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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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December 3, 1998

Dow Jones Newswires - December 3, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – Indonesia will hold parliamentary elections on June 7 and elect a new president on Aug. 29, speaker of the house of parliament Harmoko said Thursday.

Jakarta Post - December 3, 1998

Jakarta – The United Development Party (PPP) wound up its fourth congress on Wednesday by appointing new chairman Hamzah Haz and secretary-general Ali Marwan Hanan to lead it in the daunting task of facing stiffer political competition.

Far Easter Economic Review - December 3, 1998

John McBeth, Bireuen – Mention Indonesia's financial crisis to betel-nut farmer Abdullah Ali and the bony face under the floppy hat cracks into a delighted grin. "I'm very happy," says the father of seven at his modest home in the foothills near Bireuen. "Krismon" – a colloquial term for the crisis – "has been very good to me."

Tapol - December 3, 1998

A team of students which planned to visit Alas to conduct investigations into the human rights violations there was forced to return to Dili after being subjected to intimidatory actions by troops in Same to the north west of Alas.

Tapol - December 3, 1998

According to a report received today from the Peace and Justice Commission in Dili, a religious teacher named Francisco Carvalho was shot dead by two unidentified men as he was teaching at a school in Uatolari, Viqueque.

Jakarta Post - December 3, 1998

Jakarta – The majority of the Indonesian people do not believe the government's claim that the student movement has lost its purity, or that it had begun to represent the interests of a small group of people bent on bringing down the government of President B.J. Habibie, according to a recent poll.

Chicago Tribune - December 3, 1998

Liz Sly, Jakarta – Indonesia's angry students are more likely these days to shout "Down with Suharto," referring to the autocrat who was forced from office last May as the economy collapsed and unrest surged, than "Down with Habibie," an allusion to the functionary who succeeded him.

December 2, 1998

Agence France Presse - December 2, 1998

Jakarta – Thousands of Indonesian students took to the streets here again Wednesday, and managed for the first time to breach presidential palace security and directly demand that fallen strongman Suharto be brought to trial.

Retuters - December 2, 1998

Gde Anugrah Arka, Jakarta – Indonesia's ailing rupiah is out of intensive care and in the recovery ward – but anxious eyes are on the chart for any sign of a relapse.

The political turmoil and bloody unrest sweeping Indonesia has failed to dampen a steady rally that could see the rupiah breach the 7,000 barrier this month for the first time since January.

SiaR - December 2, 1998

Jakarta – Certain groups have seen indications that the riots in Ketapang [Jakarta - trans] and Kupang are forms of revenge perpetrated by civilian forces prepared by the Cendana Group in retaliation for the attacks on Soeharto's position and to serve as a warning to halt investigations into the Soeharto family.

Jakarta Post - December 2, 1998

Jakarta – The parents of six students who were shot dead in the clashes between students and security forces on Nov. 13 demanded on Monday the Armed Forces (ABRI) leaders are held responsible for the incident.

December 1, 1998

American Reporter - December 1, 1998

Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – Indonesian Muslim and Christian leaders asked the public Tuesday to refrain from seeking reprisal against one another over attacks on more than 20 churches in Jakarta last month and the burning of several mosques in a predominantly Christian area on Monday.

Agence France Presse - December 1, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – A district court in Indonesia's troubled Aceh province was set ablaze when unidentified men threw petrol bombs into the building, press reports here said Tuesday. Several rooms, including the courtroom, were burned in the early hours of Monday forcing an indefinite postponement of court sessions, the Kompas daily reported.

Human Rights Watch - World Report 1999

Indonesia had one of the most tumultuous years in its modern history: economic collapse spurred student-led demands for political reform, bringing President Soeharto's three-decade rule to an end in May. His successor and protegi, Vice-President B.J.

Wall Street Journal - December 1, 1998

Jeremy Wagstaff, Jakarta – Mobs in mainly Christian eastern Indonesia went on the rampage Monday, burning mosques and attacking Muslim shops, schools and a university. It was one of the worst attacks on the country's majority religion in years and is certain to fan divisions in a nation already gripped by political and social unrest.

Jakarta Post - December 1, 1998

Jakarta – The country's largest Moslem organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) may bring the case of the ninja killings which have taken place across Java over the past few months to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Antara reported on Monday.

The Independent - December 1, 1998

Paul Lashmar and Jamese Oliver – In autumn 1965, Norman Reddaway, a lean and erudite rising star of the Foreign Office, was briefed for a special mission. The British Ambassador to Indonesia, Sir Andrew Gilchrist, had just visited London for discussions with the head of the Foreign Office, Joe Garner.

