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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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November 19, 1997

SiaR - November 19, 1997 (slightly abridged)

Malang – The chair of the Centre for Labour Struggle (PPBI) which is affiliated with the People's Democratic Party (PRD), Dita Indah Sari, is in intensive care at the Syaiful Anwar Hospital in Malang (East Java) suffering from typhoid.

Bandung Pos - November 19, 1997

Police admit that they have arrested a number of Bandung students while they were holding a demonstration on the grounds of Gasibu, Bandung, last Monday.

The head of the Bandung police, Colonel Eriwn told the press that the arrest of the students was done in order to interrogate them about the background to the action.

Green Left Weekly - November 19, 1997

Jon Land – More than 1000 East Timorese students staged a peaceful demonstration in Dili on November 12 to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the Santa Cruz massacre. The protest was held at the University of East Timor, amidst a heavy security presence.

Green Left Weekly - November 19, 1997

Linda Kaucher – President Suharto is refusing to declare West Papua a disaster area despite calls from within his own government to do so. More than 400 people have died from the drought, mainly in the Jayawijaya highlands district, adjacent to the PNG border.

Green Left Weekly - November 19, 1997

The sixth anniversary of the Indonesian military's massacre of mourners at Dili's Santa Cruz cemetery on November 12, 1991, was commemorated in many parts of the country.

Green Left Weekly - November 19, 1997

Becky Ellis – The rapid development of export industries in Indonesia since the 1970s has significantly increased women's participation in the industrial work force. Indonesian women are concentrated in manufacturing, agriculture, trades and services, and make up 70- 80% of the textile and garment industry.

November 18, 1997

Sydney Morning Herald - November 18, 1997

Louise Williams – It is not clear how the police came to choose the driver when they stopped his car outside the central Javanese city of Yogyakarta and activated the plan in which he was charged with murder, carrying a maximum penalty of death.

November 17, 1997

INFO-KNPD - November 17, 1997

Today, Monday November 17, the Indonesian People's Front (Front Rakyat Indonesia, FRI) held an action in Bandung [West Java]. FRI is a grouping of Bandung pro-democracy groups including:

East Timor Human Rights Centre - November 17, 1997

The East Timor Human Rights Centre (ETHRC) holds grave fears for the safety of eight East Timorese students, who sustained serious gunshot wounds during a confrontation with Indonesian security forces, at the University of East Timor in Dili, on the morning of 14 November, 1997.

South China Morning Post - November 17, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – The Government appears to be clamping down on the media in the run-up to the presidential elections after it pulled the plug on the Finance Minister's live broadcast to Parliament last week.

Private television stations SCTV and Anteve were set to air Finance Minister Mar'ie Muhammad's speech but it was banned after a last-minute phone call.

Lusa - November 17, 1997

Sydney – At least two East Timorese died and other 16 got injured, three of them seriously, when Indonesian police and troops shoot at students in the University of Dili, a religious source told Lusa on Friday.

November 16, 1997

Reuters - November 16, 1997

Ian MacKenzie, Jakarta – Indonesia's President Suharto leaves a country in economic flux when he sets out this week on a 12-day trip to southern Africa, Canada and Saudi Arabia.

And in the background, like an unwelcome ghost peeping from a partially closed closet, hovers the East Timor issue that has bedevilled Indonesia's foreign policy for years.

November 15, 1997

Agence France Presse - November 15, 1997

Jakarta – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been allowed to visit seven people injured after soldiers fired on students in an East Timor university, an ICRC official said Saturday.

November 14, 1997

Reuters - November 14, 1997

Jakarta – At least one East Timorese student was killed on Friday when security personnel fired shots on a university campus in the territory's capital Dili, students said.

A military official denied there had been any deaths.

Amnesty International - November 14, 1997

Five East Timorese students shot and wounded in a confrontation with Indonesian police in Dili, the capital of East Timor, have been taken to a military hospital. The five appear to be being denied access to humanitarian and legal assistance, raising serious concerns for their well-being in custody.

Associated Press - November 14, 1997

Dili – Indonesian troops fired shots into the air to disperse hundreds of students today in East Timor. At least two people were injured in scuffles with authorities, school officials said.

Student activists, who declined to give their names, said two students were killed in the violence outside the University of East Timor in Dili, about 1,250 miles east of Jakarta.

November 13, 1997

Indonesia Times - November 13, 1997

Surabaya – At least 40,000 workers of the biggest cigarette company go on strike as their 50 pct salary increase demand is refused by the management.

