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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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November 5, 1998

Jakarta Post - November 5, 1998

Jakarta – The Armed Forces (ABRI) has threatened to take stern action against anyone attempting to disrupt the Nov. 10 through Nov. 13 Special Session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) as it believes the event is the "only gateway" to a democratic Indonesia.

Indonesian Observer - November 5, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – A group of 50 retired military officials, former prosecutors and businessmen yesterday joined the popular faction of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) led by Megawati Soekarnoputri.

November 4, 1998

Wall Street Journal - November 4, 1998

Jeremy Wagstaff and Puspa Madani, Jakarta – A government-appointed team of generals, activists and officials has concluded its three-month investigation into riots that swept Indonesia in May, saying more than 60 women were raped and suggesting the unrest was stoked by a power struggle within the government.

Jakarta Post - November 4, 1998

Jakarta – The government line is that the Banyuwangi killing spree in East Java, which began in August and has since spread to Central and West Java, is a purely criminal case.

The Nation - November 4, 1998

Andreas Harsono – While Indonesians await the People's Consultative Assembly convention next month, State Secretary Akbar Tanjung is maneuvering within the ruling party. Andreas Harsono writes.

November 3, 1998

Agence France Presse - November 3, 1998 (slightly abridged)

Michael Thurston, Austria – UN-sponsored talks between East Timorese leaders broke down Tuesday without agreement on their demands for the future of the former Portuguese colony, delegates said.

South China Morning Post - November 3, 1998 (abridged)

Agencies in Dili and Jakarta – East Timorese resistance leader Jose Ramos Horta claims Indonesian troops have launched a major offensive against separatist rebels in the province.

Jakarta Post - November 3, 1998

Bandung – Army Chief of Staff Gen. Subagyo Hadisiswoyo vigorously defended on Monday the Armed Forces' business ventures, contending that all profits went to improve military personnel's welfare.

Down To Earth - Posted November 3, 1998

[The following is a translation of press release issued on October 10, 1998, by a number of Indonesian NGOS with regard to Mobil oil's activities in Aceh. For reasons of space, the full list of signatories was not included - James Balowski.]

November 2, 1998

Agence France Presse - November 2, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – Villagers in the Indonesian island of Madura have lynched three policemen to death believing them to be part of a wave of "ninja" murders in East Java, a press report said Monday.

Interpress Service - November 2, 1998

Sonny Inbaraj, Darwin – The disclosure of Indonesian army documents revealing higher than stated troop levels in East Timor grossly undermines Jakarta's credibility, amid sensitive talks over the territory's future.

Agence France Presse - November 2, 1998

Jakarta – In a sudden about-face, Indonesia's ruling Golkar party Monday proposed that students and opposition politicians be included in a controversial parliamentary session next week, the first since the fall of Suharto.

Agence France Presse - November 2, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesian inflation surged to almost 80 percent in October from a year ago, but dipped slightly from the previous month, official data showed Monday.

November 1, 1998

Down to Earth No. 39 - November 1998

The protests in the weeks immediately surrounding the fall of Suharto were largely mounted by urban-based students, workers and professional groups. Land reform – if mentioned – came at the end of lists of demands for the removal of the president, moves against corruption and reduced food prices. Since then, local communities have taken action into their own hands.

Down to Earth - November 1998

Mobil Oil Indonesia, the country's biggest producer of natural gas, has been linked to serious human rights violations in the war-torn north Sumatran region of Aceh.

Agence France Presse - November 1, 1998 (abridged)

Dili – Masked assassins killed an Indonesian policeman in the former Portuguese colony of East Timor Saturday a day after the stabbing murders of three other officials, reports said Sunday. Second Sergeant Josep Florindo Pereira was shot dead by five men believed to be pro-independence fighters at his home, the Antara state news agency and witnesses reported.

Down to Earth No. 39 - November 1998

The government has produced a new document on transmigration which describes the "achievements" of the past twenty five years and outlines the priorities for the future programme.

Down to Earth No. 39 - November 1998

A World Bank report on the government's project to convert a million hectares of peat swamp forests into rice-lands reveals how appalling the situation on the ground is.

Straits Times - November 1 1998

Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – Fifty organisations not represented in the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) are planning to stage massive protests here during the assembly's special plenary session next week.

October 31, 1998

The Australian - October 31, 1998

Don Greenlees and Robert Garran, Jakarta/Canberra – The leak of confidential Indonesian army documents on troop numbers in East Timor yesterday appeared to throw the armed forces headquarters in Dili into confusion.

The Australian - October 31, 1998

David Brearley – Australia's Timorese community was celebrating a victory last night it hopes will open the nation's doors to 1500 asylum seekers and free them from legal limbo.

Agence France Presse - October 31, 1998

Jakarta – Residents from seven villages in Lampung province destroyed part of a sugarcane plantation owned by Indonesia's largest business establishment, the Salim Group, after the company failed to settle a land dispute, a newspaper said Saturday.

October 30, 1998

Sydney Morning Herald - October 30, 1998

Has Australia got the Indonesia relationship right and is it getting it right for the future? We have steered a prudent course but there are times when we must make our voice more clearly heard... especially in military matters. David Jenkins reports.

Australian Associated Press - October 30, 1998

Karen Polglaze and Buni Yani, Jakarta – Indonesia admitted for the first time today that as many as 18,000 troops may be deployed in East Timor.

Sydney Morning Herald - October 30, 1998

Louise Williams – Indonesian and Australian military officials say joint special-forces exercises have been deferred for "technical reasons", but Australian defences sources say Canberra has concerns over the human-rights record of Indonesia's elite troops.

