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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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February 21, 2021

Agence France-Presse - February 21, 2021

Jakarta – Five people were killed in the severe floods that submerged entire neighborhoods in Jakarta, authorities said Sunday, as residents returned to clean their homes and salvage belongings.

The city was struck by torrential rains over the weekend, which flooded dozens of major roads and forced hundreds of people to rush to emergency shelters.

Tempo - February 21, 2021

Antara, Jakarta – The Indonesian government has distributed seven million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for the first phase of vaccination of the elderly in the country that will commence next week.

Jakarta Globe - February 21, 2021

Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – More than 1,000 Indonesian citizens returning from foreign countries have tested positive for coronavirus since late December although they produced negative Covid-19 test prior to the home flight, an official said on Sunday.

Tempo - February 21, 2021

Antara, Jakarta – Floods submerged several areas in Jakarta's western suburb of Tangerang on Saturday, prompting thousands of people to shift to higher ground.

The Tangerang City Natural Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) started evacuating residents from their homes to camps early on Saturday.

February 20, 2021

Jakarta Globe - February 20, 2021

Yustinus Paat, Jakarta – Floods inundated parts of Jakarta on Saturday, forcing thousands to leave their homes following heavy rains in the past few days.

Jakarta Globe - February 20, 2021

Yustinus Paat, Jakarta – An overnight downpour has flooded Jakarta on Saturday morning but a city official was quick to claim that the impact was not serious as less than 1 percent of neighborhood areas have been affected.

Jakarta's disaster mitigation agency (BPBD) reported, as of Saturday at 6.00 a.m, several areas in South Jakarta and East Jakarta are still inundated.

Suara Papua - February 20, 2021

Jayapura – National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) Chairperson Ahmad Taufan Damanik says that the withdrawal of Indonesian military (TNI) and police from Papua does not make sense because the threat by armed groups still exists.

February 19, 2021

Tabloid JUBI - February 19, 2021

Hengky Yeimo, Nabire – Visual artist from West Papua, Ellya Alexander Tebay, has taken inspiration from Papuan local food, sweet potatoes or "ubi" in Indonesian, to express his lament for the declining existence of the food in the realm of native Papuans' live.

Coconuts Bali - February 19, 2021

Sheany – Bali has seen more and more reports of sea turtles stranded on its shores this year, with a local NGO putting the number at almost two dozen since late January.

Tempo - February 19, 2021

Hendartyo Hanggi, Jakarta – Indonesian National Police Chief General Listyo Sigit said that his institution faces a situation that is unwinnable in regards to the Information and Electronics Transaction Law (ITE Law) – a law which critics argue is often abused and provisions 'stretched' for multiple interpretations – and the authorities are often seen to side with people who arguabl

Jakarta Globe - February 19, 2021

Primus Dorimulu, Maria Fatima Bona, Jakarta – Indonesian health authorities have started to administer coronavirus vaccine produced by state-run pharmaceutical company Bio Farma since the second round of mass vaccination began on Wednesday.

Mongabay - February 19, 2021

Della Syahni and Sapariah Saturi, Jakarta – A coal-slurry spill into a river in Indonesian Borneo has killed hundreds of fish and forced authorities to shut off water lines to households.

Inside Story - February 19, 2021

Michael Leach – After a year of upheaval, Timor-Leste politics entered 2021 in an interesting place. Alliances between the major parties have been reconfigured and a rising generation of small parties is generating new pressures. Still unresolved, meanwhile, is the future management of the maritime oilfields, vital to the nation's economic future.

Tabloid JUBI - February 19, 2021

Hengky Yeimo, Nabire – The spokesperson of West Papua National Committee (KNPB) in Timika area, Emanuel Dogopia, was taken from his parents' house in Timika, the center of Mimika regency in Papua, by the police.

Nikkei Asia - February 19, 2021

Antonia Timmerman, Jakarta – The stench is overpowering, and it only gets worse as you approach the biggest landfill site in Southeast Asia.

Tempo - February 19, 2021

Tempo.Co, Rini Kustiani, Jakarta – Tourists visiting Papua must pay extra attention to look out for pigs – which can be spotted roaming village streets. The local custom suggests that this animal is highly valued by the society in the province.

Agence France-Presse - February 19, 2021

Yogyakarta – Mount Merapi, one of the world's most active volcanoes, erupted on Friday, belching out fiery red lava.

The volcano, close to Yogyakarta, had already spewed lava almost two dozen times over the two last days and caused hundreds of minor volcanic quakes, according to a report by Indonesia's geological agency.

