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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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July 6, 2002

Straits Times - July 6, 2002

The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) yesterday transferred six trainer aircraft to its Indonesian counterpart, and will deliver another 13 more by the end of the year, Singapore's Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

Agence France Presse - July 6, 2002

Aceh separatist rebels slammed a statement by an Indonesian minister branding them terrorists as an "irresponsible and desperate" attempt to discredit the movement.

Jakarta Post - July 6, 2002

Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – Nationalist politicians back a proposed civil emergency and a likely tougher military action in conflict-ridden Aceh, but legislators from the province oppose such an approach as a means to wipe out separatist rebels.

Jakarta Post - July 6, 2002

Fabiola Desy Unidjaja, Jakarta – The hard line taken by the government will dash any hope for a peaceful solution to end the decades-long strife in Aceh, official and activists alike said.

Straits Times - July 6, 2002

Manila – The authorities in the Philippines said yesterday that they had received reliable reports that an Indonesian detained since March was involved in deadly bomb blasts in Manila and Jakarta.

Justice Under-Secretary Jose Calida said the reports, relayed by undisclosed international contacts, implicated Agus Dwikarna, a suspected Islamic militant, in the two bombings.

Melbourne Age - July 6, 2002

Jill Jolliffe, Maubisse – Like most country folk in East Timor, the 18,000 people of the Maubisse district are enthusiastic about independence, but worried about their future. The enormous challenges of survival they face are tougher than those facing their city counterparts.

Jakarta Post - July 6, 2002

Jakarta/Kupang – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Friday that 1,500 East Timorese children, placed in orphanages across Indonesia in 1999, had not yet been reunited with their parents in newly independent East Timor.

Jakarta Post - July 6, 2002

Rendi A. Witular and Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta – The increasing number of incidents of labor unrest here has not only affected the flow of foreign direct investment but has also hit the country's export sector, Minister of Industry and Trade Rini MS Soewandi warned.

Straits Times - July 6, 2002

Robert Go, Jakarta – The Indonesian government will dig out 900 billion rupiah from its cash-strapped coffers to counter El Nino-induced droughts that could devastate this year's harvests and spark haze-forming fires.

July 5, 2002

Jakarta Post - July 5, 2002

Bambang Nurbianto, Jakarta – Workers from dozens of hospitals in the capital organized a media conference on Thursday to protest their employers' move to halt their plan to establish workers' unions as an instrument for promoting their aspirations and welfare.

Jakarta Post - July 5, 2002

Tiarma Siboro, Jakarta – Maj. Gen. Achmad Yahya has a daunting task ahead him in safeguarding Jakarta when he takes up his new post as military commander in the capital city on Thursday.

Jakarta has witnessed a fragile peace over the past few months, although there have been a number of small explosions.

Straits Times - July 5, 2002

Jakarta – Indonesian air force officials have revealed that more than half their front-line aircraft have been grounded and a third of their radar stations are inoperable due to a lack of funding, days after the navy made similar admissions.

Sydney Morning Herald - July 5 2002

Thousands of endangered birds from Maluku and Papua provinces are caught and transported by the Indonesian military for sale at illegal markets, animal activists and officials allege.

Straits Times - July 5, 2002

Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – President Megawati Sukarnoputri is riding roughshod over her party and sidelining many of her allies as she veers towards the military and the corruption-tainted Golkar party in order to shore up her position ahead of the 2004 presidential elections.

CNN - July 5, 2002

Amy Chew, Jakarta – Indonesia's once mighty military – which saw its powers reduced by democratic reforms following the ousting of former President Suharto – is expected to regain lost ground under its new armed forces chief General Endriartono Sutarto.

Jakarta Post - July 5, 2002

Debbie A. Lubis, Jakarta – Indonesia is edging closer to a HIV/AIDS crisis of epidemic proportion as infection rates of the deadly HIV virus increase rapidly, especially among injecting drug users.

An HIV/AIDS study group said more than 30 people in Indonesia are infected with HIV/AIDS every month, especially through shared needles.

Straits Times - July 5, 2002

Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – A bloody battle between security forces and rebels in Aceh looks imminent as the Indonesian government yesterday announced plans to declare a state of emergency to crack down on "terrorists" in the strife-torn province.

