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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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August 17, 2021

New Mandala - August 17, 2021

Arnoud Arps – On the 13th of August 2021, four days before Indonesia celebrated its 76th year of independence, Jim Taihuttu's De Oost [henceforth The East] was released worldwide.

Jakarta Globe - August 17, 2021

Yudha Baskoro, Jakarta – Considering the increasing Covid-19 positivity and death rate in Jakarta, Father Yustinus Ardianto ventures to take one of the most important decisions in his life.

Jakarta Post - August 17, 2021

Sudibyo Wiradji – Sumatra is home to a large proportion of the peatlands of Indonesia and that is why fortified efforts to protect the peatland ecosystem on the island are indispensable as the forest fire-triggering dry season has arrived.

Out of the total 14.9 million hectares of peatland in Indonesia, about 6.4 million ha, 43.2 percent, are found on Sumatra.

Straits Times - August 17, 2021

Jeffrey Hutton, Jakarta – During the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, cut off from her regular doctor at Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore, Ms Fenny Nelly, 61, made do with regular online consultations and medication that she could buy in Jakarta.

August 16, 2021

Reuters - August 16, 2021

Heru Asprihanto, Bogor, West Java – Four-year-old pitbull Gledis was home alone for two days without food when a group of volunteers found her.

She is among many pets left behind when their owners tested positive for COVID-19 and were hospitalized or placed in isolation.

Coconuts Jakarta - August 16, 2021

Much has been made about the relatively steep price of PCR swab tests in Indonesia amid comparisons with India recently, prompting President Joko Widodo yesterday to order the Health Ministry to slash the price by about half to make it more affordable for the general public.

Jakarta Post - August 16, 2021

Dio Suhenda and Marchio Irfan Gorbiano, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has underlined that the spirit of mutual cooperation and collaboration across all parts of society had strengthened the country's COVID-19 response.

Reuters - August 16, 2021

Tabita Diela, Gayatri Suroyo, Jakarta – Indonesia's President Joko Widodo on Monday proposed a $188 billion budget for 2022, a touch bigger than this year's spending outlook and with a narrowing fiscal deficit, as he set higher growth targets despite a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

Jakarta Globe - August 16, 2021

Jakarta – Indonesia recorded the lowest daily number of newly Covid-19 cases in nearly two months on Monday, but the daily death toll remained within four-digit territory.

The country has added 17,384 cases in the past 24 hours, the lowest figure since June 23, for a total of 3,871,738 cases, government figures show.

CNN Indonesia - August 16, 2021

Jakarta – A rally by protesters from the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) in Jayapura, Papua, was forcibly and violently broken up by police on Monday August 16. Two people were injured after being allegedly struck by rattan sticks.

Tempo - August 16, 2021

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – The Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN) on Monday criticized President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo for wearing a traditional clothing of the Baduy tribe during his speech at the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) annual meeting today.

Australian West Papua Association (Sydney) Statement - August 16, 2021

AWPA condemns the crackdown on peaceful demonstrators today in West Papua. Early reports (from FB and local media) indicate up to 50 people arrested and two wounded.

Rallies were called today by the Papuan People's Petition, consisting of over a 100 organisations and were demanding the release of Victor Yeimo who is sick in the Mako Brimob prison.

Sydney Morning Herald - August 16, 2021

Chris Barrett and Karuni Rompies, Singapore – The awarding of one of Indonesia's highest honours to a former militia leader indicted for crimes against humanity has been labelled an insult to both East Timor and Australia.

Channel News Asia - August 16, 2021

Jakarta – Indonesia's central bank will keep its benchmark interest rate at a record low on Thursday (Aug 19) as it tries to continue to support the economic recovery without adding more pressure on the rupiah amid United States tapering concerns, a Reuters poll showed on Monday.

Radio New Zealand - August 16, 2021

A series of demonstrations in West Papua today have been forcibly stopped by Indonesian police.

The demos were organised by a network of 111 organisations behind the Papuan People's Petition, formed to reject Jakarta's plans to renew Special Autonomy in Papua.

Suara Papua - August 16, 2021

Arnold Belau, Jayapura – The Yahukimo West Papua National Committee (KNPB) says that police forcibly broke up a peaceful protest action on Monday August 16 arresting scores of people and shooting one person in the Dekai district of Yahukimo regency, Papua.

Tempo - August 16, 2021

M Rosseno Aji, Jakarta – The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) asked President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to take over the entire assessment process of the Nationality Knowledge Test (TWK) for employees of the Corruption Eradication Commission. Komnas HAM found 11 human rights violations during the process which resulted in the dismissal of the 57 employees.

