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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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July 24, 2000

Agence France Presse - July 24, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesian security forces seized more than 1,000 sticks of explosives from an inter-island ferry as it arrived in the riot-torn North Maluku island of Ternate. The explosives were found in the state-owned KM Ciremai ferry which arrived from Bitung in north Sulawesi on Saturday, said the Antara news agency.

Detik - July 24, 2000

Bagus Kurniawan/BI & LM, Jakarta – Approximately 80 students from Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta under the auspices of Student's Solidarity for Pagilaran Peasants (SMUPP) have staged a protest against their own University.

Detik - July 24, 2000

D. Sangga Buana/FW & AH, Jakarta – Nearly 1500 laborers staged a rally at the Jakarta Special Province Local Administration Office today to demand the increase in minimum regional wages, previously promised by Jakarta Governor, Sutiyoso.

Lusa - July 24, 2000

East Timor – The United Nations High Commission for Refugees announced Friday that it has withdrawn its personnel from the Betun refugee camp in Indonesian West Timor. UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told media in Geneva that the decision followed violent incidents carried out by armed militias opposed to the repatriation of East Timorese refugees.

Straits Times - July 24, 2000

Jakarta – Call it hubris, denial or sheer pragmatism. But among President Abdurrahman Wahid's inner circles, the burning question of the moment is not how long he can survive, but if he will sack Cabinet Secretary Marsilam Simanjuntak.

Jakarta Post - July 24, 2000

The Papuan People's Congress held in Jayapura, Irian Jaya, from May 29 to June 4 declared that the Irianese want to separate from Indonesia. Agus Alue Alua, the congress chairman and deputy secretary of the Papuan Presidium formed to follow up the congress, shares developments with The Jakarta Post's correspondent Neles Tebay.

Detik - July 24, 2000

Bagus Kurniawan/BI & LM, Yogyakarta – A spokesman for PT Pagilaran, embroiled in a land dispute with the University of Gadjah Mada and local peasants, has denied illegally seizing the peasant's land, stating that the peasants have illegally occupied the company's land and damaged crops.

Agence France Presse - July 24, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesian prosecutors plan to bring four of the country's most controversial figures to court next month, including former president Suharto, in a bid to dispel doubts over the government's reform agenda.

Indonesian Observer - July 24, 2000

Jakarta – A respected legal aid activist says the government must guarantee the security of witnesses who are scheduled to testify later this year on atrocities conducted by pro-Jakarta militias and the Indonesian Defense Forces in East Timor last year.

July 23, 2000

ASIET - July 23, 2000

On July 20, 800 farm workers from villages in South Sumatra demonstrated outside the District Administration Offices in the area of Muara Enim, near Palembang in South Sumatra.

July 22, 2000

Straits Times - July 22, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesia's Golkar party said it would be ready to be in the opposition and hinted that there would be a shake-up of its executive board ahead of the next general election in 2004.

South China Morning Post - July 22, 2000

Vaudine England and Agencies in Jakarta – President Abdurrahman Wahid, going some way to ease political tensions, apologised to Parliament yesterday for a confrontation that stems from his refusal to explain why he sacked two ministers earlier this year.

Sydney Morning Herald - July 22, 2000

Mark Dodd, Dili – The United Nations mission in East Timor yesterday said it had no plans to arrest notorious pro-Jakarta militia leader Eurico Guterres, who is implicated in human rights abuses committed about the time of last year's independence vote.

Agence France Presse - July 22, 2000

Jakarta – The Indonesian press yesterday slammed President Abdurrahman Wahid's refusal to explain to parliament his decision to fire two ministers, and warned that he was courting a political disaster of his own making.

Sydney Morning Herald - July 22, 2000

Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – Some of those politicians who angrily rebuked President Abdurrahman Wahid in parliament this week represent Golkar, the party that for years propped up the corrupt and brutal Soeharto dictatorship.

Bloomberg News - July 22, 2000

Tokyo – President Abdurrahman Wahid needs to reassert control over his fractured government if the country is to address problems like the slide in the currency and violent protests, World Bank President James Wolfensohn said here.

Jakarta Post - July 22, 2000

Jakarta – Minister of Mines and Energy Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has blamed the involvement of an "international movement" on growing protests against Indonesian mining operations.