UCA News - February 19, 2021

Konradus Epa, Jakarta – Environmentalists in Indonesia have called on the government to try and settle more than 1,000 disputes triggered by the presence of palm oil plantations, including agrarian ones between indigenous people and palm oil companies across the country.

They said the situation is threatening to spiral out of control

CNN Indonesia - February 19, 2021

Jakarta – Exposit Strategy Political Analyst Arif Susanto has warned that the discourse on revisions to the Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE) Law which have been proposed recently are nothing more than means to improve the government's image.

CNN Indonesia - February 19, 2021

Jakarta – September 2019, and Veronica Koman was enjoying her final days in Australia. Her studies at the Australian National University were almost over and all that was left was to wait for graduation day.

One afternoon, Koman's mobile phone rang. There was an SMS message from a friend in Indonesia. Her colleague informed her that the police had declared Koman a suspect.

Tempo - February 19, 2021

Jakarta – The transfer of the management of the Rokan Block from Chevron to Pertamina is delayed by a number of problems. This is the result of the government's politicizing of economic decisions.

Jakarta Globe - February 19, 2021

Herman, Triyan Pangastuti, Jakarta – Bank Indonesia, or BI, the country's central bank, has cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to a record low of 3.5 percent and drop the down payment requirement for new vehicle loans and mortgages in the latest attempt to spur growth in Southeast Asia's largest economy.

UCA News - February 19, 2021

Katharina R. Lestari, Jakarta – Prosecutors in Indonesia have sought a 10-year jail term for a man accused of attempting to kill a 44-year-old Saudi-born Muslim cleric last year.

Alpin Andrian, 24, allegedly stabbed Syekh Ali Jaber in the shoulder while he was delivering a sermon on Sept. 13 last year at a mosque in Bandar Lampung, the largest city in Lampung province.

February 18, 2021

Nikkei Asia - February 18, 2021

Shotaro Tani, Jakarta – Indonesia's central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate for the first time in three months and lowered its growth outlook for this year, as the country continues to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic.

Tempo - February 18, 2021

Antara, Jakarta – The West Kalimantan Police announced the arrest of three suspected terrorists that were captured in an operation led by the antiterrorist group Densus 88. Police say that the three suspects that are all in their twenties are affiliated with the terrorist cell Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).

Jakarta Globe - February 18, 2021

Maria Fatima Bona, Jakarta – Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has suspected the government's Covid-19 test reporting application's complicated user interface kept laboratories from reporting the complete test data on time, distorting key indicators for assessing the pandemic situation in Indonesia.

UCA News - February 18, 2021

Ryan Dagur, Jakarta – A senior Indonesian Church official has welcomed a call by President Joko Widodo for the revision of several articles in a law regulating electronic information and transactions that activists claim are aimed at curbing civil liberties and ensnaring government critics.

Catholic Outlook - February 18, 2021

Ryan Dagur – Activists stage protest against Archbishop of Merauke signing deal with palm oil firm "at expense of environment"

Together with several colleagues, Papuan Catholic activist Melvin Waine stood in front of Good Shepherd Parish Church in Abepura, Papua province, on Jan. 31.

CNN Indonesia - February 18, 2021

Jakarta – National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) Commissioner Choirul Anam says that the move by Yogyakarta (DIY) Governor Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X to restrict demonstrations at several key locations in the Central Java city is a setback for democracy.

Coconuts Jakarta - February 18, 2021

Police in Probolinggo, East Java are investigating the alleged abuse of a domestic worker, who escaped alleged horrible live-in conditions with her employers recently.

Tempo - February 18, 2021

Budiarti Utami Putri, Koran Tempo, Jakarta – Presidential Chief of Staff spokesperson Juri Ardiantoro said that the government has given the green light for the House of Representatives (DPR) to propose a revision for the Information and Electronic Transactions Law (ITE Law) as he said the law is a product of the government and DPR.

Asia One - February 18, 2021

"It's not too late to return to God. God has not left you. Indonesia is a Muslim country, and we reject all sins. Let us help you drive Satan out from inside of you and you can become normal again," reads a message sent through an Instagram account under the name Mohammad Susantu (@mohammadsusantu).

Coconuts Bali - February 18, 2021

Misinformation and hoaxes surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine have sparked fear among some people in Indonesia, so much so that residents of a hamlet in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) reportedly went into the woods to hide.