President director of the Kediri-based PT Gudang Garam, Rahman Halim, who met with the workers' representatives yesterday, refused fulfill the workers' demand.

Reuters - November 13, 1997

Jim Della-Giacoma, Jakarta – Indonesia moved to deport a U.S. woman on Thursday after police accused her of "disturbing public order" during a ceremony marking the anniversary of a 1991 massacre of East Timor civilians by Indonesian soldiers.

Xinhua - November 13, 1997

Johannesburg – South Africa and Indonesia are set to boost economic ties with the signing of two agreements on aviation and trade, South African Press Association reported today.

The two accords will be signed when Indonesian President Soeharto arrives in Cape Town next week for a state visit.

American Reporter - November 13, 1997

Andreas Harsono, Jakarta – Indonesian journalists are protesting a government ban that has kept two private television channels here from airing live a parliamentarian hearing on Indonesia's financial crisis, saying that government had violated press freedoms and manipulated the Broadcasting Law.

Associated Press - November 13, 1997

Irwan Firdaus, Jakarta – Indonesia deported an American woman Thursday after police arrested her for taking notes and photographs during a pro-independence protest in the disputed territory of East Timor.

Toronto Star - November 13, 1997

Allan Thompson, Ottawa – Joao Antonio Dias said he watched Indonesian soldiers kill wounded East Timorese demonstrators by banging their heads against rocks.

Roberto Jeronimo spoke of beatings and electrical shocks to his genitals he endured while being tortured in an Indonesian prison.

East Timor Action Network Press Release - November 13, 1997

On the night of November 12, 1997, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to block the use of U.S. weapons in occupied East Timor, placing an unprecedented restriction on U.S. arms sales to Indonesia. The Senate, which unanimously approved stronger language on September 5, is expected to enact the measure today.

Sydney Morning Herald - November 13, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Indonesia must push through with successive waves of tough economic reforms, including a possible second round of bank closures, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Mr Michel Camdessus, said in Jakarta yesterday.

Ottawa Citizen - November 13, 1997

Bruce Cheadle, Ottawa – Isabel Galhos, one of three East Timorese expatriates living in Canada, doesn't mince words when she describes the 22-year regime of Indonesian President Suharta.

November 12, 1997

Agence France Presse - November 12, 1997

Jakarta – Mr Bambang Trihatmodjo, the second son of President Suharto, will take control of Bank Victoria as compensation for the closure of his Bank Andromeda, Bisnis Indonesia said.

Sydney Morning Herald - November 12, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – President Soeharto's half-brother has refused to withdraw a court challenge to bank liquidations which threaten the Internation Monetary Fund's bailout of the Indonesian economy.

Report by Kabar dari PIJAR - 12 November 1997 (posted by Tapol)

Several meetings to highlight the situation in East Timor were held in Central Java on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the Santa Cruz Massacre, 12 November 1997.

Koyodo - November 12, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesian President Suharto's second son Bambang Trihatmodjo announced Wednesday the withdrawal of a lawsuit against the government over the closure of his bank earlier this month for the sake of "broader national interest."

The Nation - November 12, 1997

Bangkok – Today is the sixth anniversary of the Dili massacre in East Timor when an estimated 271 people were gunned down in cold blood by Indonesian troops. Among the dead was a young Malaysian student. The Nation's Steven Gan tells his story.

November 11, 1997

MateBEAN - November 11, 1997 (Posted by the East Timor International Support Center)

Lospalos – Last 3 November 1997, dozens of East Timor youth conducted a demonstration in Los Palos, Lautem. The demo was a protest against the behaviour of army soldiers shooting in random when a group of Catholics passed a military post in Paioto. Los Palos on August 31.

Reuters - November 11, 1997

Ian MacKenzie, Jakarta – Ribbons of fire along irrigation channels designed to drain a huge peat bog are helping sustain noxious smog across Indonesia's Kalimantan provinces, forestry and agricultural experts said on Tuesday.

South China Morning Post - November 11, 1997

Jenny Grant, Jakarta – Three isolated tribes in the Molucca Islands are being forced to leave their settlements in search of food as the drought bites harder in the eastern provinces.

Already it has cost more than 500 lives.

Indonesia Times - November 11, 1997

Jakarta – At least 50 companies have proposed to the government that they can downsize their employees following the unstable economy due to recent monetary crisis.

Indonesia Times - November 11, 1997

Dili – Trials began Monday for five East Timorese accused of taking part in a rebel raid on a police station on May 28.

