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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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February 25, 2006

Jakarta Post - February 25, 2006

Jakarta – Police have questioned six Cabinet Secretariat staff members in connection with Cabinet Secretary Sudi Silalahi's controversial letters recommending a company for an embassy renovation project.

Police intelligence officers also went to the Foreign Ministry on Friday to obtain the original copies of the two letters that Sudi sent last year.

Jakarta Post - February 25, 2006

Yuli Tri Suwarni, Bandung – Police arrested at least 27 Muslim activists in Bandung on Friday for targeting foreigners during a protest against the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in cartoons first published by a Danish newspaper.

Sydney Morning Herald - February 25, 2006

Tom Allard and agencies – Indigenous Papuans scraping a living from the tailings at Freeport's goldmine, the world's biggest, have halted production after injuring two armed security guards and blockading a road.

Jakarta Post - February 25, 2006

Jakarta – Dozens of people, many of them mothers with small children in tow, protested outside City Hall on Friday the water rate increase.

The protesters grouped in the Movement of Indonesian Consumers Rights demanded the Jakarta administration revoke the 8.39 percent increase, which was announced Feb. 17.

Tempo Interactive - February 25, 2006

Imron Rosyid, Surakarta – Employers in the Central Java city of Surakarta (Solo) have threatened to send thousands of their workers onto the streets if the government goes ahead and increases electricity rates. Workers have agreed to hold joint actions with employers and students including launching a boycott on paying electricity bills.

Jakarta Post - February 25, 2006

Muninggar Sri Saraswati, Jakarta – The new bill on Aceh governance is in line with the Constitution and the Helsinki peace pact signed last August with rebel leaders, the government said in its briefing to the House of Representatives on Friday.

February 24, 2006

Jakarta Post - February 24, 2006

Ati Nurbaiti, Jakarta – Shadow puppet master Ki Manteb Sudarsono has joined the ranks of seductive singers and erotic models wondering if they could fall foul of the proposed pornography law.

Agence France Presse - February 24, 2006

Jakarta – A US lawmaker Friday urged Indonesia to ease access to its easternmost province of Papua, the site of a long-simmering separatist movement, amid allegations of military abuse.

Human right groups claim some 100,000 people have died in the province as a result of military action or atrocities by Indonesian troops during the decades-long rebellion.

Jakarta Post - February 24, 2006

Jakarta – The police have vowed to tighten security at key foreign facilities in the capital following a violent attack Thursday morning at the office building where PT Freeport Indonesia is located.

Jakarta Post - February 24, 2006

Jakarta – Despite the recent downturn, Indonesia's medium-term prospects for growth remain strong, the International Monetary Fund says, with economic expansion reaching up to 5 percent this year as long as government policies are consistent with achieving macroeconomic stability and pushing structural reform to attract investment.

Jakarta Post - February 24, 2006

Jakarta – Dozens of former security guards of city-owned company PT Pulomas Jaya demonstrated in front of City Hall on Thursday, demanding of Governor Sutiyoso their severance pay.

Jakarta Post - February 24, 2006

Semarang – The financial losses suffered by Central Java province last year due to various natural disasters has been calculated at Rp 51.6 billion, with the death toll at 19. However, there were 133 in January this year due to a massive landslide.

Jakarta Post - February 24, 2006

Tony Hotland, Jakarta – The government continues to drag its feet on setting up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (KKR), despite a law ordering its immediate establishment.

Jakarta Post - February 24, 2006

The relationship between Indonesia and Timor Leste has again been put to the test with recent border incidents and the submission to the UN Secretary-General of a report on atrocities during Jakarta's rule. Timor Leste Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta discussed efforts to improve ties between the two neighbors with The Jakarta Post's Tiarma Siboro, who is visiting Dili.

Jakarta Post - February 24, 2006

Abdullah Alamudi, Jakarta – The eyes and ears of broadcast organizations focused on the Constitutional Court building Friday, anxiously waiting for the outcome of a meeting between four government agencies that will decide the fate of the broadcast media in the country.

Radio Australia - February 24, 2006

A blockade by protesters at the giant gold mine in Indonesia's Papua province has entered its fourth day. Small-scale miners who have been prevented by police and security guards from scavanging in the mine's tailings say they are determined to keep up the blockade until their demands are met.

Jakarta Post Editorial - February 24, 2006

The government, in refraining from forcing its will on Papuans in the protracted dispute over the status of West Irian Jaya, seems to have learned from the past.