Agence France Presse - July 5, 2002

Separatist rebels in Indonesia's Aceh province have released 18 civilians they abducted late last month, a source involved in arranging the release said.

"They were released yesterday afternoon," the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP Friday, adding they are in good condition.

Jakarta Post - July 5, 2002

Banda Aceh – Apparently niggled by the continuing violence in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam province, the government sent a strong signal on Thursday that the military operation in the restive province could be intensified.

Jakarta Post - July 5, 2002

Apriadi Gunawan, Jakarta – Approximately 20 percent of the forest in Mount Leuser National Park in North Sumatra had been illegally felled by the year 2000, local officials have announced, adding foreign investors might have been involved.

Jakarta Post - July 5, 2002

Jakarta – Over a hundred young supporters of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) and the National Mandate Party (PAN) united on Thursday to reject the nomination of City Governor Sutiyoso in the upcoming gubernatorial election.

Jakarta Post - July 5, 2002

Fabiola Desy Unidjaja and Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak, Jakarta – The government said on Thursday that doors were open for a United Nations legal expert who has been assigned to assess Indonesia's legal system later this month.

Radio Australia - July 5, 2002

[Achieving justice in East Timor for the victims of the violence after the 1999 independence vote, is not proving to be an easy task. With just six months to complete its investigations, East Timor's Serious Crimes Unit is facing almost insurmountable problems, as this report from Karon Snowdon reveals.]

Australian Financial Review - July 5, 2002

Geoffrey Barker – Sixty influential Chinese business association leaders arrived in Dili from Macau last week to talk to East Timorese leaders about investing in the impoverished new nation.

Within days the group had flown home disappointed and frustrated: senior government leaders would not meet them to discuss investment opportunities and rules.

Agence France Presse - July 5, 2002

Geneva – East Timor's Health Minister, Rui Maria de Araujo, warned Friday that his newly-independent country was in danger of an AIDS epidemic, saying its low official figures were "just the tip of the iceberg".

July 4, 2002

Radio Australia - July 4, 2002

The Indonesian Government has denied reports that the extremist Islamic Laskar Jihad army is operating in it's province of Papua, formerly known as Irian Jaya. It's been been investigating claims that the Islamic militants, who were involved in inter-religious violence in the Maluku Islands, had infiltrated Papua, but found no evidence to support the claims.

Agence France Presse - July 4, 2002

Police are awaiting a court's approval to question Tommy Suharto in prison over his claims that members of the security forces protected him while he was a fugitive last year.

"We are now waiting for permission from the Central Jakarta district court," said Commissioner Arismunandar on television Thursday.

Far Eastern Economic Review - July 4, 2002

Mark Dodd, Dili – At just four weeks old East Timor may be the world's newest nation, but its first big problem is how to deal with its past. Tensions over the treatment of veteran guerrillas who fought for its independence are challenging the authority of the country's new democratic government.

New York Times - July 4, 2002

Raymond Bonner, Jakarta – The Bush administration's effort to re-establish military ties with Indonesia, which has been curtailed for nearly a decade because of its army's widespread human rights violations, has some unexpected support among Indonesians.

Reuters - July 4, 2002

Muklis Ali, Jakarta – Indonesia's government on Thursday branded the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) a terrorist group for the first time, and hinted it may impose a civil emergency in the province of Aceh as violence there was getting out of hand.

July 3, 2002

Straits Times - July 3, 2002

Marianne Kearney, Jakarta – Just four years ago, Mr Xanana Gusmao was Indonesia's most prized rebel prisoner. But yesterday, he returned as the head of state of an independent East Timor, saluted by the army that fought the separatist movement he led.

Canberra Times - July 3, 2002

Lincoln Wright – Defence Minister Robert Hill has rejected claims from a whistleblower that the Defence Signals Directorate spied on journalists to discover who was leaking sensitive intelligence material about East Timor.

Lusa - July 3, 2002

East Timor's foreign minister said Wednesday that he regretted the decision of the United States to withdraw its military observers from the newly independent nation over fears of possible prosecution of US military by the International Criminal Court.

The Guardian (UK) - July 3, 2002

Richard Norton-Taylor and John Aglionby, Jakarta – The Foreign Office was urgently investigating reports last night that British Hawk jets had been deployed by the Indonesian airforce in Aceh, against dissidents on a group of islands north-west of Sumatra who are engaged in a brutal struggle for self-rule.

