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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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August 6, 2000

Agence France Presse - August 6, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesia's national assembly will Monday open its first annual session as analysts dismiss the meeting as unnecessary and its agenda as too ambitious.

Reuters - August 6, 2000

Jakarta – Embattled Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid's long-awaited accountability speech will be the main order of business on Monday at the country's top legislature, the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR). Following are details of the 700- seat MPR, which will convene from August 7-18 at a cost of 25 billion rupiah ($2.9 million):

Associated Press - August 6, 2000

Geneva – Representatives of the Indonesian government and separatist rebels in the Aceh province met yesterday to assess the success of the ongoing three-month truce.

President Abdurrahman Wahid has proposed prolonging the unprecedented truce, which came into effect on June 2 after negotiations between the two sides in Geneva.

August 5, 2000

The Australian - August 5, 2000

Don Greenlees, Jakarta – Jaya Suprana is the rotund and very jolly host of a talk show on an Indonesian television channel owned by ex-president Suharto's eldest daughter, Siti Hardiyanti "Tutut" Rukmana.

South China Morning Post - August 5, 2000

Joanna Jolly, Dili – Ethnic-Chinese businessmen trying to re-establish East Timor's economy have become a target for hostility and extortion by the local community.

The Chinese are re-starting the profitable wholesale, retail and supply operations they ran before last year's independence vote, but face strong opposition from indigenous East Timorese.

Jakarta Post - August 5, 2000

Jakarta – The Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) announced here on Friday a higher than expected growth rate in the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter but business analysts warned that the fragile condition in the political field could drag down the upward trend in the economy.

Associated Press - August 5, 2000

Jakarta – Forced to flee their homes by rampaging Muslim militants, hundreds of Christian refugees sheltering in remote mountains in the Maluku islands are facing starvation, international aid workers said Saturday.

South China Morning Post - August 5, 2000

Vaudine England, Jakarta – Prosecutors say they will be ready to deliver a detailed indictment of former president Suharto on corruption charges in a Jakarta courtroom on Monday. But independent corruption investigators say the legal process is a sham.

Agence France Presse - August 5, 2000

Jakarta – More than 95 percent of the 144.5 trillion rupiah (16.8 billion dollars) of central bank liquidity credits extended to Indonesian institutions between 1997-1999 were misused, press reports said Saturday.

August 4, 2000

Jakarta Post - August 4, 2000

Jakarta – A combination of incompetence and legacies from past regimes are inhibiting the government from upholding the law and protecting human rights, a watchdog chairman said on Thursday.

Associated Press - August 4, 2000

Dili – UN peacekeepers in East Timor are now facing a well trained and disciplined anti-independence militia force that continues to use Indonesian-West Timor as a safe haven, Australia's visiting defense minister said Friday.

Detik - August 4, 2000

Dikhy Sasra/SWA, Jakarta – Approaching the Annual Session of the People's Consultative Assembly on 7-18 August 2000, demonstrations are becoming more frequent. The Presidential Office, located on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara, Central Jakarta, was today the target of demonstrators from the National League of Democratic Students (LMND).

Jakarta Post - August 4, 2000

The need for military support by the government and internal rivalry led to the latest military reshuffle, says military analyst Kusnanto Anggoro of the Jakarta-based Centre of Strategic and International Studies.

Asiaweek - August 4, 2000

Jose Manuel Tesoro, Jakarta – There can often be more than one Abdurrahman Wahid. There is Wahid the brave idealist, whose belief in political reconciliation rivals his convictions on religious freedom. There is Wahid the cunning strategist, for whom there is no difference between allies and rivals.

South China Morning Post - August 4, 2000

Vaudine England, Jakarta – Significant though the corruption charges filed yesterday against former president Suharto are, his forthcoming trial barely scratches the surface of the bundle of crimes most Indonesians believe he committed.

Dow Jones Newswires - August 4, 2000

Tom Wright, Jakarta – Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid will likely survive a grilling by the nation's highest legislative body next week, but he will need to make major changes to his leadership style to avoid impeachment later this year, analysts say.

Asiaweek - August 4, 2000

Dewi Loveard, Jakarta – Shortly before Gus Dur (as President Abdurrahman Wahid is popularly known) was to face parliament in the interpellation session, he made an unexpected announcement to his cabinet: His partner, Megawati Sukarnoputri, would read his response to the parliamentarians' questions about the sacking of former ministers Laksamana Sukardi and Jusuf Kalla.