Agence France Presse - October 30, 1998

Jakarta – Hundreds of Moslems staged an angry demonstration here Friday to counter demands on the resort island of Bali that a minister step down for insulting Hindus.

The Australian - October 30, 1998

Don Greenlees – Confidential Indonesian army documents show the number of combat troops in East Timor has remained steady in recent months, in an embarrassing rebuttal of Jakarta's claims to have started troop withdrawals.

October 29, 1998

Agence France Presse - October 29, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – Some 300 Moslem students protested in front of parliament Thursday demanding the military ends its political role and calling for an investigation into the wealth of former president Suharto.

Agence France Presse - October 29, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – A group of Indonesian women Thursday campaigned against state-condoned violence by distributing flowers, pamphlets and black ribbons in a Jakarta main street.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation - October 29, 1998

A former Australian diplomat says Australia's Foreign Affairs Department has maintained sensitive files on East Timor. The diplomat says the files showed Australia had prior knowledge of – and agreed with – Indonesia's invasion of East Timor, and, that Foreign Affairs knew years ago that Indonesian soldiers had killed 5 Australian-based journalists.

Associated Press - October 29, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – About 100 workers demonstrated Thursday for the release of a jailed labor activist convicted of organizing a strike while former President Suharto was in power.

The rally came one day after 8,000 students demonstrated outside Indonesia's parliament in the biggest protest to hit the capital since violent unrest forced Suharto's resignation in May.

South China Morning Post - October 29, 1998

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – A report on the May riots has been delayed twice because military and government members on the inquiry team are opposed to the findings, sources said yesterday.

October 28, 1998

Agence France Presse - October 28, 1998

Jakarta – More than 3,000 students rallied near parliament Wednesday to demand Indonesian President B.J. Habibie resign and hand over power to a transitional government free from Suharto-era officials.

Sydney Morning Herald - October 28, 1998

Indonesia is struggling to find competent entrepreneurs to fill the vacuum left by ethnic Chinese who fled during the May riots. David Jenkins, Asia Editor, reports.

October 27, 1998

Wall Street Journal - October 27, 1998

Jay Solomon, Jakarta – President B.J. Habibie's plan to quickly sell off up to $15 billion in assets that debt-hit business groups must transfer to the government to repay loans has alarmed the International Monetary Fund, which has privately warned Jakarta the plan could damage the economy.

Sydney Morning Herald - October 27, 1998

The lid has been lifted on Indonesian politics – with 80 parties contesting the first free elections in 43 years. David Jenkins reports.

October 26, 1998

Sydney Morning Herald - October 26, 1998

To the outside world, Indonesia looks like a disaster waiting to happen. Even inside the country, there are fears that the upheavals of May which led to the overthrow of President Soeharto will be nothing compared with what lies ahead if the new government of President B.J.

Agence France Presse - October 26, 1998

Surabaya – Hundreds of people, angered when police refused to hand over to them a suspected killer, went on the rampage in the East Java town of Pasuruan, reports reaching here said Monday.

Sydney Morning Herald - October 26, 1998

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Indonesian community groups have for the first time formally joined East Timorese activists in calling for a referendum on independence for the troubled province, saying the East Timorese conflict remains a "major problem" for Jakarta.

Agence France Presse - October 26, 1998

Jakarta – A group of some 80 people Monday protested at the gates of the parliament, demanding that political parties be freed from the obligation to adhere to the state ideology "Pancasila".

The Australian - October 26, 1998

Don Greenlees – Indonesia's promised national elections could be postponed by up to two months because of delays in putting draft electoral laws to parliament and the likelihood of a drawn-out debate over the country's new political system.

October 25, 1998

Agence France Presse - October 25, 1998

Jakarta – Amid a massive show of force, the military warned it will not tolerate disruption of a crucial parliament session which will draw up the political parameters of post-Suharto Indonesia.

October 24, 1998

Sydney Morning Herald - October 24, 1998

Louise Williams – It is almost a pathetic image. Once they were the most powerful family in the land, accustomed to trotting the globe in their private aircraft and slicing up the national economy in their opulent living rooms, squabbling over contracts like children sharing out cake.

Suara Merdeka - October 24, 1998

Washington (Agencies) – The United States on Wednesday banned the use in East Timor of weapons supplied to Indonesia and continued a ban on education and training aid to the Indonesian Armed Forces.

October 23, 1998

Associated Press - October 23, 1998

Jakarta – At least five workers were injured and 35 others were being interrogated after a clash Friday between police and protesting workers in northern Sumatra, a Indonesia's human right group said Friday.

Dow Jones Newswires - October 23, 1998

Jakarta – The World Bank said Friday that a recent investigation conducted by the bank and the Indonesian Ministry of Education uncovered deficiencies and irregularities in the construction of World Bank-financed schools recently completed in East Java and West Sumatra.

October 22, 1998

Jakarta Post - October 22, 1998

Jakarta – The government stood its ground during the deliberation of its three political bills on Wednesday insisting that next year's general election use a combination of district and proportional representation systems. Represented by Minister of Home Affairs Lt. Gen.

Jakarta Post - October 22, 1998

Surabaya – Following threats made to Moslem preachers by unidentified people here, journalists have been warned that they will be among the next victims in the killing spree which has so far claimed more than 150 lives in East Java. The threats were printed on flyers and circulated widely among the public in the provincial town of Jember.

Reuters - October 22, 1998

Andrew Marshall, Jakarta, – Crisis-ridden Indonesia is not short of worries on the economic front, but policy makers are now grappling with an unexpected new concern – is the beleaguered rupiah bouncing back too strongly?

Agence France Presse - October 22, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesian President B.J. Habibie said he would not step down before 2000, as surveys published Thursday indicated the nation had mixed feelings on whether he should hang on or go now.