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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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April 25, 1998

Associated Press - April 25, 1998

Irwan Firdaus, Jakarta – Police with clubs and riot shields battled rock-throwing student protesters on a campus in eastern Indonesia today. It was the second violent demonstration against President Suharto in as many days.

Kompas - April 25, 1998

The National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) will shortly ask the State Police Headquarters to clarify the matter of "missing" people, following the discovery of a "missing" activist being detained at the State Police Headquarters. The Komnas HAM will also urge the apparatus to investigate fully the "abductors" of the activists, and take them to court.

Straits Times - April 25, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – Five Indonesian companies will go on trial next month for starting forest fires, the authorities announced yesterday, as a mounting haze and drought alert was sounded across South-east Asia.

The companies will be the first tried for starting fires in East Kalimantan province where nearly 400,000 hectares of forests have been destroyed in recent months.

Reuters - April 25, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesian police detained about 40 students during an anti-government protest at a university in Jakarta on Saturday, local journalists reported.

The 40 were taken into custody when police blocked about 500 students from taking their protest outside the campus of the Ibnu Chaldun University in East Jakarta.

Kompas - April 25, 1998

Jakarta - During the last ten days, employees organized under the Indonesian Legal Aid Institutes Foundation (YLBHI) have experienced terror actions. Already four persons aiding YLBHI work have been terrorized, and one among them was even almost abducted. One incident of physical terrorization has been officially reported to the Menteng Sector Police.

Kompas - April 25, 1998

Jakarta – Twenty-six students of the Universitas Mercu Buana, West Jakarta, on Friday (24/4) around 10.00 local time, came to the State Secretariat Building on Jalan Majapahit, Jakarta. Wearing red jackets, they wanted to deliver a letter and orchids for President Soeharto through the State Secretariat.

April 24, 1998

Voice of America - April 24, 1998 (abridged)

Indonesia has succeeded in getting the United Nations Human Rights Commission to drop a resolution condemning its human rights record in East Timor. Lisa Schlein reports from the commission meeting in Geneva that a deal was worked out whereby Indonesia received a milder form of rebuke.

Bloomberg News - April 24, 1998

Leah Harrison, Jakarta – Indonesia may be more deeply mired than any other country in Asia's debt and currency crisis, but it's not too early for vultures.

Investors are swooping down on the country of more than 13,700 islands strewn across the equator between Singapore and Australia to pluck bargains from the rubble.

Dow Jones News Service - April 24, 1998

Jakarta – Thousands of university students held peaceful protests against the government Friday, a day after a dozen students were injured in a clash with police on the tourist island of Bali.

Amnesty International - April 24, 1998

The United National Commission on Human Rights (UNHRC), the world's annual human rights meeting, has falied to deliver an effective response to the deteriorating situation of human rights in Indonesia, Amnesty International said today.

Kompas - April 24, 1998

Jakarta – The whereabouts of the activist Andi Arief (27) who since 28 March 1998 was reported as missing in Lampung is presently known. This Chairman of the Indonesian Students Solidarity for Democracy was since 17 April 1998 "returned" by his kidnappers to the HQ of the RI Police.

Associated Press - April 24, 1998

Jakarta – Health workers in Indonesia's capital are running low on blood for transfusions in a dengue fever outbreak, blamed for at least 422 deaths nationwide this year.

Health Ministry officials fear the actual death toll may be much higher, The Indonesian Observer newspaper reported today. More than 16,000 people have been infected.

Straits Times - April 24, 1998

Jakarta – Thousands of Indonesian students have shrugged off repeated warnings from the authorities to keep up protest rallies across the country as 13 more people were hurt in a clash in Java, reports said yesterday.

Their ranks are being swelled by others demanding urgent economic and political reforms since the rallies started in February.

Voice of America - April 24, 1998 (abridged)

In a demonstration Friday in the Indonesian city of Solo, a respected muslim preacher – Mohammad Komar – demanded that president Suharto step down. Jenny Grant reports from solo that demonstrators there are becoming increasingly militant.

Jakarta Post - April 24, 1998

Jakarta – University students here and in many other cities plugged on with their demands for an end to the economic crisis and comprehensive reforms in more demonstrations yesterday.

