Saturday after he was named a criminal suspect over allegation of violation to the health protocol during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jakarta Post - December 12, 2020

Jakarta – The chairman of the South Tangerang General Elections Commission (KPU South Tangerang), Bambang Dwitoro, died from COVID-19 on Saturday after a week of hospital treatment and shortly after the region took part in the 2020 regional elections.

Kompas.com - December 12, 2020

Irfan Kamil, Jakarta – The Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy has released its human rights performance index for the first year of the second term of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, who were inaugurated on October 20, 2019.

Business Insider - December 12, 2020

Robert Leslie – In a wild animal market in Indonesia's North Sulawesi province, bats are still on the menu.

Many of them are caught by hunters in forests using nets and hooks. Once at the market, their wings are removed, their fur scorched off using a blow torch, and they're then skewered ready for cooking.

Civil Beat - December 12, 2020

Kevin Knodell – On a rainy November day outside of Wahiawa at the 25th Infantry Division's Lightning Academy, a platoon of U.S. Army Cavalry scouts trained with Indonesian paratroopers in the jungle.

Jakarta Post - December 12, 2020

Jakarta – Nearly a week after the fatal incident that killed six of his supporters, Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab voluntarily went to the Jakarta Police headquarters on Saturday to fulfill a police summons for questioning in a case in which he has been named a suspect for allegedly violating COVID-19 health protocols.

Jakarta Globe - December 12, 2020

Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – Newly coronavirus cases in West Java have been spreading at the speed matching that of worst-hit Jakarta since the beginning of the month while several other hotspots also see an upturn.

Indonesia recorded 6,388 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of positive cases to 611,631, according to the Health Ministry data.

CNN Indonesia - December 12, 2020

Jakarta – The deliberation of the Draft Law on the Eradication of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS) is still the subject of a polemic. Some parties, including for example the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) believe the law will be able to push down the level of sexual violence and protect victims.

New York Times - December 12, 2020

Richard C. Paddock, Bangkok – It has been 59 years since separatists in the Indonesian territory of West Papua raised their red, white and blue flag and declared independence. The region has been in conflict ever since.

Jakarta Post - December 12, 2020

Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – A 30-year-old mother in North Sumatra has allegedly killed her three toddlers because she could not bear the economic burden of caring for them.

The woman and her husband lived with their parents, their three toddler sons and another older child in Banua Sibohou, Namohalu Esiwa district, North Nias regency.

Jakarta Post - December 12, 2020

Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – The Pematang Siantar Police in North Sumatra have named four men as suspects for bathing a deceased body of a female patient suspected to have contracted COVID-19 in Djasamen Saragih regional hospital (RSUD), following a report from her husband over alleged mishandling and sharia violation.

December 11, 2020

Radio New Zealand - December 11, 2020

Johnny Blades – Catholic priests in West Papua have appealed for reconciliation and dialogue to address ongoing armed violence in their region.

A statement has been issued by 147 priests from across the Indonesian-administered provinces of West Papua and Papua.

Coconuts Bali - December 11, 2020

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is optimistic about Bali's readiness to welcome tourists before Christmas, hailing the province's safety protocol during the pandemic as "excellent."

Jakarta Post - December 11, 2020

Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – A number of incumbents in the North Sumatra regional elections are losing to challengers who have strong support from many political parties, quick counts have shown.

Medan acting mayor Akhyar Nasution has made fewer gains than Bobby Nasution, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's son-in-law, according to various pollsters.

Jakarta Post - December 11, 2020

Jakarta – The Bali provincial administration will allow hotels, restaurants and tourists destinations to hold the upcoming New Year's Eve celebration under COVID-19 health protocols in a bid to revive the famed resort island's tourism sector.

There have not been any restrictions issued by the administration, Bali Tourism Agency head Putu Astawa said.

Kompas.com - December 11, 2020

Achmad Nasrudin Yahya, Jakarta – The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) has highlighted the weakness of the legal framework for women who fall victim to violence.

ICJR researcher Maidina Rahmawati said that in the current context the existing legal framework needs to be reformed to provide better guarantees for women victims of violence.

Jakarta Globe - December 11, 2020

Jakarta – N219 Nurtanio, an aircraft produced by state-owned aerospace company Dirgantara Indonesia, has completed its final test flight successfully on Friday, clearing the way for its inaugural commercial flight in the country next year, the Science and Technology Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said.

Jakarta Post - December 11, 2020

Budi Sutrisno, Jakarta – Indonesia reached 600,000 cumulative COVID-19 cases on Friday and set a single-day fatality record as the country's outbreak showed no sign of abating.

The Health Ministry confirmed 6,310 new cases on Friday, bringing the cumulative total to 605,243 cases.