Jakarta Globe - August 16, 2021

Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – The Indonesian government on Monday decided to relax a bit the community restrictions amid a steady decline in newly Covid-19 cases, allowing a greater capacity for malls, restaurants and worship places across Java and Bali.

Tempo - August 16, 2021

Antara, Jakarta – Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF) economist, Eko Listiyanto, on Sunday talked about the urgency of PCR tests and other Covid-19 screening tests that are now mandated for a number of public activities, and believes reducing the cost cap of PCR tests would benefit the government's contact tracing capabilities.

Jakarta Globe - August 16, 2021

Yudha Baskoro, Solo, Central Java – While most charity groups and state agencies have opted for instant noodles as a more practical way to supply food for people under the Covid-19 quarantine, these men in Central Java offer fiber intake for free.

West Papua Action Auckland - August 16, 2021

16 August 2021

Hon Nanaia Mahuta
Parliament Buildings

Kia ora Nanaia Mahuta

Coconuts Jakarta - August 16, 2021

Police in Tangerang city, Banten have questioned witnesses regarding a graffiti, which, depending on your outlook, painted President Joko Widodo in either a satirical or a negative light.

Channel News Asia - August 16, 2021

Kiki Siregar, Jakarta – COVID-19 has taught Indonesia how to find a balance between health and economic interests, said President Joko Widodo on Monday (Aug 16) as he addressed perceptions that government policies may not have been consistent when it comes to tackling the pandemic.

UCA News - August 16, 2021

Ryan Dagur – The archbishop of Dili hopes that Timor-Leste's first Catholic university will open this year after he met with Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak.

Salesian Archbishop Dom Virgilio do Carmo da Silva of Dili met Ruak on Aug. 13, a month after the archdiocese formally applied for permission to start the Catholic University of Timor in the Catholic-majority country.

Jakarta Globe - August 16, 2021

Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – The Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry is preparing evacuation of its embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, as Taliban looks set to overtake power, but it will retain a small team for diplomatic mission, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Tabloid JUBI - August 16, 2021

Hengky Yeimo, Jayapura – A group of people of the Papuan People Petition took to the streets on Monday, August 16, 2021, to demand the release of human rights activist Victor Yeimo, the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) spokesperson. The Indonesian Military (TNI) and police, however, blocked the protesters with water cannon and even hit some of the protesters.

Tempo - August 16, 2021

Joniansyah (Contributor), Jakarta – The Halfway Connection Community (HFC) – the group behind the once viral 'God I'm Hungry' mural in Tangerang – on Monday regrets the police clampdown against critical mural paintings and street artists, especially after a mural of President Jokowi went viral.

August 15, 2021

The Guardian - August 15, 2021

Christopher Knaus – The government will be forced to defend its decision to withhold long-secret cabinet documents about negotiations with Timor-Leste in the years prior to the controversial bugging operation revealed by Witness K and Bernard Collaery.

Jakarta Globe - August 15, 2021

Maria Fatima Bona, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has told Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin to find ways to bring down the polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test for Covid-19 in the country by a half to help it expands tracing and testing capacity, key measures to curb the pandemic.

AsiaOne - August 15, 2021

On July 28, Pastor Marselinus Monang Sijabat, the head of the St Lusia Church in Pakpak Bharat Regency in North Sumatra, Indonesia, began to feel decidedly unwell.

By August 2, the Catholic priest, 42, had received a double diagnosis – typhus and Covid-19.

Nikkei Asia - August 15, 2021

Erwida Maulia, Jakarta – Indonesia's next presidential election is still two and a half years away, but campaigning to succeed Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is already getting into swing.

Asia Pacific Report - August 15, 2021

Today – 15 August 15 1962 – marks "a day of betrayal for us West Papuans", says a Papuan leader as critics reminded the world about what happened 59 years ago.

Tempo - August 15, 2021

Antara, Jakarta – The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has urged President Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, to reiterate his commitment to handle and promote human rights when he delivers his address to the annual session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) on Monday.

August 14, 2021

Joint Statement - August 14, 2021

London, New York, Berlin – TAPOL, ETAN and Watch Indonesia! strongly condemn President Joko Widodo's decision to grant 'Bintang Jasa Utama', one the highest national awards, to Eurico Guterres on Thursday, 12 August 2021.

