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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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June 13, 2000

Straits Times - June 13, 2000

Jakarta – Jakarta police have denied a statement by the city's governor that they are planning to deploy snipers at commercial centres in the capital ahead of the next session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) in August. "We aren't going to deploy snipers in the city," said Zainuri Lubis, a police spokesman.

Business Times - June 13, 2000

By couple of weeks ago, Philip Eng, when replying to questions from reporters on whether he was concerned with the sharp fall in the price of Astra International's shares, noted that country risk rather than corporate failings was driving the stock down.

South China Morning Post - June 13, 2000

Chris McCall, Jakarta – Fighting is officially over in Aceh province, but a month after a ceasefire accord it is hard to tell the difference. Fighting has continued unabated since the deal took effect on June 2, with at least two people dead and many more wounded or made refugees.

June 12, 2000

Sydney Morning Herald - June 12, 2000

Mark Dodd, Dili – Do not expect shiny stainless steel tables or a laboratory filled with gleaming new equipment at the United Nations' forensic examination centre in Dili.

Business Times - June 12, 2000

Shoeb Kagda, Jakarta – Anyone watching the current spat between Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid and Bank Indonesia governor Sjahril Sabirin should be forgiven if he said: "Have we not seen all this before?" For it was only a few short months back when Mr Abdurrahman engaged in a battle of wits and verbal sparring with his former military commander and coordinating minister fo

Jakarta Post - June 12, 2000

Jakarta – The "Indonesian Axis" (Poros Indonesia) is set to burst onto the political scene, bringing together a cross section of figures from various political backgrounds who want to improve the state of their respective parties.

Jakarta Post - June 12, 2000

Bogor – Police caught eight men on Friday from among some 200 armed locals who were vandalizing the 3,000-square-meter Gunung Mas tea plantation in Blok Panjang at Cibereum village, Cisarua district.

Agence France Presse - June 12, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesian authorities were Monday investigating past liquidity support for banks given by the central Bank Indonesia while its chairman remains embroiled in the Bank Bali controversy.

Detikworld - June 12, 2000

Jakarta – Weapons smuggling to the Poso region in Central Sulawesi is a well orchestrated operation linked to the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) according to Andi Matalatta, a member of the Golkar faction of the Peoples' Consultative Assembly.

South China Morning Post - June 12, 2000

Chris McCall, Jakarta – A top figure in Indonesia's unstable east yesterday called for the Government to crack down hard on religious bloodshed, as the military said at least 123 had been killed in the latest flashpoint area.

Detikworld - June 12, 2000

Jakarta – The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) and the Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam) have condemned the brutal treatment of traditional miners at the hands of the Indonesian police, military and government officials acting in the interests of, and perhaps in direct coordination with, a mining operation owned by an Australian company.

Jakarta Post - June 12, 2000

Jayapura – Minister of Human Rights Affairs Hasballah M. Saad announced on Saturday the establishment of a special team to probe humanitarian crimes in Irian Jaya.

Speaking to journalists after meeting with pro-independence advocates and local leaders in Jayapura, Hasballah said as an initial step, he had sent a team of four to the province to gather facts from the people.

June 11, 2000

Agence France Presse - June 11, 2000

Jakarta – Shoppers pack the supermarkets in the Indonesian capital these days, car and mobile phone sales are jumping, seven new airlines are ready to hit the skies and companies are reporting solid first quarter profits.

Straits Times - June 11, 2000

Jakarta – Coordinating Economics Minister Kwik Kian Gie admitted on Friday that the culture of corruption, collusion and nepotism was still prevalent in the bureaucracy under President Abdurrahman Wahid, and said it would take a while to eradicate.

Jakarta Post - June 11, 2000

Jakarta – Five suspected holdup men were mobbed and burned to death by an angry crowd after being caught demanding money from passengers of a mikrolet public minivan in East Jakarta on Saturday.

June 10, 2000

Australian Financial Review - June 10, 2000

Peter Hartcher – Australia came perilously close to war with Indonesia last year. Australian policy planners know that we could easily veer towards a collision once more. And if you look at the speed with which things have gone badly wrong in our region, you'd be foolish to dismiss the threat.

Sydney Morning Herald - June 10, 2000

Mark Dodd, Dili – The de facto parliament, the National Consultative Council, has approved a Budget of $US59.23 million to help the nation rebuild after last year's devastating militia violence. The budget will be taken for approval to an international donors' conference in Lisbon this month.