November 30, 1998

Time - November 30, 1998

Terry Mccarthy, Jakarta – Sitting in an office deep inside the Istiqlal Mosque complex in the center of Jakarta, Komaruddin Rachmat looks like a man of peace. Yet two weeks ago the soft-spoken activist armed 30,000 rough-hewn Muslim vigilantes to intimidate students protesting for democracy.

Dow Jones Newswires - November 30, 1998

Jakarta – The Indonesian government had found nine million hectares of forest concessions linked to former president Suharto, his family and close associates, a report said Tuesday.

Agence France Presse - November 30, 1998

Jakarta – An independent commission to probe the wealth accumulated by veteran leader Suharto during his 32-year rule will be only advisory and leave any decisions to the new president, State Secretary Akbar Tanjung said Monday.

Sydney Morning Herald - November 30, 1998

Bernard Lagan and Louise Williams – The Government's links to Indonesia were under strong attack last night after Jakarta refused to allow an Australian Government-appointed investigator into East Timor to gather new evidence on military abuses.

November 29, 1998

Jakarta Post - November 29, 1998

Jakarta – A special committee of the House of Representatives agreed on Thursday to retain the old proportional representation (PR) system for next year's general election, but with major improvements to make it more democratic.

November 28, 1998

Australian Financial Review - November 28, 1998

Greg Earl, Jakarta – Indonesia is moving quickly towards a policy of redistributing wealth through new Government policies with several key economic officials signalling support for affirmative action.

Sydney Morning Herald - November 28, 1998

Louise Williams, Surabaya – Australia would maintain a close working relationship with Indonesia's armed forces, despite increasing domestic and international criticism over the shooting of student protesters in Jakarta earlier this month and concerns of more civil unrest ahead, the Defence Minister, Mr Moore, said yesterday.

November 27, 1998

Agence France Presse - November 27, 1998

Jakarta – Most Indonesian students and academics believe the people of troubled East Timor should be allowed to decide their own future, according to an opinion poll.

Asked for the best solution to the problem, 66.5 percent wanted the East Timorese people to decide on their own future, while only 7.7 percent wanted the matter to be left to the Indonesian government.

Jakarta Post - November 27, 1998

Jakarta – A challenge laid down by the youngest son of former president Soeharto calling for people to prove the wrongdoings of his father and family has galvanized the student movement in the capital.

Jakarta Post - November 27, 1998

Jakarta – Workers of shoe producer PT Emperor Footwear Indonesia complained on Thursday of being tortured while staging a protest early this week at the factory's site in Bantar Gebang, Bekasi.

November 26, 1998

Jakarta Post - November 26, 1998

Jakarta – Birds and flowers featured in demonstrations on Wednesday as women took to the streets in several cities to mark the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Students also urged an end to the "politics of violence," but 54 were hurt in rallies in Semarang.

November 25, 1998

Sydney Morning Herald - November 25, 1998

Christopher Henning, London – The former Australian ambassador to Indonesia Mr Philip Flood has rejected claims that he withheld information from the Australian Government concerning the murder of wounded Timorese at the time of the Dili massacre. Mr Flood is now Australia's high commissioner in London.

Agence France Presse - November 25, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – Former Indonesian president Suharto has handed over seven charity foundations he chaired, worth some four trillion rupiah (530 million dollars), to the government, a senior minister said here Wednesday.

Interpress Service - November 25, 1998

Kafil Yamin. Jakarta – Besieged by convulsions of violence, Indonesia's government faces more trouble from another flank – provinces and territories that want greater autonomy or even secession.

New York Times - November 25, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights will investigate accusations that soldiers executed as many as 50 people in East Timor earlier this month in a military operation against armed rebels in the troubled province, the Government said Tuesday.

Business Times - November 25, 1998

Shoeb Kagda, Jakarta – As thousands of student demonstrators kept up their pressure on the Habibie government by continuing their protest movement into the third straight week, political analysts expressed reservations on their ability to sustain the movement.

Agence France Presse - November 25, 1998

Jakarta – Former president Suharto and his relatives own 174,490 hectares (430,990 acres) of land in West Java province, according to an official inquiry reported Wednesday.

The head of the National Land Office (BPN) in West Java, Masri Asyik, said most of the land was registered under the names of Suharto's late wife, children and companies, the Kompas daily reported.