April 23, 1998

Far Eastern Economic Review - April 23, 1998

By Margot Cohen in Tanjungbalai, north Sumatra, and Sigli, Aceh

April 20, 1998

Down To Earth - April 20, 1998

Huge areas of East Kalimantan have gone up in flames this year. This part of the island of Borneo was not badly affected by the fires last year. But, while there has been heavy rainfall in other parts of Kalimantan and in Sumatra earlier this year, the weather in East Kalimantan has been dry since early January.

Straits Times - April 20, 1998

Susan Sim, Jakarta – More than a third of Indonesia's 36-member Cabinet turned up for the marathon talks, but a third of their main dialogue partners – the student leaders who have been organising increasingly vociferous campus protests – declined to come.

Time - April 20, 1998

The progression in Indonesia has been inexorable: economic hard times, then social unrest, heightened political dissent and, finally, official repression. As impassioned student demonstrations have spread across the country's campuses, nearly 400 activists have been arrested since January.

Jakarta Post - April 20, 1998

Jakarta – Intellectuals are calling on students to continue with their struggle for political and economic reforms, lending greater weight to a youth movement that has grown into a formidable force over recent months.

Time - April 20, 1998

Terry Mccarthy, Jakarta – Pramoedya Ananta Toer was perhaps the only writer in Indonesia who got the joke. Last month the Jakarta Arts Council announced the results of a nationwide writing competition: the 94 entries were so uniformly bad that the judges had refused to award anyone the first prize.

Sydney Morning Herald - April 20, 1998

David Jenkins, Jakarta – A prominent Indonesian political activist who disappeared from a Jakarta hotel in suspicious circumstances nearly six week ago has turned up In Surabaya, 670 kilometres east of the capital, in equally mysterious circumstances.

April 19, 1998

Java Post - April 19, 1998

"You only live once and must take a stand". This was Andi Arief's motto, an activist who was reported to have "disappeared" several months ago. In his daily life, as a political science graduate from the Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Central Java, he always took a stand.

Reuters - April 19, 1998

Jakarta – Forest fires raging in Indonesia's East Kalimantan province have killed substantial insect life, posing a problem to forest rehabilitation, the official Antara news agency reported on Sunday.

"The disappearance of insects poses a problem to the rehabilitation of burnt forests," the agency said quoting a study by Abubakar Lahji of Mulawarman University.

April 18, 1998

Gatra - April 18, 1998

The theme and the scope of the students rally extended. The Minister of Education and Culture was criticized and demonstration is beginning to stray out of campus peripherals.

Reuters - April 18, 1998

Lewa Pardomuan, Jakarta – Indonesian students launched a full-blown attack on the government during a rare dialogue with cabinet ministers on Saturday, accusing President Suharto of failing to respect the people's desires.

Sydney Morning Herald - April 18, 1998

The army is being wrongly blamed for the disappearance of opposition figures, a senior officer tells Asia Editor David Jenkins in Jakarta.

Jakarta Post - April 18, 1998

Jakarta – Huge numbers of students in many cities were kept up their fervent protests for lower prices and sweeping reforms yesterday with housewives in one city helping to boost the rallies.

Voice of America - April 18, 1998

Daily student protests against Indonesia's government have rocked campuses across the country for the last two months. Jenny Grant, in Jakarta, looks at what impact the demonstrations might have on a country in the midst of an economic crisis.

April 17, 1998

SiaR - April 17, 1998

Jakarta – Be careful if you take a taxi. Many disguised ABRI (armed forces) intelligence agents are becoming taxi drivers. The drivers job is to draw their passengers into conversation and if their views are anti-government, take them to the police.

Australian Financial Review - April 17, 1998

Geoffrey Barker – Australia has lodged two angry high-level diplomatic protests with Jakarta following disclosures that the Indonesian Vice-President, Dr J.B. Habibie, backed Malaysia's veto on Australian membership of the Asia-Europe Summit (ASEM).

Jakarta Post - April 17, 1998

Serang, West Java – President Soeharto gave clear-cut guidelines yesterday for field security officials dealing with unruly student demonstrations, including the use of "repressive measures" in emergency situations.

April 16, 1998

Jakarta Post - April 16, 1998

Jakarta – The ousted leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), Megawati Soekarnoputri, said yesterday she would not attend the party congress planned by rival faction leader Soerjadi in June, and would hold her own in December.

Jakarta Post - April 16, 1998

Jakarta – Thousands of students kept up their demands for reforms and lower prices of basic commodities yesterday in on-campus rallies organized concurrently at dozens of universities.