Straits Times - July 22, 2000

Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – Claims by the Indonesian authorities about serious efforts being made to stem plantation fires in Sumatra are being challenged by environmentalists who say that legal action is doomed to fail.

July 21, 2000

Associated Press - July 21, 2000

Jakarta – State prosecutors investigating corruption charges against ex-President Suharto on Friday impounded an office building owned by charitable foundations linked to the former dictator. "The seizure of this building will prove that we are serious in dealing with the Suharto case," prosecutor Umbu Lagelozara said.

Straits Times - July 21, 2000

Jakarta – Dense haze, from forest and brush fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, forced the temporary closure of its most important airport yesterday, officials said.

Poor visibility of less than 700 metres at Medan city's Polonia airport forced the suspension of all flights for four hours early in the day, an airport official said.

Detik - July 21, 2000

D. Sangga Buwana/BI & LM, Jakarta – A new initiative to send Indonesian Defense Force personnel to Australia for training in defense management was announced today by the Indonesian Defense Minister, Juwono Sudarsono. The Australian Labor Party, currently in opposition, has initiated the education program.

Sydney Morning Herald - July 21, 2000

Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – President Abdurrahman Wahid yesterday refused to answer questions from angry MPs about his sacking of two ministers, setting the stage for a confrontation likely to plunge the country into prolonged political turmoil.

Agence Frnce-Presse - July 21, 2000

Jakarta – A relative of former Indonesian President Suharto who was arrested on drugs charges last month has been sent to a prison pending trial, reports said yesterday.

British Broadcasting Corporation - July 21 2000

Alex Kirby – A report by the World Resources Institute says the fires are symptomatic of "a far greater disaster – the systematic plunder and destruction of south-east Asia's greatest rainforests over the past three decades."

South China Morning Post - July 21, 2000

Vaudine England, Jakarta – Indonesian political confidence took a dive along with the rupiah yesterday as President Abdurrahman Wahid defied demands to explain his sacking of two ministers amid demonstrations and flag-burnings on the road outside Parliament.

Agence France Presse - July 21, 2000

Jakarta – European observers will be allowed to travel to the strife-torn Maluku islands in three months' time, Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid said in interview Friday.

July 20, 2000

Jakarta Post - July 20, 2000

Banda Aceh – Almost all of the approximately 20,000 refugees who sought shelter at Point-A area of the Exxon-Oil airport compound in Tanah Luas district of North Aceh were gone on Wednesday afternoon. Witnesses said security forces cajoled refugees to return by surrounding the area and firing warning shots into the air the night before.

Straits Times - July 20, 2000

Jakarta – A series of corruption charges have been brought to light within the last two months alone, but they only add to the numerous graft cases yet to be processed in the Indonesian legal system, much less resolved in court.

South China Morning Post - July 20, 2000

Vaudine England, Jakarta – Christian militias have formed in the North Maluku island of Halmahera, intent on wreaking vengeance against Muslim fighters, reports from the troubled area have confirmed.

Jakarta Post - July 20, 2000

Jakarta – PT Kaltim Prima Coal (KPC) finally reached an agreement with its striking workers on Wednesday that allowed for an immediate resumption of production in East Kalimantan.

Associated Press - July 20, 2000

Jakarta – At least 547 East Timorese refugees sheltering in squalid camps throughout Indonesian-controlled West Timor have died in the past nine months, the province's governor said Wednesday.

South China Morning Post - July 20, 2000

Vaudine England, Jakarta – President Abdurrahman Wahid is due to answer questions from a fractious Parliament today in what will mark the beginning of formal moves against him by a body he once dubbed a "kindergarten".

Detik - July 20, 2000

Jakarta – Hundreds of activists gathered a mere 500 metres from the parliament grounds today protested while the Golkar Party held the second day of it's annual leader's meeting.

Sydney Morning Herald - July 20, 2000

Justice John Dowd, Sydney – A royal commission is needed into why the Whitlam Government turned a blind eye to the Balibo killings, writes Justice John Dowd.