Sydney Morning Herald - November 25, 1998

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Thousands of student protesters occupied the grounds of the Attorney-General's office in Jakarta yesterday, demanding the trial of former president Soeharto, after immigration officials confirmed Mr Soeharto's youngest son had been banned from leaving Indonesia pending a corruption inquiry.

Kompas - November 25, 1998

Jakarta – Thousands of students organized in the Student's Senate Communication Forum of whole Jakarta (FKSMJ) and Universitas Trisakti students (Usakti) succeeded to "occupy" the Attorney General's Office at No. 1 Jl Sultan Hasanuddin, S Jakarta, Tuesday (24/11) since 12.15 WIT.

Australian Financial Review - November 25, 1998

Greg Earl, Jakarta – Indonesia's political reform process has hit a new obstacle with signs that the Parliament might substantially change the Government's plans for a new direct electoral system at the June election.

November 24, 1998

Agence France Presse - November 24, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesian students returned to the streets Tuesday to press for reforms as the capital braced for more mass demonstrations, with heavy security deployed around strategic spots leading to the Monas square in Central Jakarta.

Business Times - November 24, 1998

Shoeb Kagda, Jakarta – As the death toll from Sunday's bloody clashes between rival ethnic groups rose to 13 yesterday, President B J Habibie expressed concern about the deteriorating social order in the capital city and promised to finance the reconstruction of churches damaged during the rioting.

South China Morning Post - November 24, 1998

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – Sunday's riots may have been engineered by elite groups to divert attention away from political issues that threaten the Government, analysts said yesterday. They could also be the beginning of a new season of unrest in the tense Indonesian capital.

Kompas - November 24, 1998

(Summary/translation by Down to Earth) – A policeman was rushed to hospital in Medan with a serious head injury after being beaten up in a confrontation on Monday 23rd November between security forces and local people at Porsea, North Tapanuli, North Sumatra. Another police officer suffered wounds to the back and leg.

Agence France Presse - November 24, 1998

Jakarta – Four people were wounded when troops opened fire with rubber bullets to break up a demonstration by thousands of protesters angered by the shooting of a man guarding a much-protested pulp and paper in North Sumatra, reports said Tuesday.

"It is calm there now, there is no more violence," a police spokesman said of the conditions in Porsea.

Australian Financial Review - November 24, 1998

Greg Earl, Jakarta – The beleaguered government of President B.J. Habibie appears to be extending its influence into the ownership of Indonesia's television stations in what may be a new attempt to revive its political fortunes.

November 23, 1998

East Timor Human Rights Centre - November 23, 1998

The East Timor Human Rights Centre (ETHRC) has received reports from reliable sources in East Timor about the extra-judicial execution of approximately 50 East Timorese people between 10 and 16 November, 1998. The executions took place during a military operation by members of the Indonesian military (ABRI) in the sub-district of Alas in the south of East Timor.

Jakarta Post - November 23, 1998

Reiner S, Jakarta – Foreign investors will not enter Indonesia's cash-strapped banking sector if uncertainty in the political and economic fields continues, according to a foreign fund manager.

November 21, 1998

Sydney Morning Herald - November 21, 1998

After being trapped in a culture of violence for decades, the people of Indonesia have exploded, with devastating consequences, reports Louise Williams in Jakarta.

The history student had already been beaten to the floor in the lobby of a Jakarta bank, where the protesters and bystanders had tried to seek shelter from the barrage of tear gas and rubber bullets outside.

Jakarta Post - November 21, 1998

Jakarta – Minister of Defense and Security/Armed Forces (ABRI) Chief Gen. Wiranto on Friday held a meeting with a number of retired generals, including those known to be critical of the military.

Algemeen Dagblad - November 21, 1998 (Translated and abridged by Tapol)

Dili – Student organisations in Dili, the capital of East Timor, will hold a big demonstration on Monday to protest against a bloodbath perpetrated by the Indonesian army in Alas, a sub-district of about 1,000 inhabitants. According to reliable sources, between 9 and 19 November, at least 50 people were killed, including the village head. Others speak of more than 100 casualties.

BBC - November 21, 1998

[The following is a delayed posting which was included as it provides very a graphic description of the violence by the military on November 13-14 - James Balowski.]

Jonathan Head – I squatted down as low as possible in the marble porch of the office block, acutely conscious that I presented a much larger target than the Indonesians beside me.

Agence France Presse - November 21, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesian President B.J. Habibie is to set up a special commission to probe former strongman Suharto's wealth in line with a decree issued last week by the country's highest legislature, state secretary Akbar Tanjung said Saturday.