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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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November 15, 1997

Agence France Presse - November 15, 1997

Jakarta – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been allowed to visit seven people injured after soldiers fired on students in an East Timor university, an ICRC official said Saturday.

November 14, 1997

Amnesty International - November 14, 1997

Five East Timorese students shot and wounded in a confrontation with Indonesian police in Dili, the capital of East Timor, have been taken to a military hospital. The five appear to be being denied access to humanitarian and legal assistance, raising serious concerns for their well-being in custody.

Reuters - November 14, 1997

Jakarta – At least one East Timorese student was killed on Friday when security personnel fired shots on a university campus in the territory's capital Dili, students said.

A military official denied there had been any deaths.

Associated Press - November 14, 1997

Dili – Indonesian troops fired shots into the air to disperse hundreds of students today in East Timor. At least two people were injured in scuffles with authorities, school officials said.

Student activists, who declined to give their names, said two students were killed in the violence outside the University of East Timor in Dili, about 1,250 miles east of Jakarta.

November 13, 1997

Indonesia Times - November 13, 1997

Surabaya – At least 40,000 workers of the biggest cigarette company go on strike as their 50 pct salary increase demand is refused by the management.

President director of the Kediri-based PT Gudang Garam, Rahman Halim, who met with the workers' representatives yesterday, refused fulfill the workers' demand.

American Reporter - November 13, 1997

Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – Indonesian journalists are protesting a government ban that has kept two private television channels here from airing live a parliamentarian hearing on Indonesia's financial crisis, saying that government had violated press freedoms and manipulated the Broadcasting Law.

Sydney Morning Herald - November 13, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Indonesia must push through with successive waves of tough economic reforms, including a possible second round of bank closures, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Mr Michel Camdessus, said in Jakarta yesterday.

Xinhua - November 13, 1997

Johannesburg – South Africa and Indonesia are set to boost economic ties with the signing of two agreements on aviation and trade, South African Press Association reported today.

The two accords will be signed when Indonesian President Soeharto arrives in Cape Town next week for a state visit.

East Timor Action Network Press Release - November 13, 1997

On the night of November 12, 1997, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to block the use of U.S. weapons in occupied East Timor, placing an unprecedented restriction on U.S. arms sales to Indonesia. The Senate, which unanimously approved stronger language on September 5, is expected to enact the measure today.

Ottawa Citizen - November 13, 1997

Bruce Cheadle, Ottawa – Isabel Galhos, one of three East Timorese expatriates living in Canada, doesn't mince words when she describes the 22-year regime of Indonesian President Suharta.

Toronto Star - November 13, 1997

Allan Thompson, Ottawa – Joao Antonio Dias said he watched Indonesian soldiers kill wounded East Timorese demonstrators by banging their heads against rocks.

Roberto Jeronimo spoke of beatings and electrical shocks to his genitals he endured while being tortured in an Indonesian prison.

Reuters - November 13, 1997

Jim Della-Giacoma, Jakarta – Indonesia moved to deport a U.S. woman on Thursday after police accused her of "disturbing public order" during a ceremony marking the anniversary of a 1991 massacre of East Timor civilians by Indonesian soldiers.

Associated Press - November 13, 1997

Irwan Firdaus, Jakarta – Indonesia deported an American woman Thursday after police arrested her for taking notes and photographs during a pro-independence protest in the disputed territory of East Timor.

November 12, 1997

Sydney Morning Herald - November 12, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – President Soeharto's half-brother has refused to withdraw a court challenge to bank liquidations which threaten the Internation Monetary Fund's bailout of the Indonesian economy.

Koyodo - November 12, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian President Suharto's second son Bambang Trihatmodjo announced Wednesday the withdrawal of a lawsuit against the government over the closure of his bank earlier this month for the sake of "broader national interest."

The Nation - November 12, 1997

Bangkok – Today is the sixth anniversary of the Dili massacre in East Timor when an estimated 271 people were gunned down in cold blood by Indonesian troops. Among the dead was a young Malaysian student. The Nation's Steven Gan tells his story.

Report by Kabar dari PIJAR - 12 November 1997 (posted by Tapol)

Several meetings to highlight the situation in East Timor were held in Central Java on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the Santa Cruz Massacre, 12 November 1997.

Agence France Presse - November 12, 1997

Jakarta – Mr Bambang Trihatmodjo, the second son of President Suharto, will take control of Bank Victoria as compensation for the closure of his Bank Andromeda, Bisnis Indonesia said.

