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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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September 19, 1997

News ›› East Timor ›› Refugees & Asylum Seekers
Reuters - September 19, 1997

Jakarta – Six East Timorese, including a couple with two children, broke into the Austrian embassy in Jakarta on Friday and demanded political asylum, police sources said.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the six entered the embassy at about 10 a.m. (0300 GMT) and were still inside. Embassy officials were not immediately available for comment.

September 18, 1997

News ›› East Timor ›› Arbitrary Arrest & Detention
Amnesty International - 18 September, 1997

Up to 13 East Timorese men have been arrested in Dili, the capital of East Timor, and near the town of Semarang on the Indonesian island of Java. It is not clear if the detainees have been granted access to independent legal assistance, raising fears that they may be at risk of torture or ill-treatment if still held incommunicado for interrogation.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Riots & Attacks on Authority
South China Morning Post - September 18, 1997

Naomi Lee, Jakarta – Anti-Chinese riots in Ujung Pandang, which continued for a third day yesterday, have claimed three lives, police said, as victims of the violence - including Hong Kong businessmen - told of their terror at the hands of rampaging mobs.

The riots were sparked when an apparently mentally disturbed Chinese man stabbed two Muslim girls on Monday night.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Environment & Natural Disasters
Sydney Morning Herald - September 18, 1997

Louise Williams, Pringluan, Central Java – More than three months ago the wells dried up and the villagers began to gather to pray for rain, the elders murmuring fearfully about the last great drought of 1962 when they ate boiled bark and rats.

September 17, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› Elite Conflicts & Power Struggles
The Nation - 17 September, 1997

It may not seem to be a privileged position, but the House speaker is the key to who could succeed Suharto, writes The Nation's Andreas Harsono.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Environment & Natural Disasters
Sydney Morning Herald - September 17, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – President Soeharto has publicly apologised to Indonesia's neighbours over thousands of forest fires which have sent a thick haze of smoke as far north as Kuala Lumpur, exposing tens of millions of people to dangerous levels of air pollution.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Riots & Attacks on Authority
CNN - September 17, 1997

Ujung Pandang – Streets in the city of Ujung Pandang were quiet Wednesday, after security forces managed to quell two days of anti-Chinese rioting, a human rights group said.

Schools, shops and offices were closed in the provincial capital, about 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) northeast of the national capital, Jakarta.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Economy & Investment
Reuters - September 17, 1997

Muklis Ali, Jakarta – Indonesia announced deep, wide-ranging spending cuts and delays in major projects on Tuesday to help cope with currency and share market upheavals.

Finance Minister Mar'ie Muhammad told a parliamentary commission that projects worth some 39 trillion rupiah ($13 billion) would be postponed, and projects worth 63 trillion rupiah would be reviewed.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Riots & Attacks on Authority
The Nation - 17 September, 1997

Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – More than 200 Chinese-owned shops and dozens of vehicles were damaged in an riot which broke out in the capital of Indonesia's South Sulawesi province yesterday after an ethnic Chinese man hacked an indigenous Bugis girl to death with a machete.

September 16, 1997

Statements ›› Indonesia ›› Anti-Dictatorship Struggle
KNPD Yogyakarta - 16 September, 1997

[The following is a slightly abridged translation of a press release sent to ASIET by the National Committee of Democratic Struggle (KNPD, Komite Nasional Perjuangan Demokrasi) in support of the Gadjah Mada University (UGM) Student Action Council (Aksi Dewan Mahasiswa Universitas).]

News ›› Indonesia ›› Environment & Natural Disasters
Straits Times - September 16, 1997

Batam – A Batam company is selling large quantities of water daily to Singapore even though the island is suffering from a water shortage, an Indonesian newspaper has reported.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Riots & Attacks on Authority
Reuters - September 16, 1997

Jakarta – Mobs stoned shops owned by ethnic Chinese and burned cars in the capital of Indonesia's South Sulawesi province on Tuesday after a young girl was hacked to death, police said.

They said the rioting was sparked after an ethnic Chinese man killed a girl from the local Bugis community in the provincial capital Ujung Pandang on Monday night.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Environment & Natural Disasters
Reuters - September 16, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia abruptly shifted an ASEAN environmental meeting opening on Tuesday to Jakarta from remote Sulawesi due to smoke haze causing a pollution emergency over parts of Southeast Asia.

Indonesia's President Suharto was officially opening the meeting of environment ministers of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

News ›› Indonesia ›› Economy & Investment
Reuters - September 16, 1997

Raju Gopalakrishnan, Jakarta – Big spending cuts unveiled in Indonesia on Tuesday will severely affect President Suharto's family, among the most sheltered members of the country's business elite, economists said.