August 3, 2000

Detik - August 3, 2000

L Hakim, I Shalihin/SWA & AH, Jakarta – Although former president Suharto's case file has been handed over to the Public Prosecutor, demonstrators from infamous City Forum (Forkot) , LMND, City Network (Jarkot) and Karat groups are not satisfied. Today they marched to Suharto's residence on the famous Cendana Street, demanding Suharto be put on trial right away.

Straits Times - August 3, 2000

Jakarta – So who benefited from Tuesday's Yogyakarta meeting of the Big Four? Birthday boy Sultan Hamengkubuwono certainly did, catapulting himself onto centre stage as a unifier heads above the squabbling politicians, the man who might just have saved a presidency and so be a suitable alternative.

Jakarta Post - August 3, 2000

Ambon – Explosions erupted and gunshots rang out again in ravaged Ambon city on Wednesday, leaving at least 11 people injured. Heavily armed rioters raided the areas of Trikora, Pohon Pule, Diponegoro and Paradise Tengah in downtown Ambon at about 11am, causing panic among passersby, motorists and local residents.

Tapol Press Release - August 3, 2000

The decision announced today by the Indonesian government that Suharto, the former dictator, will go on trial later this month on charges of corruption is a totally inadequate response to the horrendous crimes for which he was responsible.

Tempo - August 3, 2000

Bandung – After 13 years, the struggle of 800 farmers in Cimacan village, Cianjur regency, brings result. The 34-hectare land that so far had been captured by PT Bandung Asri Mulya (BAM) and converted into a golf field was recaptured.

Energy Asia - August 3, 2000

The Timor Gap Treaty signed between Australia and Indonesia during the rule of former president Suharto is illegal, and is not recognised by either the United Nations or the East Timorese people.

Jakarta Post - August 3, 2000

Roderick Bowen, Palembang – The vegetation fires along the Riau – North Sumatra border that started on July 7 and sent smoke across the Straits of Malacca until July 20 should have been no surprise to anybody.

Far Eastern Economic Review - August 3, 2000

John McBeth, Jakarta – The sight of an elected president defying members of parliament who helped put him in office is hardly an advertisement for democracy.

August 2, 2000

Jakarta Post - August 2, 2000

Jakarta – Housewives, motorists and taxi drivers hailed on Tuesday the Central Jakarta District Court's ruling allowing becak (three-wheeled pedicabs) to operate in the capital.

Agence France Presse - August 2, 2000 (slightly abridged)

Jakarta – Indonesian authorities plan to register all East Timorese refugees still on Indonesian soil and make a last offer, to either stay or return home, a report said Tuesday.

Straits Times - August 2, 2000

Jakarta – Motorists in and around the capital are probably familiar with the sight of teenage boys and young men chasing after passing fuel trucks, opening the valves on the back of the vehicles, collecting drops of fuel in small buckets and scattering.

Straits Times - August 2, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesia's National Logistics Agency (Bulog) has said that, as rice stocks were still plentiful, there was no need to sign any more contracts to import rice this year.

Green Left Weekly - August 2, 2000

Max Lane - Protest actions took place in several Indonesian cities on July 27 to commemorate the 1996 attacks on the headquarters of the Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) and the crackdown on the People's Democratic Party (PRD) that followed.

Sydney Morning Herald - August 2, 2000

Mark Dodd, Dili – The United States Ambassador to Indonesia has condemned Jakarta's "lamentable and inexcusable" failure to disarm militias operating from West Timor.

Green Left Weekly - August 2, 2000

Jon Land – The confrontation on July 24 between pro-Jakarta militia forces from West Timor and a detachment of New Zealand soldiers from the United Nations peace-keeping force – the third such incident along the western border since the end of May – highlights again the serious threat that the militia gangs pose.

Green Left Weekly - August 2, 2000

Pip Hinman – It took the July 24 murder of Leonard Manning, a New Zealand United Nations soldier in East Timor, to remind the world that the Indonesian military hasn't changed its spots. But just four days earlier, Indonesia's defence minister Juwono Sudarsono announced that Australia had offered to resume training Indonesian military (TNI) personnel.