Although earlier setting a Feb. 20 deadline for a settlement of the dispute, the government has opted to heed the wishes of the Papuan People's Assembly (MRP) and the provincial legislature.

Jakarta Post - February 24, 2006

Tony Hotland, Jakarta – Doing the necessary work to address human rights issues has never held much appeal for any administration in Indonesia. During the many decades that Sukarno and his successor Soeharto were in power, rights abuses of all types occurred. Subsequent presidents – B.J. Habibie, Abdurrahman Wahid and Megawati Soekarnoputri – had little time for such issues.

February 23, 2006

Jakarta Post - February 23, 2006

Tb. Arie Rukmantara, Jakarta – Home Minister M. Ma'ruf supports the idea of soldiers being allowed to vote in the 2009 elections.

Tempo Interactive - February 23, 2006

Tito Sianipar, Jakarta – Muhammad Said Didu, Secretary to the State Minister of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), has stated that 85 percent of SOE shares already listed on the stock exchange are owned by foreign parties.

Reuters - February 23, 2006

Jerry Norton, Jakarta – Sustaining world interest in aid to areas devastated by the December 2004 tsunami is about to get tougher, a top recovery official said on Thursday as he visited Indonesia's hard-hit Aceh province.

Detik.com - February 23, 2006

Ken Yunita, Jakarta – It has not just been once or twice that the families of pro-democracy activists that were abducted in 1997-98 have expressed their disappointment with the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) Ad Hoc team. This time around they are conveying the same thing, annoyance and disappointment with the sluggishness of the team's work.

The Australian - February 23, 2006

Sian Powell, Jakarta – Indicted for crimes against humanity by Indonesia and East Timor, feared militia leader Eurico Guterres has now been elected regional chairman of one of Indonesia's larger political parties.

Antara News - February 23, 2006

Jakarta – A University of Indonesia sociologist said the indigenous Papuan people should not be blamed in the clash that occurred in the mining area of giant US-based mining company PT Freeport Indonesia in Timika on Tuesday.

Jakarta Post - February 23, 2006

Jakarta – The government's hopes of achieving higher growth this year on the back of increased investment has suffered a setback, with official figures showing a slow start to the year for both foreign and domestic investment approvals.

Agence France Presse - February 23, 2006

Nearly 600 East Timorese soldiers have deserted their barracks this month in protest against alleged discrimination and over-zealous surveillance, an officer in the group says.

The officer, who declines to be named, says a batch of 177 soldiers last weekend joined an earlier 404 who initially left their barracks in Metinaro and Baucau on February 8.

Radio Australia - February 23, 2006

The peace process in the Indonesian province of Aceh is about to face its next big test., with parliament setting up a special committee to debate a draft law granting a level of autonomy to Aceh. The committee's 50 members hold their first meeting this week.

Jakarta Post - February 23, 2006

Jakarta – It's long been known that animal markets in Jakarta are the place to pick up endangered animals at bargain prices to add to a personal menagerie.

While hunters may only get a few hundred thousand rupiah for catching a rare animal, organizers of the illegal wildlife trade are assured a princely sum, a non-governmental organization said Wednesday.

Associated Press - February 23, 2006

Zakki Hakim, Jakarta – Students attacked the building housing offices of a US gold mining giant in Indonesia's capital on Thursday, as the company's mine in western Papua province remained shut for a second day due to protests, police said.

Jakarta Post - February 23, 2006

Anissa S. Febrina, Jakarta – If there is anything that Indonesians all agree on right now, it is the need to put off unnecessary expenditures, two newly released consumer confidence surveys reveal.

Jakarta Post - February 23, 2006

Nani Afrida, Banda Aceh – The religious police are earning a bad reputation among some Banda Aceh residents for arrogance and thuggery.

February 22, 2006

Reuters - February 22, 2006

Achmad Sukarsono, Jakarta – Indonesia is working to uproot militant Islamic ideas but officials and moderate clerics say they face a long struggle, while also coping with setbacks such as anger over cartoons that lampooned the Prophet Mohammad.

East Timor and Indonesia Action Network - February 22, 2006

[Talk by Scott Burchill, senior lecturer in international relations, Deakin University Forum for West Papua, RMIT University, Victoria, Australia, February 15, 2006.]