Prosecutors allege the men were among the rebels who stormed the station in the provincial capital, Dili, stabbed two officers and then fled with police weapons. One rebel was shot dead by police.

Straits Times - November 11, 1997

Jakarta – Indonesia's Finance Minister Mar'ie Muhammad yesterday defended the closure of 16 banks, asserting the government had followed proper procedures before winding them up in a move to reform the banking sector.

MateBEAN - November 11, 1997

Jakarta - Xanana Gusmao told MateBEAN that he had never asked to be transferred to Nusakambangan, an Alcatraz-like prison island off the shore of Cilacap, Central Java as was stated by Thahir Abdullah a high-ranking officer from the Department of Justice

November 10, 1997

MateBEAN - November 10, 1997 (posted by East Timor International Support Center)

Jakarta – Rumours said that the Indonesian military, especially the intelligence community planned to ban IMPETTU (the East Timor Students' Association) considering the fact that they cannot control the Organisations' activity anymore.

Business Week - November 10, 1997

Michael Shari in Jakarta and Sheri Prasso in New York – For a region that has felt shock after shock since July, some relief came in the final days of October. The $40 billion International Monetary Fund bailout of Indonesia boosted the rupiah – battered by a 30% plunge since July – by more than 10% and brought a breath of life back to the stock market.

November 9, 1997

Tapol - November 9, 1997

The Alliance of Independent Journalists has issued a statement protesting against attempts by the Indonesian armed forces (ABRI) to prevent the press from reporting statements by Bambang Trihatmojo and Probosutejo about the closure of 16 banks.

Reuters - November 9, 1997

Jim Della-Giacoma, Jakarta – Indonesia faces a mixed week ahead with praise expected from the IMF for its economic reform plans, but also the start of a court challenge to cleaning up the key banking sector.

The Sunday Tribune - November 9, 1997

Liz Walsh – Three European ambassadors are to go to East-Timor early in the new yeras as part a new EU initiative announced in Dublin last week by British Foreign Seretary Robin Cook. The initiative comes on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the Dili massacre on Wednesday in which more than 250 civilians were shot dead by the Indonesian military which invaded the country in 1975.

Reuters - November 9, 1997

Kenneth Van Toll, Banjar Rejo – Mardjosantono waved his wiry arms over his head as he stood on the crusty sun-baked bottom of Lake Keruku in East Java.

"Usually there's water to the north, south and west of here. The water level reaches 3.5 metres (11.5 feet)," the slightly built farmer said gesturing across the dried-out lake.

November 5, 1997

Dow Jones News - November 5, 1997

Jay Solomon, Jakarta – The U.S. further underlined its commitment to helping Indonesia recover from its financial crisis Wednesday, in the hope of finally putting a stop to the contagion effect rippling out of Southeast Asia.

Wall Street Journal - November 5, 1997

Holman W. Jenkins Jr – Not often do you hear an Asian dealmaker wishing an unpleasant fate on the head of one of the biggest founts of Asian dealmaking, the Suharto family circle of Indonesia.

Last week just such a fellow told me if there was to be a silver lining to the region's economic troubles, "the whole lot of them would be lined up against a wall."

Agence France Presse - November 5, 1997

Jakarta – Moves to deregulate the Indonesian economy following an IMF review are more a compromise than a reform measure, analysts say.

The government's decision to remove the National Logistics Agency's monopoly on the importing of wheat flour and replace it with a monopoly on distributing wheat flour is "a compromise solution," economist Rizal Ramli said.

November 4, 1997

Agence France Presse - November 4, 1997

Lisbon – East Timorese abroad will hold a national congress here next March, called by independence leader Xanana Gusmao, who is serving a 20-year prison term in Indonesia, resistance sources said Tuesday.

The congress is to consider a charter of rights, freedoms and guarantees to be applied in the former Portuguese colony annexed by Indonesia in 1976, they said.

Sydney Morning Herald - November 4, 1997

Louise Williams, Jakarta – Mobs of angry customers and employees gathered outside the branches of Indonesia's 16 liquidated banks yesterday, many refusing to believe they had lost most of their savings under the first reforms of the massive $US38 billion dollar ($54 billion) international bailout package.

Dow Jones News Service - November 4, 1997

Jakarta – Bambang Trihatmodjo, the middle son of Indonesian President Suharto, stepped up his attack on Indonesian Finance Minister Mar'ie Muhammad Tuesday over the liquidation of a bank of which he is a major shareholder.