South China Morning Post - August 2, 2000

Vaudine England, Yogyakarta – Indonesia's top leaders chose statesmanship over party politics yesterday when they answered the Sultan of Yogyakarta's call to meet and settle their differences.

Straits Times - August 2, 2000

Jakarta – Indonesia plans to develop two million hectares of new paddy fields outside Java to secure rice supplies for the growing population.

The Australian - August 2, 2000

Paul Dillon, Ambon – The detention of five members of Indonesia's notorious Kopassus (Special Forces) in the Maluku islands has raised fears the Australian-trained commandos are engaging in an East Timor-style dirty tricks campaign.

August 1, 2000

Sydney Morning Herald - August 1, 2000

Lindsay Murdoch, Dili – Former guerilla fighter Mr Xanana Gusmao will become the first president of independent East Timor. After insisting for months that he would refuse the job, Mr Gusmao now says he plans to accept nomination for the presidency at United Nations-supervised elections scheduled for late next year.

Interpress News Service - August 1, 2000

Jakarta – They may have become an annual ritual, but Indonesia's forest fires are by no means welcome events in this country – as well as in neighbouring nations that often ended up choking in the resulting thick smoke.

Sydney Morning Herald - August 1, 2000

Hamish McDonald, Jakarta – The sudden transfer of a leading reformist general out of the Indonesian Army's most important combat command threatens a new chill in Jakarta's relations with Western governments, and puts off any immediate prospect of a resumption in military aid.

Indonesian Observer - August 1, 2000

Jakarta – State-owned oil and gas corporation Pertamina has dismissed 19,000 employees in a bid to reduce inefficiency.

Pertamina President Director Baihaqi Hakim told the press at the Finance Ministry here yesterday that the company now has 27,000 employees, down from a previous total of 46,000.

Jakarta Post - August 1, 2000

Jakarta – Over 1,000 people crammed into the Central Jakarta District Courthouse and joyfully screamed after the judges ruled in favor of becak (pedicab) drivers, declaring unlawful the Jakarta governor's ban on pedicabs in the capital.

Jakarta Post - August 1, 2000

Jakarta – The destruction of Tanjung Puting National Park in Central Kalimantan shows no sign of stopping, leaving its few remaining orangutans – Asia's only great ape – on a desperate plight, environmentalists have warned.

South China Morning Post - August 1, 2000

Chris McCall, Jakarta – The military yesterday booted its most outspoken reformist general out of the command of the elite Kostrad strategic reserve, a post he had occupied for just four months.

Agence France Presse - August 1, 2000

Yogyakarta – Five top Indonesian political figures pledged here on Tuesday to set aside their differences and work together to safeguard the country's territorial integrity and economic recovery.

Agence France Presse - August 1, 2000

Jakarta – Muslim assailants killed at least 23 Christians fleeing from an attack on their village into the jungles of the Indonesian island of Ambon, a Christian activist said Tuesday. The dead were among some 4,000 people who had fled the village in fear of their lives, he said.

Jakarta Post - August 1, 2000

Kafil Yamin, Bandung – A good soldier knows what he is supposed to give as a present to his commander when he returns from duty in the jungle. Not fresh fruit or live fish, but a rare species of monkey, bird or deer.

July 31, 2000

South China Morning Post - July 31, 2000

Vaudine England, Jayapura – Tension is rising in the province of Irian Jaya, with almost daily incidents of protest, killing or intimidation occurring across the vast land mass.

A combination of indicators – ranging from a sudden lack of public transport to outright riots – suggest serious instability is threatening Indonesia's eastern-most province and last frontier.

The Australian - July 31, 2000

Don Greenlees, Jakarta – The Harco Hotel in central Jakarta is a dreary resting place for people travelling on the cheap. For 100,000 rupiah ($20) a night, visitors are led down a narrow concrete passageway to a small cell. It's not a place to linger.

Jakarta Post - July 31, 2000

Jakarta – "I am really ashamed every time my counterparts from Malaysia and Singapore call me to complain about the haze coming from Sumatra," State Minister of Environment Sony Keraf said in an interview with The Jakarta Post recently.

Agence France Presse - July 31, 2000

Jakarta – At least 15,000 separatists staged a peaceful protest in the Irian Jaya town of Manokwari yesterday to mark the 1969 referendum that turned the island into an Indonesian province. The Papuans covered a monument commemorating the referendum with black cloth, saying it was a monument to a historical lie.