July 19, 2000

Detik - July 19, 2000

Hestiana Dharmastuti/BI & Lyndal Meehan, Jakarta – Megawati Sukarnoputri seems to be facilitating 'consensus' and playing her largely ceremonial role of Vice President to the hilt in recent weeks.

Straits Times - July 19, 2000

Jakarta – The husband and executive secretary to Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri are emerging as key advisers, providing guidance and support to the policies of Indonesia's most powerful woman.

Agence France Presse - July 19, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid faced international and domestic pressure Wednesday to end the bloody fighting between Muslims and Christians in the Maluku islands, which has raised the prospect of foreign peacekeepers.

Associated Press - July 19, 2000

Daniel Cooney, Jakarta – Police scuffled with anti-corruption demonstrators Wednesday, a day before Indonesia's president was to explain his firing of two ministers accused of graft.

Kompas - July 19, 2000

Around 100 students from the Trisakti University demonstrated at the Indonesian parliament (DPR) on Tuesday demanding that the DPR for a special council to solve the shooting of four Trisakti students on May 12, 1998.

Green Left Weekly - July 19, 2000

Jon Land - Up to 120,000 East Timorese are still languishing in refugee camps throughout West Timor 10 months after the post-referendum rampage by the Indonesian military and their pro-integration militia proxies forced around 290,000 East Timorese across the border.

La'o Hamutuk Bulletin - July 19, 2000

Dili – The Humanitarian Assistance and Emergency Rehabilitation Pillar recently released its three-part assessment of the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP). The East Timor CAP is a mechanism established in September 1999 to coordinate the overall humanitarian programme of the international community in the territory.

Indonesian Observer - July 19, 2000

Jakarta – Chairman of the Democratic People's Party (PRD) Budiman Sudjatmiko says President Abdurrahman Wahid and his National Awakening Party (PKB) will only be regarded as true defenders of democracy if they are willing to thoroughly resolve all major corruption cases that took place during the New Order regime of ex-president Soeharto.

July 18, 2000

Associated Press - July 18, 2000

Sydney – US Secretary of Defense William Cohen confirmed Monday that the US is reestablishing military links with Indonesia. But he denied his country is selling arms to Jakarta.

Sydney Morning Herald - July 18, 2000

George J. Aditjondro – The religious war between Christians and Muslims in Maluku (the Moluccas), which has taken anywhere between 3,000 and 10,000 lives in 18 months, is a tragedy that so far has not attracted much concern outside church circles in Australia.

Detik - July 18, 2000

LH, NL/FW, BS & Lyndal Meehan, Jakarta – The plot behind the bombing of the Attorney General's office on July 4 and its connection to the Suharto family continues to unfold. The bombs involved have been traced back to the Army and a former member of President Suharto's personal guard and four employees of one of Tommy's companies are being investigated.

Associated Press - July 18, 2000

Daniel Cooney, Dili – No one knows who really owns the blackened, burned-out building where Canadian businessman Kirk MacManus is trying to set up East Timor's first supermarket.

A Portuguese man claims it, saying the army threw him out when Indonesia invaded in 1975. Later, it housed an Indonesian bank. Then came East Timor's secession last year.

South China Morning Post - July 18, 2000

Vaudine England, Jakarta – Men in Indonesian military uniform have been filmed providing covering fire for Muslim fighters as they attacked a Christian neighbourhood in the violence-wracked Maluku Islands. The footage has highlighted Christian calls for foreign troops to intervene, but such a move would be politically dangerous for President Abdurrahman Wahid.

Detik - July 18, 2000

Djoko Tjiptono/BI & LM, Jakarta – Thousands of peasants from West Java have converged on the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) office and then the parliament complex in Central Jakarta today. They demanded the government revise agrarian laws and regulations which they say exploit the vast majority of Indonesians who make their living from the agrarian sector.

Associated Press - July 18, 2000

Daniel Cooney, Jakarta – Indonesia's military admitted Tuesday that some of its troops have taken sides in the long-running Christian-Muslim war in the Maluku islands.

Jakarta Post - July 18, 2000

Jakarta – A joint military-police investigation team initiated on Monday an inquiry into the involvement of both military and police personnel in the July 27, 1996 attack on the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) headquarters on Jl. Diponegoro in Central Jakarta.