At least four campuses here witnessed noisy rallies demanding a reshuffle of the cabinet, clean government, lower prices of commodities and the empowerment of the. House of Representatives.

Financial Times - April 16, 1998

By Gwen Robinson in Jakarta and John Authers in New York

Negotiations on resolving Indonesia's massive private foreign debt overhang began yesterday in New York against a backdrop of confusion in Jakarta and growing division in the camps of both international lenders and their Indonesian debtors.

Lusa - April 16, 1998

Macau – Three leaders of the Movement for the Reunification and Unity of the People of East Timor (MRUPTL) have been subpoenaed by the Indonesian police to be interrogated on Thursday.

Bernas - April 16, 1998 (summary from Tapol)

Hundreds of East Timorese students demonstrated at the Semarang district court as the trial of four East Timorese was underway. They demanded that the four men be freed.

For the second time running, the prosecutor was unable to present Constancio da Costa as a witness to testify at the trial. He said this was for security reasons and in consideration of the costs.

Kompas - April 16, 1998

Jakarta – Students from universities of whole Jakarta-Bogor-Tangerang and Bekasi (Jabotabek) all at once held a peaceful demonstration in 30 campuses. Besides holding a free speech forum in each of their campuses a part of them went down to the road to merge with the actions which took place at the surrounding campuses.

April 14, 1998

SiaR - April 14, 1998

Jakarta - Beyond any expectations, the total number of activists which have disappeared since April is estimated to have reached 50. This was announced by the chair of the Indonesian Legal Aid foundation (YLBHI), Bambang Widjojanto on Tuesday (14/4) based on a report from LBH offices in different parts of Indonesia.

April 13, 1998

Straits Times - April 13, 1998

Jakarta – Fires have ravaged more than 224,000 ha of forest in the drought-stricken Indonesian province of East Kalimantan since the beginning of the year, reports said yesterday.

Sydney Morning Herald - April 13, 1998

Louise Williams, Jakarta – He was standing on the edge of the crowded footpath, peering into the stream of crawling Jakarta traffic for his bus when they came for him: four burly, silent men appearing suddenly, two at each side.

Washington Post - April 13, 1998

Keith B. Richburg, Jakarta – Members of the U.S. Congress home for Easter recess and wanting to gauge American views on the Asian economic bailout might well hear concerns about the price of french fries at a Jakarta McDonald's. Or the cost of a Washington state apple at a central Java supermarket.

April 12, 1998

Reuters - April 12, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesian armed forces chief General Wiranto has held talks with 32 youth organisations linked to a group affiliated with the ruling Golkar party, the official Antara news agency reported on Sunday.

April 11, 1998

The Age - April 11, 1998

Andrew Higgins, West Java – Wood huts scattered around fields of rice are a long way from the haggling between the International Monetary Fund and the technocrats of President Soeharto.

April 10, 1998

Asiaweek - April 10, 1998

No memorandums have been signed, no handshakes photographed. But after a bitter face-off over what prescription is right for Indonesia's beleaguered economy, Jakarta and the International Monetary Fund seem to have stopped colliding and started cooperating.

Reuters - April 10, 1998

Nelson Graves, Kuala Lumpur – Indonesian immigrants seeking political asylum forced their way into four foreign embassy compounds in the Malaysian capital on Friday, diplomats and police said.

Malaysian police quickly removed the immigrants from the French and Swiss embassies and Brunei's diplomatic office in Kuala Lumpur, diplomats and police told Reuters.

Reuters - April 10, 1998

Amy Chew, Jakarta – Indonesia's flirtation with a currency board system to prop up its ailing rupiah failed to carry through to reforms agreed by the government and the International Monetary Fund to tackle the country's economic crisis.

April 9, 1998

Kyodo - April 9, 1998

Christine T. Tjandraningsih, Jakarta – As part of its efforts to implement a new package of economic reforms recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Indonesian government will announce several new measures in the next few weeks, according to a draft Indonesia-IMF memorandum.

Associated Press - April 9, 1998

Jakarta – Indonesia's wildfires are being blamed for endangering wildlife, forcing airports to close and costing already struggling Southeastern Asian industries millions of dollars.

Jakarta Post - April 9, 1998

Jakarta – Ten out of at least 21 people reported missing have returned, but the whereabouts of the rest are still unknown, reports said yesterday.

Those accounted for were eight students who went missing following a clash between protesters and security personnel in Yogyakarta last week, another student and a lawyer from Jakarta.