Associated Press - February 22, 2006

Jakarta – Production at the world's largest gold and copper mine was suspended Wednesday after illegal miners blocked the road leading to the site in Indonesia's remote Papua province, a company spokesman said.

Jakarta Post - February 22, 2006

Nani Afrida, Aceh Jaya – Thousands of students in Aceh Jaya regency, Aceh, are still attending lessons in tents more than a year after the deadly tsunami destroyed many of the regency's schools.

At least 98 of 161 schools in Aceh Jaya regency were destroyed in the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami, Aceh Jaya Regent Zulfian Ahmad said.

Jakarta Post - February 22, 2006

Tiarma Siboro, Timor-Leste – Prosecutions of crimes against humanity in Timor Leste will not be affected by the diplomatic approach taken by the country and Indonesia, Timor Leste's general prosecutor says.

Green Left Weekly - February 22, 2006

Gillian Davy, Melbourne – A powerful video message from Herman Wainggai, spokesperson for 43 West Papuan asylum seekers incarcerated on Christmas Island, was a highlight of a Free West Papua Collective public forum attended by 120 people on February 15.

Lusa - February 22, 2006

Dili – A group of about 350 troops in East Timor who remain AWOL in a dispute with military and civil authorities will be disciplined for their actions, which do not constitute a threat to national stability, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said Wednesday.

Nonviolent Activist - February 22, 2006

Charles Scheiner – Imagine a vast land mass, laden with gold and timber and populated only by a few "primitive" tribes. Imagine an overpopulated, expansionist neighbor eager to reap the harvest next door.

Indonesian Forum for Environment (Walhi) Press Release - February 22, 2006

Jakarta – In connection with the conflict between indigenous residents, paramilitary police forces and company security this Tuesday (21 Feb 2006), WALHI appeals for all parties to restrain themselves to avoid further injuries.

This conflict must be seen with a level head in order to avoid acts which might provoke a violent reaction and result in a worsening situation.

Radio Australia - February 22, 2006

A debate about pornography is growing in Indonesia. The controversy has been sparked by news that Playboy magazine has signed a deal to produce a local edition. Parliament's expected to pass a law this year banning sensual diplays of the body. But there are fears Indonesia could be heading back into the dark ages of censorship and repression.

Jakarta Post - February 22, 2006

Tiarma Siboro, Jakarta – The woman, dressed somewhat provocatively, was conversing with some East Timorese militiamen.

She was there not for a pleasure, but to speak on behalf of dozens of East Timorese children and women hopelessly cramped into massive refugee camps near the border town of Atambua, West Nusa Tenggara.

Jakarta Post - February 22, 2006

Jakarta – Despite opposition from Papuan community groups, the Constitutional Court has reaffirmed the status of West Irian Jaya as a province, saying it only lacks a legal operational basis to regulate government activities there.

Jakarta Post - February 22, 2006

Jakarta – The South Jakarta District Court is coming under increasing fire from officials and legal activists for its many questionable acquittals of high-profile graft suspects.

February 21, 2006

Pacific Media Watch - February 21, 2006

Sydney – The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has written to the Indonesian Government demanding the removal of the ban on foreign media in West Papua immediately.

Jakarta Post - February 21, 2006

Adianto P. Simamora, Jakarta – Hoping to jump-start stalled negotiations over the minimum monthly wage, thousands of Jakarta's workers are threatening a March 1 strike.

Detik.com - February 21, 2006

Fitraya Ramadhanny, Jakarta – Indonesian Human Rights Watch (Imparsial) has protested the unearthing of 23 sites suspected to be graves of victims of human rights violations in the North Aceh town of Bireun. Imparsial also expressed its disappointment with police for allowing it to happen.

Jakarta Post - February 21, 2006

Hera Diani, Jakarta – A revised version of a controversial ministerial decree on the establishment of places of worship has won grudging acceptance from minority religious groups, who say they have little choice in the matter.

Jakarta Post - February 21, 2006

Ridwan Max Sijabat, Jakarta – Activist groups united on Monday to oppose the government's plan to "legalize" the military's security business, in which private companies pay soldiers to protect their industries in conflict areas.

Reuters - February 21, 2006

Jakarta – Landslides and floods triggered by torrential rain have killed at least 24 people in Indonesia's eastern city of Manado, search and rescue officials said on Wednesday.

The disaster occurred on Tuesday in the North Sulawesi provincial capital, where parts of the city were inundated with one-meter (three foot) high floodwaters after hours of rain.