Jakarta Post - June 10, 2000

Banda Aceh – Rebels shot and wounded a Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) officer in a gunfight between security forces and Free Aceh Movement (GAM), the third attack since a cease-fire was declared eight days ago, an official said Friday.

Agence France Presse - June 10, 2000

Jakarta – Australian Prime Minister John Howard yesterday reassured President Abdurrahman Wahid that Australia respects Indonesia's territorial integrity, and agreed to patch up diplomatic relations.

Sydney Morning Herald - June 10, 2000

Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – Not long ago feted as South-East Asia's greatest leader, Indonesia's former president Soeharto knows little about the dramatic changes taking place in the country he ruled for 32 years.

His family do not allow Mr Soeharto, who turned 79 this week, to read newspapers or watch television news, apparently for fear his blood pressure will rise.

Straits Times - June 10, 2000

Devi Asmarani, Jakarta – Parliamentarians from the party linked to Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid are spearheading a new probe into an estimated 2.7 trillion rupiah (S$513 million) allegedly stolen from the National Logistics Agency (Bulog) under his predecessors.

June 9, 2000

Reuters - June 9, 2000

Grace Nirang, Jakarta – Little fresh investment will flow into Indonesia's mining sector this year as companies hug the sidelines due to a host of problems plaguing the industry.

Straits Times - June 9, 2000

Ian Timberlake, Jakarta – Buoyed by overtures from Indonesia's democratic President and emboldened by the nation's new climate of freedom, ethnic Chinese here say they are ready to push for an end to years of discrimination.

Dow Jones Newswires - June 9, 2000

Simon Montlake, Jakarta – Local activists protesting over land rights have lifted a siege of a 14-ton-a-year gold mine in Kalimantan, owned and operated by a unit of Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto Ltd. (A.CRA), the company said Friday.

Straits Times - June 9, 2000

Jakarta – Authorities in Jakarta have given the go-ahead for police to shoot rioters if other attempts to control them fail, according to reports published here yesterday.

The decision was reached at a meeting between administration leaders, the military, police and civic leaders at the Jakarta governor's office on Wednesday, the Warta Kota daily reported.

South China Morning Post - June 9, 2000

Agence France Presse in Tokyo – Australian Prime Minister John Howard sought to move beyond past acrimony at yesterday's summit with Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, the first since the East Timor crisis.

June 8, 2000

Straits Times - June 8, 2000

Marianne Kearney, Banda Aceh – Aceh's landmark ceasefire is in danger of faltering as the two sides argue about how to monitor whether each side – the Indonesian army and the separatist rebels – keep to the agreement which went into effect last Friday.

Jakarta Post - June 8, 2000

Palu – A fresh batch of reinforcement troops arrived in Poso on Wednesday to help quell the continuing sectarian riots there.

Agence France Presse - June 8, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid has warned the military against using violence in dealing with calls for independence in West Papua, while one of his top officials yesterday warned Papuans against acts of "treason".

Sydney Morning Herald - June 8, 2000

Andrew Kilvert, Jayapura – Violence has broken out between militias supporting independence and autonomy in the easternmost Indonesian province of West Papua.

Fighting broke out at Waena in the capital, Jayapura, on Tuesday evening when a pro-autonomy militia known as Satgas Merah Putih (Red and White Taskforce) attacked a group of independence militia with machetes.

Sydney Morning Herald - June 8, 2000

Dili – Is there a conspiracy of silence within our media about conditions in East Timor? Sister Fabiol Gusmao, who runs Carmelite health clinics and an orphanage in Dili and dispenses food and medical aid to starving people, recently sent a despairing call for food to the Mary MacKillop Sisters in Sydney.

Dow Jones Newswires - June 8, 2000

Grainne McCarthy, Jakarta – The President's masseur embezzles money from the country's key food agency; the President's talk of capital controls spooks the international community; the President's showdown with the central bank governor sends investors fleeing. You'd think that for Indonesia things couldn't get much worse. Well, you'd be wrong.

Tapol Press Release - June 8, 2000

The Indonesian Minister of Law and Legislation, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, this week formally submitted to the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) a bill to set up human rights courts to try "gross violations of human rights". Special ad hoc courts will have jurisdiction over past violations, including those connected with last year's murder and destruction in East Timor.