November 11, 1997

Indonesia Times - November 11, 1997

Jakarta – At least 50 companies have proposed to the government that they can downsize their employees following the unstable economy due to recent monetary crisis.

Straits Times - November 11, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia's Finance Minister Mar'ie Muhammad yesterday defended the closure of 16 banks, asserting the government had followed proper procedures before winding them up in a move to reform the banking sector.

South China Morning Post - November 11, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – Three isolated tribes in the Molucca Islands are being forced to leave their settlements in search of food as the drought bites harder in the eastern provinces.

Already it has cost more than 500 lives.

Reuters - November 11, 1997

Ian MacKenzie, Jakarta – Ribbons of fire along irrigation channels designed to drain a huge peat bog are helping sustain noxious smog across Indonesia's Kalimantan provinces, forestry and agricultural experts said on Tuesday.

MateBEAN - November 11, 1997 (Posted by the East Timor International Support Center)

Lospalos – Last 3 November 1997, dozens of East Timor youth conducted a demonstration in Los Palos, Lautem. The demo was a protest against the behaviour of army soldiers shooting in random when a group of Catholics passed a military post in Paioto. Los Palos on August 31.

Indonesia Times - November 11, 1997

Dili – Trials began Monday for five East Timorese accused of taking part in a rebel raid on a police station on May 28.

Prosecutors allege the men were among the rebels who stormed the station in the provincial capital, Dili, stabbed two officers and then fled with police weapons. One rebel was shot dead by police.

MateBEAN - November 11, 1997

Jakarta - Xanana Gusmao told MateBEAN that he had never asked to be transferred to Nusakambangan, an Alcatraz-like prison island off the shore of Cilacap, Central Java as was stated by Thahir Abdullah a high-ranking officer from the Department of Justice

November 10, 1997

MateBEAN - November 10, 1997 (posted by East Timor International Support Center)

Jakarta – Rumours said that the Indonesian military, especially the intelligence community planned to ban IMPETTU (the East Timor Students' Association) considering the fact that they cannot control the Organisations' activity anymore.

Business Week - November 10, 1997

Michael Shari in Jakarta and Sheri Prasso in New York – For a region that has felt shock after shock since July, some relief came in the final days of October. The $40 billion International Monetary Fund bailout of Indonesia boosted the rupiah – battered by a 30% plunge since July – by more than 10% and brought a breath of life back to the stock market.

November 9, 1997

Reuters - November 9, 1997

Jim Della-Giacoma, Jakarta – Indonesia faces a mixed week ahead with praise expected from the IMF for its economic reform plans, but also the start of a court challenge to cleaning up the key banking sector.

Tapol - November 9, 1997

The Alliance of Independent Journalists has issued a statement protesting against attempts by the Indonesian armed forces (ABRI) to prevent the press from reporting statements by Bambang Trihatmojo and Probosutejo about the closure of 16 banks.

Reuters - November 9, 1997

Kenneth Van Toll, Banjar Rejo – Mardjosantono waved his wiry arms over his head as he stood on the crusty sun-baked bottom of Lake Keruku in East Java.

"Usually there's water to the north, south and west of here. The water level reaches 3.5 metres (11.5 feet)," the slightly built farmer said gesturing across the dried-out lake.

The Sunday Tribune - November 9, 1997

Liz Walsh – Three European ambassadors are to go to East-Timor early in the new yeras as part a new EU initiative announced in Dublin last week by British Foreign Seretary Robin Cook. The initiative comes on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the Dili massacre on Wednesday in which more than 250 civilians were shot dead by the Indonesian military which invaded the country in 1975.

November 5, 1997

Wall Street Journal - November 5, 1997

Holman W. Jenkins Jr – Not often do you hear an Asian dealmaker wishing an unpleasant fate on the head of one of the biggest founts of Asian dealmaking, the Suharto family circle of Indonesia.

Last week just such a fellow told me if there was to be a silver lining to the region's economic troubles, "the whole lot of them would be lined up against a wall."

Agence France Presse - November 5, 1997

Jakarta – Moves to deregulate the Indonesian economy following an IMF review are more a compromise than a reform measure, analysts say.

The government's decision to remove the National Logistics Agency's monopoly on the importing of wheat flour and replace it with a monopoly on distributing wheat flour is "a compromise solution," economist Rizal Ramli said.