September 15, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› Anti-Dictatorship Struggle
Info-Pembebasan - September 15, 1997

[The following is slightly abridged translation of a statement sent to ASIET by the underground Peoples' Democratic Party (PRD)]

News ›› Indonesia ›› Labour & Migrant Workers
Asia Human Rights Alert - September 15, 1997

Muchtar Pakpahan, 43, is the president of the Indonesian Prosperity Trade Union (SBSI), an independent trade union in Indonesia founded in 1992 that presently has 250,000 members. Pakpahan was arrested on 29 July 1996 and initially charged with subversion for his alleged involvement in the 27 July 1996 opposition demonstration.

September 14, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
EBRI - September 14, 1997

Two books have just been launched about journalists victimized by the Indonesian law on the freedom of the press. Terbunuhnya Udin (The Murder of Udin) details the death of Fuad Muhammad Syafruddin (known as Udin), who worked for the Yogyakarta-based daily newspaper Bernas.

September 13, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› Parliament & Legislation
DIGEST No. 41 (Indonesian news with comment) - September 13, 1997

The People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) in March next year will be entirely predictable. The president may have made his peace with the armed forces and thus expect a smooth ride. However, as the crucial MPR session approaches, when Suharto will be appointed president for probably the last time, nothing is left to chance.

September 12, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› Anti-Dictatorship Struggle
Sydney Morning Herald - September 12, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Five years after his capture in the jungle by Indonesian troops, the jailed East Timorese independence leader, Xanana Gusmao, is still fighting his war.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Anti-Dictatorship Struggle
Antara - September 12, 1997

Dili, East Timor – East Timor Governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares on Thursday turned down South African President Nelson Mandela's call to award special autonomy to the Indonesia's27th province.

"We must ask ourselves whether or not we are ready to be autonomous. In fact, nearly 99 percent of East Timor's development budget comes from the central government," Abilio said.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Mysticism & The Supernatural
DIGEST No. 40 (Indonesian news with comment) - 12 September, 1997

A strange hysteria has spread through Central Java since last April, leading villagers to beat up people at night they suspect of being zombies (hantu pocong, the walking dead). Four people died in July, and more have been taken to hospital with serious injuries before and since. The incidents began shortly before the parliamentary elections and continue until the present day.

September 11, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› Anti-Dictatorship Struggle
Lusa - September 11, 1997

Lisbon – Portugal's foreign ministry in Lisbon on Wednesday accused the Indonesian government of "rejecting once again any positive evaluation of the situation" in East Timor.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Anti-Dictatorship Struggle
Lusa - September 11, 1997

New York – Portugal has formally denounced a new agreement between Australia and Indonesia on the "permanent" demarcation of an exclusive economic zone in the Timor Sea.

A United Nations document on the matter was obtained by LUSA in New York on Wednesday.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Anti-Dictatorship Struggle
Antara - September 11, 1997

Dili – A government official from East Timor province is convinced that East Timor is open to foreign journalists who attempt to cover the area, a member of local House Representative, Florentino, said here Thursday.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Tapol - September 11, 1997

A North Sumatran network of NGOs has sued the local police for banning its Annual General Meeting in June this year. The police accused the organisers of failing to obtain a police permit for the meeting, even though according to a recent regulation, no permit was needed.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Associated Press - September 11, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia's president might not attend an Asia-Pacific leaders' summin in Canada in November because of possible protests over his country's human rights record in the troubled territory of East Timor, the foreign minister said Wednesday.

September 10, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› TNI Defense & Military Operations
Antara - September 10, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian Navy is planning to purchase five modern submarines from Germany, Navy chief of staff, Admiral Arief Kushariadi, said after inaugurating a telecommunication post here Tuesday.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Poverty & Social Inequity
Voice of America - September 10, 1997

Indonesians living in the Eastern part of the country are more likely to die at birth; not be able to read; and have no access to safe water than their fellow indonesians living on the islands of Java and Sumatra, according to a new government report. Jenny Grant reports from Jakarta.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Environment & Natural Disasters
Reuters - September 10, 1997

Jim Della-Giacoma, Gelumbang – Dusk comes an hour early each day in this part of Indonesia's Sumatra island as a pall of smoke rising from a patchwork of grass and scrub fires blankets the region and neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Foreign Affairs & Trade
Australian Associated Press - September 10, 1997

Karen Polglaze, Jakarta – Indonesian President Suharto might stay away from the November APEC leaders' meeting if Canadian authorities could not guarantee control of demonstrations over East Timor, Foreign Minister Ali Alatas said today.

News ›› Indonesia ›› TNI Defense & Military Operations
South China Morning Post - September 10, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – Indonesia must be led by a former member of the military until the year 2005, according to a top analysts.

Juwono Sudarsono, vice-governor of the National Resilience Institute, a military think-tank, said civilian bureaucrats were "lazy" and "not qualified" to lead the country.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Environment & Natural Disasters
South China Morning Post - September 10, 1997

Associated Press, Jakarta – Worried about a constant smoke haze hanging over his country and its neighbours, President Suharto yesterday imposed an immediate ban on lighting fires to clear forest land.