Jakarta Post - July 3, 2002

Jakarta – Five armed people, allegedly members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM), were killed when security officers launched an attack in Bayeuen district, East Aceh, some 460 kilometers away from Banda Aceh, a report said on Wednesday.

Jakarta Post - July 3, 2002

Jakarta – President Megawati Soekarnoputri on Wednesday instructed Iskandar Muda military Commander Maj. Gen. Djali Yusuf to sternly punish the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM). She also blamed GAM for disturbing the public order.

Jakarta Post - July 3, 2002

Bernie K. Moestafa and Kurniawan Hari, Jakarta – The collapse of all hopes of a political inquiry into House Speaker Akbar Tandjung's alleged involvement in a graft case shows that the mighty flare sent up by the 1998 reform movement has turned into a damp squib.

Green Left Weekly - July 3, 2002

Max Lane, Jakarta – The debate between minister Kwik Kian Gie, who is in charge of the National Economic Planning Board, and the other ministers in President Megawati Sukarnoputri's cabinet about extending Indonesia's relationship with the International Monetary Fund is an important development in Indonesian politics.

Jakarta Post Editorial - July 3, 2002

When East Timor President Xanana Gusmao began his official visit in Indonesia on Tuesday, he was received with a red carpet welcome and full military honors fitting for all visiting heads of state. But Gusmao is no ordinary visitor. He is a special guest, and should be treated as such.

Straits Times - July 3, 2002

Robert Go, Jakarta – It's a tale of two "sisters", and of how their abilities to "keep it together" over the next two years would affect the rest of Asean.

One wears a kebaya and may not understand what "dirty float" is, while the other looks smart in business suits and has a PhD in economics.

Jakarta Post - July 3, 2002

Kupang – East Timorese refugees living in various camps in West Timor continued with their protests on Tuesday, demanding aid from the government for some 20,000 refugee families, or some 54,000 refugees in all. Tuesday's protest was the third since Saturday.

Asia Pulse - July 3, 2002

Jakarta – Indonesia and East Timor on Tuesday agreed to seek the best way of settling the issue of assets the former had left behind in what used to be its 27th province.

Jakarta Post - July 3, 2002

Jakarta – PT Indomobil Sukses Internasional, the country's second largest automaker, had planned to hire some 2,000 new workers this year in response to growing demand at home for automobiles. Now it has put these plans on hold because of increasing uncertainty in employing workers here.

Straits Times - July 3, 2002

Derwin Pereira, Jakarta – Indonesian navy chief Bernard Kent Sondakh has said that the navy's 113 ships are fit to sail but not fight – a startling revelation that throws into doubt its ability to crack down on the rising piracy, smuggling and illegal-immigrant problems in the sprawling archipelago.

July 2, 2002

Agence France Presse - July 2, 2002

Beijing – China supports the building of an East Timor army and will work toward friendly ties with it, state media quoted China's defense minister saying Tuesday.

Jakarta Post - July 2, 2002

Ahmad Junaidi, Jakarta – Governor Sutiyoso claimed on Monday that the Indonesia Military (TNI) had settled its dispute with the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle over a bloody attack on the party's headquarters on July 27, 1996.

Sydney Morning Herald - July 2, 2002

Barry FitzGerald – The Timor Sea has continued to grow in importance for the Adelaide-based and Cooper Basin-dependent Santos, with the group yesterday becoming the managing partner in the big but undeveloped Evans Shoal gasfield.

Jakarta Post - July 2, 2002

Edith Hartanto and Moch. N. Kurniawan, Jakarta – We are back to square one. Democracy is backpedaling to what it was during the Soeharto regime, experts said here on Saturday.

Agence France Presse - July 2, 2002

An explosion which damaged a parking lot of a shopping mall in the Indonesian capital was caused by a large firecracker, police said.

"The explosion that took place was not caused by a bomb," Jakarta Police Chief Makbul Padmanegara said of the late Monday blast which injured seven people.

Radio Australia - July 2, 2002

A new book on politics in post-Suharto Indonesia says the chances of an Islamic Government taking power are stronger than ever. The book, "Reformasi" says Indonesia's military and conservative elements could use Islam to get a firmer hold on power.

Presenter/Interviewer: Graeme Dobell, Canberra