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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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January 7, 2001

Straits Times - January 7, 2001

Jakarta – Question: What is the going rate for elected local office in most of Indonesia today? Answer: At least 1 billion rupiah (S$180,000).

Straits Times - January 7, 2001

Shefali Rekhi – Indonesia is lurching towards another crisis given the vulnerability of the economy and differences among the political elite, the head of a prominent Indonesian think-tank warned yesterday.

Indonesian Observer - January 7, 2001

Jakarta – The National Awakening Party (PKB) says it can't ban thousands of East Java Muslims from coming to Jakarta to stage rallies in support of embattled President Abdurrahman Gus Dur Wahid.

Indonesian Observer - January 7, 2001

Jakarta – Mining and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said yesterday that a presidential decree will soon be issued to delay handover of mining autonomy to the provincial administrations across the country for up to five years.

January 6, 2001

Associated Press - January 6, 2001

Banda Aceh – Separatist violence flared in Indonesia's troubled Aceh province, leaving 11 people dead, police and witnesses said Saturday. Friday's deaths – nine civilians, one police officer and a separatist rebel – bring to 24 the number killed this year.

Jakarta Post - January 6, 2001

Jakarta – A senior police detective revealed on Friday that one of four suspects in the Christmas Eve bombing case has confessed to having received explosives training in Afghanistan.

Agence France Presse - January 6, 2001

Jakarta – Indonesia's central bank has refused an order to freeze the bank accounts of a fugitive son of former president Suharto, saying it has no authority to do so, the state Antara news agency said Saturday.

Jakarta Post - January 6, 2001

Jakarta – Make or break talks on Aceh will commence in Davos, Switzerland, on Saturday with Indonesian government negotiators likely to make one final offer to Free Aceh Movement (GAM) representatives for special autonomy in the province.

Australian Financial Review - January 6, 2001

Tim Dodd – Which Asian political leader is blind, overweight and in delicate health, but likens himself to the celebrated Italian football star, Paolo Rossi? The answer? President Abdurrahman Wahid of Indonesia.

January 5, 2001

Agence France Presse - January 5, 2001

Jakarta – Police in the Indonesian capital have warned the public against a burgeoning blackmail racket in Jakarta run by groups posing as journalists who prey on government officials and businessmen.

The Australian - January 5, 2001

Robert Garran – Australia and East Timor remain far apart in crucial talks over revenue from the Timor Gap oil and gas fields that could become a mainstay of the new country's economy.

Associated Press - January 5, 2001

Jakarta – Rival villagers fought with guns and machetes in clashes that killed nine people on a resort island packed with tourists, police said Thursday.

Agence France Presse - January 5, 2001

Jakarta – Millions of Indonesian civil servants are pressing for new regional autonomy laws to be changed, fearing they will lose their salary ratings and promotion system, a report said Friday.

January 4, 2001

Agence France Presse - January 4, 2001

Jakarta – Per-capita income in Indonesia in the year 2000 stood at between 600 and 700 dollars, almost no improvement over 1999, according to a senior government economist.

Jakarta Post - January 4, 2001

Kupang – Following a clash between East Timorese refugees and local residents, hundreds of East Timorese refugees were returned to refugee camps, officials said on Wednesday. The refugees were returned to Noelbaki and Tuapukan refugee camps.

January 3, 2001

Agence France Presse - January 3, 2001

Banda Aceh – Separatist rebels in Indonesia's Aceh province said Wednesday they had warned Mobil Oil Indonesia, a subsidiary of US-based Exxon Mobil, to leave the region for its own safety.

World Socialist Web Site - January 3, 2001

Peter Symonds – A series of bomb blasts at churches in Jakarta and other cities across Indonesia on Christmas Eve underscores the country's political fragility and the tenuous character of President Abdurrahman Wahid's grip on power.

January 2, 2001

New York Times - January 2, 2001

Calvin Sims – Cianjur – In this verdant farm belt of West Java, where sorcery and superstition have deep roots, few were surprised last September when an angry mob decapitated a 70-year-old woman accused of casting spells that made people ill.

Jakarta Post - January 2, 2001

Jakarta – Jakarta Police admit that the simple methods used by the Christmas eve bombers have baffled investigators in their quest to uncover more evidence.

Jakarta Post - January 2, 2001

Jakarta – The National Police will remain a nationwide institution despite the implementation of regional autonomy, which started on Monday.

Jakarta Post - January 2, 2001

Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan – Brandishing sharp weapons, dozens of native Dayak tribesmen in the Tangkiling subdistrict here took to the Trans-Kalimantan highway on Monday following rumors of an impending attack by migrants.

Straits Times - January 2, 2001

Jakarta – Two months after former President Suharto's youngest son was ordered arrested, the ease with which he has evaded capture is causing increasing embarrassment to the country's beleaguered President.

Agence France Presse - January 2, 2001

Jakarta – A notorious former East Timorese militia leader went on trial here Tuesday charged with inciting criminal activities against the state during a weapons handover in West Timor.

Chicago Tribune - January 2, 2001

Uli Schmetzer, Jakarta – Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra loved fast cars and fast women, and at the peak of his playboy days he bought his own racetrack and a stake in Italian automaker Lamborghini.

Sydney Morning Herald - January 2, 2001

Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – When district administrators in the Indonesian province of Kalimantan, on Borneo, were asked to launch pilot projects for autonomy, they spent most of the money on luxury offices and official residences.

January 1, 2001

Human Rights Watch - January 2001

Pat Walsh - Australian Council for Overseas Aid April 2001

South China Morning Post - January 1, 2001

Vaudine England – The Government will keep control of foreign, defence, monetary, judicial and religious policy but devolve many other powers to legislatures at the district level under a law that comes into effect today.