Environment Minister Sarwono Kusumaatmadja said Mr Suharto had ordered plantation companies to stop all land clearing.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Anti-Dictatorship Struggle
Reuters - September 10, 1997

Raju Gopalakrishnan, Jakarta – Indonesia can consider releasing East Timorese rebel leader Xanana Gusmao but only as part of a comprehensive solution on the troubled territory, Foreign Minister Ali Alatas said on Wednesday.

September 9, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› TNI Defense & Military Operations
Straits Times - September 9, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian House of Representatives yesterday passed a package of four Bills on security and defence which, among others, authorizes the President to mobilise citizens for war. The Bills are on military tribunal, mobilisation and demobilization, military discipline, and police.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Anti-Dictatorship Struggle
Reuters - September 9, 1997

Johannesburg – South African President Nelson Mandela said on Tuesday the former Portuguese colony of East Timor should be awarded autonomy from Indonesia to end conflict over the territory.

September 6, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Tapol - September 6, 1997

One of the most disappointing developments during the visit to Indonesia last month of the British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, was the cancellation of his meeting with ailing independent trade union leader, Muchtar Pakpahan. Had this taken place, this would have been the only public display of support for a victim of human rights violations by the Indonesian regime.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
Tapol - September 6, 1997

During his visit to Indonesia on 29-30 August 1997, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook held a meeting with representatives of four Indonesian human rights NGOs. The meeting was extremely brief. Originally, it was to have lasted half an hour but this was reduced to fifteen minutes. Even so, Robin Cook arrived late.

September 5, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
SiaR - September 5, 1997

[The following is an abridged translation of a statement dated September 2, 1997, by the Department of Education and Culture, Syiah Kuala University Student Senate posted by SiaR. The title was the translator's choice.]

News ›› Indonesia ›› Environment & Natural Disasters
Reuters - September 5, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian Environment Minister Sarwono Kusumaatmadja has identified three local firms that cleared land for agriculture through illegal burning, the Jakarta Post newspaper reported on Friday.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Anti-Dictatorship Struggle
Canberra Times - September 5, 1997

Ian Mcphedran – A leading Indonesian pro-democracy campaigner has called on Australia to sever military ties with his country and to grant refugee status to East Timorese asylum-seekers.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Economy & Investment
Reuters-September 5, 1997

Sarah Davison, Hong Kong – Concern is mounting that Indonesian corporations will soon hit a debt wall despite Thursday's rate cut, worsening the outlook for the nation once credited with Southeast Asia's most credible currency policy.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Political Parties & Elections
South China Morning Post - September 5, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – A little-known politician has nominated herself as a presidential candidate to run against President Suharto in elections next March.

Berar Fathia, 43, a former member of the Indonesian Democracy Party (PDI), yesterday said she had enough support to run as a candidate.

September 4, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› Environment & Natural Disasters
Straits Times - September 4, 1997

Unlike the pervasive haze in 1994 which trapped Singapore in a suffocating day-long twilight, the island has so far been spared the worst of this year's seasonal nuisance. Road and air visibility has not been impaired too badly, and those with respiratory complaints have not reported anything untoward.

News ›› East Timor ›› Political Parties & Elections
Reuters - September 4, 1997

Jakarta – East Timor governor Abilio Soares, who once escaped an assassination attempt by suspected rebels in the troubled former Portuguese colony, was re-elected to office on Thursday, a local legislator said.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Human Rights & Justice
South China Morning Post - September 4, 1997

Jakarta – The wife of murdered journalist Fuad Syarifuddin yesterday testified that police were holding the wrong man.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Environment & Natural Disasters
Voice of America - September 4, 1997

The Indonesian government has threatened to expose the names of logging and plantation companies that are lighting fires to clear land on the islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra. Jenny Grant reports from Jakarta, smoke from the fires is a health hazard affecting neighboring Malaysia and Singapore.

News ›› Indonesia ›› TNI Defense & Military Operations
Antara - September 4, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia has agreed to purchase 12 Sukhoi 30K jetfighters and 8 MI-17-IV helicopters from Russia at a total cost of US$ 500 million, while Russia has agreed to purchase from Indonesia 40 kinds of commodities, also worth US$ 500 million, to be paid in cash under a counter-purchase agreement.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Film & Television
Far Eastern Economic Review - September 4, 1997

John McBeth, Jakarta – President Suharto has a host of family concerns riding on Indonesia's first broadcasting law. Between them, the president's eldest daughter, Siti Hardijanti "Tutut" Rukmana, son Bambang Trihatmodjo and Bambang's wife, Halimah, own chunks of four of the country's five private television channels.

September 3, 1997

News ›› Indonesia ›› Economy & Investment
Reuters - September 3, 1997

K.T. Arasu, Jakarta – Indonesia unveiled a package of measures on Wednesday to prevent the world's fourth most populous country from plunging into financial crisis amid regional currency turbulence.

News ›› Indonesia ›› Foreign Affairs & Trade
Agence France Presse - September 3, 1997

Singapore – The Foreign Correspondents Association (FCA) here said Wednesday it had cancelled a planned forum with Indonesian opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri at the request of Singapore authorities.