Mongabay - December 11, 2020

Hans Nicholas Jong, Jakarta – A major sawmill operation linked to widespread deforestation and corruption in Indonesia has had its legality certification revoked by the licensing authority over allegations of a forged permit, meaning it will not be allowed to export any wood products.

Jakarta Post - December 11, 2020

A. Muh. Ibnu Aqil, Jakarta – The families of six slain Islam Defenders Front (FPI) supporters have spoken up about their deceased family members to lawmakers following their deaths at the hands of the police in an alleged altercation on Monday amid the police's move to name the group's controversial leader a suspect of COVID-19 health protocol breach.

Jakarta Post - December 11, 2020

Jakarta – Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Fadil Imran has questioned the public's reactions to recent criminal acts and crowd gatherings amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which he says can claim lives.

His comment comes amid the brouhaha over the deaths of six Islam Defenders Front (FPI) members in a case related to health protocol violations.

AsiaNews - December 11, 2020

Mathias Hariyadi, Jakarta – In Indonesia, the urgent need to fight COVID-19 is facing certain uncertainties, most notably the logistical problem of distributing the vaccine across the country's 6,000 inhabited islands (out of a total of 17,000) and the doubts about the effectiveness of the vaccine produced by China's Sinovac Biotech.

Jakarta Globe - December 11, 2020

Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – The total number of coronavirus cases in Indonesia passed the 600,000 mark on Friday amid ongoing surge in new infections and daily deaths, which also saw a new record.

It took just 18 days for the country to reach the grim milestone since the number of cases reached half a million on Nov. 23.

Catholic News - December 11, 2020

Arya Kiet – Coinciding with International Human Rights Day today, December 10, 147 Catholic priests in Papua have called for an end to violence in Papua and have requested that bishops give more serious attention to the issue for the sake of the safety of religious community members in Indonesia's eastern-most provinces.

Jakarta Post - December 11, 2020

Nina A. Loasana, Jakarta – Unwanted pregnancies have risen amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the back of restricted access to contraceptive services, women's rights activists revealed in a discussion on Thursday.

Jakarta Post - December 11, 2020

Jakarta – The Supreme Court has rejected a case review petition filed by the Jakarta administration contesting a ruling issued by the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) over the reclamation permit of islet G, part of the controversial reclamation project off of Jakarta Bay.

Jakarta Post - December 11, 2020

Jakarta – Supreme Court justice Dudu Duswara Machmudin died on Thursday evening at Sentosa Asih Hospital in Bandung, West Java, after testing positive for COVID-19. He was 69.

His death was confirmed by Supreme Court spokesman Andi Samsan Nganro on Thursday, kompas.com reported.

December 10, 2020

Indonesia at Melbourne - December 10, 2020

Yolanda Pandjaitan and Roni – A key achievement of Indonesia's democratisation was the implementation of regional autonomy. New laws on regional administration (No. 22 of 1999 and No. 32 of 2004) established the direct election of leaders and lawmakers at the local level.

Tempo - December 10, 2020

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – Several candidates affiliated with political dynasties are predicted to win in the 2020 Regional Head Election or Pilkada.Although the official result has not been announced yet, the quick count results and the General Election Committee (KPU) temporary vote count showed they were ahead of their rivals.

Jakarta Globe - December 10, 2020

Bayu Marhaenjati, Jakarta – Firebrand cleric Muhammad Rizieq Syihab was named a suspect on Thursday for violation against the health protocols in a continuing saga after police killed his six followers during a highway chase three days earlier.

Jakarta Globe - December 10, 2020

Heru Andriyanto, Dina Manafe, Jakarta – Indonesia has added 60,050 coronavirus cases since the beginning of the month with the country's four most populous provinces accounting for 60 percent of the figure amid an upturn in newly cases.

Jakarta Post - December 10, 2020

Nina Loasana, Jakarta – The plastic recycling industry, a key player in the country's ambitious goal to cut waste by 30 percent and marine plastic debris by 70 percent by 2025, faces mounting challenges that hinder its progress to recycle more of the 4.8 million tons of mismanaged plastic produced in the country each year.

Jakarta Post - December 10, 2020

A. Muh. Ibnu Aqil, Jakarta – The Islam Defenders Front (FPI) has recovered the bodies of six members who were recently killed during an alleged shootout with police, and returned the bodies to their families for burial. The group denies the police version of events and provided details that could point to ill intent among law enforcement.

Jakarta Post - December 10, 2020

Jakarta – COVID-19 testing capacity in Indonesia has slightly increased on a weekly basis as the country aims to test 267,000 people per week, as targeted by the World Health Organization (WHO).

ABC News - December 10, 2020

Anne Barker – With its first shipment of China's experimental CoronaVac vaccine arriving this week, Indonesia still faces a mammoth task to combat the continuing surge in infections from the coronavirus.