Dow Jones News - November 5, 1997

Jay Solomon, Jakarta – The U.S. further underlined its commitment to helping Indonesia recover from its financial crisis Wednesday, in the hope of finally putting a stop to the contagion effect rippling out of Southeast Asia.

November 4, 1997

Agence France Presse - November 4, 1997

Lisbon – East Timorese abroad will hold a national congress here next March, called by independence leader Xanana Gusmao, who is serving a 20-year prison term in Indonesia, resistance sources said Tuesday.

The congress is to consider a charter of rights, freedoms and guarantees to be applied in the former Portuguese colony annexed by Indonesia in 1976, they said.

Dow Jones News Service - November 4, 1997

Jakarta – Bambang Trihatmodjo, the middle son of Indonesian President Suharto, stepped up his attack on Indonesian Finance Minister Mar'ie Muhammad Tuesday over the liquidation of a bank of which he is a major shareholder.

Straits Times - November 4, 1997

Jakarta – Early this year, 31-year-old Bimo, who works in the private sector, and his wife decided to buy a house where they could raise their newborn daughter.

The couple was set to obtain a housing loan to buy a medium-sized house in Jakarta's suburbs. Their plan was going smoothly until August.

Sydney Morning Herald - November 4, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Mobs of angry customers and employees gathered outside the branches of Indonesia's 16 liquidated banks yesterday, many refusing to believe they had lost most of their savings under the first reforms of the massive $US38 billion dollar ($54 billion) international bailout package.

Reuters - November 4, 1997

Jim Della-Giacoma, Jakarta – Indonesian President Suharto's half-brother Probosutedjo said he had kept his PT Bank Jakarta open on Tuesday, defying a government order closing down the institution along with 15 other sick banks.

Agence France Presse - November 4, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian armed forces are to send more officers abroad for training, especially to Britain and the United States, a report said here Tuesday.

Alliance of Independent Journalists - November 4, 1997 (posted by Tapol)

Jakarta – The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) said it welcomed Prosecutor Amrin Nain's call for the release of Dwi Sumaji alias Iwik, the accused in the case of the murder of Bernas journalist Fuad Moh. Syafruddin alias Udin. The prosecutor called for Udin's [should read Iwik - JB] release during the a court session at the Bantul regional court on Monday, 3 November.

November 3, 1997

Wall Street Journal - November 3, 1997

Raphael Pura, Semarang – PT Bank Harapan Sentosa depositors who came to its big branch here Monday looking for what remains of their money were met by armed police rather than smiling tellers.

"You might as well all go home, we have no more announcements to make," a security officer of the bank told them through a bullhorn. "There's no need to be here."

Wall Street Journal - November 3, 1997

Indonesia announced a spate of measures to shore up its economy as conditions to receive more than $30 billion in aid from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Separately, Timor Putra removed President Suharto's son from his post at the Indonesian auto maker in a partial concession to calm concerns over the national car project.

Wall Street Journal - November 3, 1997

Richard Borsuk, Jakarta – Indonesian bankers braced for a tense day of business Monday following Saturday's closure of 16 banks.

Sydney Morning Herald - November 3, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – The Soeharto Government has urged the public not to panic at the opening of business today after announcing the immediate liquidation of 16 non-performing Indonesian banks under an international economic rescue package worth up to $US40 billion ($57 billion).

Sydney Morning Herald - November 3, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – The massive bailout package for Indonesia goes some way to addressing economic distortions such as nepotism, favouritism and politically connected monopolies, but analysts say they are awaiting further details as well as the reaction of stock and money markets when trading opens today.

November 1, 1997

Jornal Timor Leste (Editorial) - November 1997

On 7 August, the District Council bestowed the title of Honorary Citizen of Brasilia on the Timorese Resistance leader, Xanana Gusmao. The Ambassador of East Timor in Angola, Dr. Roque Rodrigues, received the title on behalf of Xanana Gusmao.

Sydney Morning Herald - November 1, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – For fifteen days Pak Waska has been ready: waiting under the vast, concrete highway overpass, his work bag packed, his shirt neat and clean, the thick fumes of the crawling traffic swirling around his face.

Associated Press - November 1, 1997

Geoff Spencer, Jakarta – Indonesia shut down 16 insolvent banks and planned other austerity measures Saturday, a day after receiving word of $33 billion in foreign loans to revive an economy hit hard by financial declines across Asia.

Finance Minister Mar'ie Muhammad called for calm and stressed the government would reimburse depositors.