Antara News - August 14, 2021

Andi Firdaus, Raka Adji, Jakarta – A total of 166 thousand volunteers from various regions in Indonesia have undergone vaccination training to help the government accelerate the realization of the COVID-19 vaccination target by December 2021.

New York Times - August 14, 2021

Dera Menra Sijabat, Richard C. Paddock and Muktita Suhartono, Bulus Wetan, Indonesia – When Debiyantoro, a hotel repairman, first lost his sense of taste, he wondered briefly if it might be Covid-19, but he quickly dismissed the idea. Having the disease would mean not being able to make a living.

UCA News - August 14, 2021

Katharina R. Lestari, Jakarta – Human rights activists have condemned Indonesian President Joko Widodo for presenting an award to a former East Timorese militia leader who was involved in pre-and post-independence massacres in what is now Timor-Leste.

Bloomberg News - August 14, 2021

Arys Aditya – Indonesia found that Sinovac Biotech Ltd.'s Covid-19 vaccine was less effective at protecting against death and severe illness in April to June, compared with the previous three months.

CNN Indonesia - August 14, 2021

Jakarta – Jakarta State University (UNJ) sociologist Ubedilah Badrun has criticised the actions of authorities in removing murals containing social criticisms of the government such as a mural depicting President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo with the message "404: Not Found" in Tangerang and a mural reading "Forced to be well in a country that is sick" in Pasuruan.

Jakarta Globe - August 14, 2021

Yudha Baskoro, Sukoharjo – Agus Widanarko wears not a surgical but superhero mask in the pandemic. By trade an anti-drug counsellor, he moonlights as Super Isoman to cheer up children who self-isolate due to Covid-19 in Sukoharjo, Central Java.

CNN - August 14, 2021

Akanksha Sharma, Masrur Jamaluddin and Hilary Whiteman, Jakarta – Taufiq Hidayat enters the homes of the dead to claim bodies no one will touch.

He leads a dozen volunteer undertakers who take calls from grieving families in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, the center of one of the world's largest Covid-19 outbreaks.

August 13, 2021

Jakarta Post - August 13, 2021

Sudibyo Wiradji – As the dry season continues, heed must be given to peatland forests in Indonesia, especially on Kalimantan Island. Hot spots are expected to rise, which will potentially lead to forest fires.

Illegal blazes to clear land for agricultural plantations have been cited as one of the causes of the annual forest fires.

Straits Times - August 13, 2021

Makassar (Reuters) – A vehicle with a flashing siren and "Makassar Covid-19 Hunter" written on the side pulls up to a ship docked at a jetty in the Indonesian port city of Makassar, and masked Covid-19 patients carrying bags board the vessel.

Coconuts Bali - August 13, 2021

One of Indonesia's top officials, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, didn't seem too pleased with the COVID-19 handling in Bali during his visit yesterday, describing the province's ongoing crisis as an "anomaly" and bluntly pointing out how it can negatively affect tourism.

Jakarta Globe - August 13, 2021

Hendro Situmorang, Jakarta – Indonesia has been past the peak of the coronavirus outbreak since nearly three weeks ago, the National Covid-19 Task Force claimed on Thursday.

The task force said the number of active cases and hospital admissions have been in a steady decline after July 24, when the country registered a record 574,135 active cases.

Jakarta Post - August 13, 2021

Dio Suhenda, Jakarta – Rights groups have welcomed the abolishment of the controversial "two-finger test", a virginity test that had long been a requirement for female recruits to join the Indonesian Army.

Coconuts Jakarta - August 13, 2021

Indonesia's Health Ministry is defending the relatively steep price of PCR swab tests in the country, following protests triggered by recent reports showing how other countries have made the tests significantly more affordable for the general public.

Agence France-Presse - August 13, 2021

Tirsa Manitik gave birth to her first girl in June and buried her a month later – another casualty of virus-battered Indonesia's soaring child death toll.

The Southeast Asian nation has been hit by its worst Covid-19 surge yet as the ultra-infectious Delta variant sent deaths skyrocketing and left a trail of devastated parents in its wake.

Jakarta Globe - August 13, 2021

Jakarta – The regulations imposed during strict social restrictions are a guide to help people adapt to risks, according to Reisa Broto Asmoro, the government's Covid-19 handling spokesperson.

Coconuts Bali - August 13, 2021

Police officers have allegedly been extorting bus drivers and travelers passing through Bali's Gilimanuk Port, with reports suggesting that authorities are taking at least IDR50,000 (US$3.48) from each traveler and allowing them to circumvent entry requirements.