Straits Times - January 1, 2001

Susan Sim, Jakarta – A son-in-law of former President Suharto, retired Lt-General Prabowo Subianto, has made legal history in the United States as the first person to be denied entry under the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Inside Indonesia - January-March, 2001

Mary S. Zurbuchen – Even seasoned observers had trouble predicting how difficult the 'post-Suharto era' would be. Yet, despite economic woes, social conflict and vacillating leadership, many Indonesians feel they have indeed embarked on a journey leading toward a more democratic society.

Inside Indonesia - January-March, 2001

Jack Rieley – Southeast Asia contains seventy percent of the world's total tropical peatland, mostly in Indonesia and Malaysia. But these vast peatland landscapes are under great pressure from years of resource exploitation and land development.

Agence France Presse - January 1, 2001

Jakarta – Indonesia on Monday began an unprecedented devolution of power to its regions in a momentous move aimed at keeping the vast archipelago – already fraying at the edges – together.

Inside Indonesia - January-March, 2001

Sidney Jones – Many knew Jafar as a political science student at New School University, New York. Others knew him as a leader of the very close Acehnese community in Woodside, Queens, where he'd lived since 1996. Some New Yorkers may have known him as one of the least aggressive taxi drivers this city has ever produced.

South China Morning Post - January 1, 2001

Chris McCall, Jakarta – Church investigators have detailed a catalogue of horrors perpetrated on Christians by Islamic militias in the Maluku Islands.

Hundreds of circumcisions were carried out with a single razor blade, they said, causing heavy bleeding and infection. Some women were subject to genital mutilation. Victims were sent into the sea for "disinfection".

South China Morning Post - January 1, 2001

Vaudine England – Near Jember, deep in East Java, is the Meru Betiri National Park, home to near-extinct panthers and one of the last great rainforests. But this park could be wiped out as a result of the new regional autonomy law.

Inside Indonesia - January-March, 2001

George J. Aditjondro – Widespread forest fires, covering significant proportions of Sumatra and Kalimantan, with its smoke and haze drifting to Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia, have become an almost annual occurrence in archipelagic Southeast Asia. Yet, the Indonesian government has not taken drastic steps to prevent their recurrence. Why?

Straits Times - January 1, 2001

Susan Sim, Jakarta – As the architect of the regional autonomy laws that take effect throughout Indonesia today, Professor Ryaas Rasyid used to tell district officials that if he believed Jakarta was not serious about devolving its powers to them, he would resign his Cabinet post. He is about to do so.

December 31, 2000

Associated Press - December 31, 2000 (abridged)

Banda Aceh – At least 17 people have been killed during the Muslim Eid Al-Fitr holiday in Indonesia's troubled province of Aceh, police and human rights workers said Sunday.

The continuing violence bodes ill for upcoming peace talks between the government and leaders of the separatist Free Aceh Movement. They are tentatively scheduled to take place January 5 in Geneva.

Dili - December 31, 2000

Compatriots! Timorese!

Mandiri - December 31, 2000

Jakarta – Defense Minister Mahfud MD yesterday brushed off suggestions he would step down, which came from local legislator and ex Finance Minister, Fuad Bawazier, "Unless it is requested by the President or the cabinet is dissolved,"

December 30, 2000

South China Morning Post - December 30, 2000

Jake Lloyd-Smith – The Defence Minister has accused supporters of former president Suharto over the wave of church bombings that hit the country on Christmas Eve killing 16 people.

South China Morning Post - December 30, 2000

Jake Lloyd-Smith and Reuters in Jakarta – The fugitive son of ex-president Suharto was caught by police after two months on the run – but escaped custody by jumping out of a window, President Abdurrahman Wahid said yesterday.

South China Morning Post - December 30, 2000

Chris McCall, Jakarta – A new separatist front in Indonesia's troubled Spice Islands is demanding that Jakarta "restore" the sovereignty of the Christian-dominated south.

AFX-Asia - December 30, 2000

Jakarta – The government plans to restructure the national intelligence system, the Jakarta Post reported, quoting defence Minister Muhammad Mahfud.

Jakarta Post - December 30, 2000

Bandung – Wawan Wahidin bin Engkos, whom police have described as a key witness in the wave of Christmas eve bombings, died here on Friday morning, raising the death toll in the bloody Sunday assault on nine cities to 17.

December 29, 2000

Jakarta Post - December 29, 2000

Indonesia commemorated Women's Day on December 22. The plight of women during the crisis of the past few years was among the highlights of a recent conference in Leiden on Indonesian women. Linawati Sidarto, a Leiden-based journalist, shares insights from the four-day talks.

South China Morning Post - December 29, 2000

Jake Lloyd-Smith, Jakarta – Indonesia's main intelligence agency is warning that the country is set for a tumultuous year ahead with a rise in separatist pressures and civil disturbances.

Associated Press - December 29, 2000

Lely T. Djuhari, Banda Aceh – Tired of daily jeers and insults, Natalia Dewi has done what she never thought she would – she has started wearing a headscarf. Although Roman Catholic, the college student is among hundreds of thousands of women covering up in accordance with Islamic law in rebellious Aceh province.

Asia Pulse - December 29, 2000

Bandar Lampung – Indonesia's human development index has continued to decline over the past two years to reach 109 out of 180 countries.

Speaking on the occasion of Id Fitri prayers here on Wednesday, administrative coordinator of the Health Ministry office in Lampung Drs Zamaksari Shahli MKM said that in 1998, Indonesia still ranked 105th on the human development index.

December 28, 2000

The Age - December 28, 2000

Mark Dodd, Dili – Somewhere in Indonesian West Timor, in a camp controlled by some of the most notorious militia thugs who fled East Timor after its people voted for independence in August, 1999, there is a 16-year-old girl called Juliana dos Santos.