Christian Science Monitor - June 8, 2000

Dan Murphy, Jakarta – As Indonesian prosecutors stepped up their investigation of soldiers for involvement in the atrocities that followed East Timor's independence vote last September, a senior general signaled the military is digging in.

International Herald Tribune - June 8, 2000

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Dili – Lured by the opportunity to make it big in the coffee trading business, Abdul Halim moved to this predominantly Roman Catholic territory in 1996 from his largely Islamic hometown on Sumatra island, settling in a small community near the Dili airport filled with fellow Muslim migrants from other parts of the Indonesian archipelago.

June 7, 2000

Sydney Morning Herald - June 7, 2000

Mark Dodd, Dili – A draft UN legal code designed to serve East Timor's fledgling judiciary was so flawed it would make a criminal conviction virtually impossible, a visiting team of senior Australian legal experts said.

Lusa - June 7, 2000

Taxi and van drivers blocked traffic in Dili with their vehicles and tried to force their way into the central administrative building Wednesday to protest recent fuel price hikes.

Agence France Presse - June 7, 2000

In another blow to ex-president Suharto, a court yesterday rejected a multi-billion-dollar criminal defamation case he had filed against the US magazine Time.

Judge Sihol Sitompul, heading a panel of three judges at the Central Jakarta District Court, ruled Mr Suharto's defamation suit could not be accepted for lack of evidence.

Surya Timor - June 7, 2000

Kupang - Head of an advocacy team for a legal aid organization, Yohanes Yacob, did not design the attack on the Solidamor office that was carried out by a delegation of East Timor refugees (DPTT) two weeks ago.

Straits Times - June 7, 2000

[Gus Dur's controversial brother speaks frankly to The Straits Times.]

Q: Describe Gus Dur for us.

A: Gus Dur is a great solidarity-maker, but he's not the best administrator in town. His power came from various political centres, so he has to accommodate them in his policy-making.

Green Left Weekly - June 7, 2000

The following is a statement presented by United States journalist Allan Nairn to the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Human Rights on May 11.

Christian Science Monitor - June 7, 2000

Dan Murphy, Jakarta – By omission or commission, the evidence is mounting that elements of the Indonesian military are reigniting the religious conflict in the Maluku islands. The motive? Political payback, perhaps.

June 6, 2000

Straits Times - June 6, 2000

Jakarta – The Miss Indonesia beauty contest, which has been banned for the past four years following opposition from Muslim groups, is to be held again this week with full government support.

Surya Timor - June 6, 2000

Kupang – Responding to an UNTAS statement which said that it would not participate in the 2001 elections in East Timor if the UN didn't clarify UNAMET fraud in the referendum, UNTAET representative in Kupang, Colin Stewart, stressed that the elections will still be carried out even without the pro-integration group.

Reuters - June 6, 2000

Jonathan Thatcher, Jakarta – A growing feud between Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid and his scandal-tainted central bank governor threatens more damage to the country's already precarious chances of economic recovery.

South China Morning Post - June 6, 2000

Chris McCal, Jakarta – Jakarta yesterday rejected a formal demand for independence by a West Papuan congress, slamming the meeting as invalid and its declaration as possibly illegal.

Strathfor Intelligence Updates - June 6, 2000

A leader of a breakaway faction of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) was killed in Malaysia just hours before a "humanitarian pause" in Aceh was to take affect. Don Zulfahri, secretary general of the GAM Government Council (GAM MP), was shot twice by an unidentified gunman in a restaurant in Malaysia late on June 1.

Straits Times - June 6, 2000

Why is Irian Jaya such a hot issue, and are there parallels to be drawn with East Timor? Indonesia analyst Dr John Taylor of South Bank University, London, discusses its prospects for independence in a BBC programme, The World Today, last Friday

Sydney Morning Herald - June 6, 2000

Lindsay Murdoch, Jakarta – Indonesia's President Abdurrahman Wahid yesterday warned of a military crackdown in Papua after a landmark congress in the far-eastern province declared it was no longer part of his country.

June 5, 2000

Associated Press - June 5, 2000

Jakarta – The US Embassy in Jakarta said Monday that Washington didn't support "independence for Papua or any other part of Indonesia."

It said it had sent an embassy officer to a congress held by Papua nationalists as an observer in line with standard diplomatic practice.