Mongabay - February 18, 2021

Hans Nicholas Jong, Jakarta – Police in Indonesia are considering opening an investigation into allegations that a recent deadly flood in Borneo may have been exacerbated by environmental degradation linked to coal mining activity.

Tempo - February 18, 2021

Antara, Jakarta – The latest data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS) related to people's main sources of income classifies the majority of households facing poverty in 2020 are the ones relying on agriculture as their main source of income.

Tempo - February 18, 2021

Anwar Siswadi, Jakarta – The disposable face mask waste is a new problem in the society amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in the household level. The team of researchers from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) is figuring out the solution to the matter by recycling disposable masks into plastic pellets.

February 17, 2021

Tempo - February 17, 2021

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – The Indonesian government has officially passed 49 implementing regulations from the Job Creation Law, which is widely known as the UU Cipta Kerja, on Tuesday, February 16. The regulations consist of 45 government regulations and four presidential regulations.

CNN Indonesia - February 17, 2021

Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia is calling on President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to release all those criminalised under the Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE) Law as a concrete step following his statement that he wants to revise the law.

UCA News - February 17, 2021

Katharina R. Lestari, Jakarta – A province on Indonesia's Sumatra island has declared an eight-month emergency to try and prevent peat fires that blanket the region and beyond with harmful haze each year.

Riau province governor Syamsuar declared the emergency on Feb. 15 following a virtual meeting of local government officials in the provincial capital Pekanbaru.

The Diplomat - February 17, 2021

By Aashna Jamal – Timor-Leste is one of the countries with the lowest number of COVID-19 cases, largely because the government shut down borders in early 2020 knowing that the fragile health system would not be able to cope with a pandemic. The nation has been in an extended state of emergency since March 28, 2020, a period that was broken only by a brief hiatus in July and August.

Tempo - February 17, 2021

Bisnis, Jakarta – A viral video that became one of Twitter's trending list entries on February 16 showing a lengthy line of tow trucks carrying new cars that were purchased by village residents of Sumurgeneng located in East Java's Tuban District.

Jakarta Globe - February 17, 2021

Markus Junianto Sihaloho, Maria Fatima Bona, Jakarta – Indonesia on Wednesday launched the second round of mass vaccination against coronavirus targeting public service workers and elderly citizens, including Vice President Ma'ruf Amin who is 77.

Coconuts Jakarta - February 17, 2021

Here's a little heads up for those of you who are new to or are still trying to get into the hot new audio-based social app Clubhouse in Indonesia: there's a possibility that the country's Information and Communications Ministry (Kominfo) may block it entirely in the next few months.

Tabloid JUBI - February 17, 2021

Victor Mambor, Jayapura, Jubi – Papuan Humanity Team on Case of Violence against Religious Figures in Intan Jaya regency, or Humanity Team, has completed the documentation of alleged extrajudicial killings against Protestant pastor Yeremia Zanambani on Sept. 19, 2020. This report documents facts surrounding the killing of Pastor Yeremia.

Tempo - February 17, 2021

Andita Rahma, Jakarta – In response to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's statement on the idea of revising the Law on Information and Electronic Transactions or ITE Law, the human rights group Lokataru Foundation opined that such revision could not necessarily restore democracy.

Kompas.com - February 17, 2021

Tsarina Maharani, Jakarta – National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) Deputy Chairperson Mariana Amiruddin says implementing the principle of restorative justice in rape cases does not mean marrying off the victim to the rapist.

Jakarta Globe - February 17, 2021

Natasha Christy Wahyuni & Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – The US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has vowed to bolster the longstanding bilateral ties with Indonesia in a phone call with Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi, according to the US state department spokesperson Ned Price.

Straits Times - February 17, 2021

Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja, Jakarta – The second phase of Indonesia's vaccination programme kicked off on Wednesday (Feb 17) at South-east Asia's biggest textile market in Tanah Abang, with 10,000 vendors having signed up to receive their first shot.

The market in central Jakarta was abuzz with excitement as 40 vaccinators made preparations for the inoculation.

Al Jazzera - February 17, 2021

Ian Lloyd Neubauer – Xanana Gusmao, independence hero and East Timor's former president, has drawn rare condemnation after being accused of whitewashing the crimes of a disgraced American priest who is due to stand trial next week in a landmark child-sex abuse case in the Catholic-majority Southeast Asian nation.

February 16, 2021

Straits Times - February 16, 2021

Linda Yulisman, Jakarta – Indonesian rescuers have taken extra measures to protect themselves from being infected with Covid-19, as they battle floods in Jakarta and the surrounding regions.