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Indonesia & East Timor Digest

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August 14, 2021

New York Times - August 14, 2021

Dera Menra Sijabat, Richard C. Paddock and Muktita Suhartono, Bulus Wetan, Indonesia – When Debiyantoro, a hotel repairman, first lost his sense of taste, he wondered briefly if it might be Covid-19, but he quickly dismissed the idea. Having the disease would mean not being able to make a living.

UCA News - August 14, 2021

Katharina R. Lestari, Jakarta – Human rights activists have condemned Indonesian President Joko Widodo for presenting an award to a former East Timorese militia leader who was involved in pre-and post-independence massacres in what is now Timor-Leste.

Bloomberg News - August 14, 2021

Arys Aditya – Indonesia found that Sinovac Biotech Ltd.'s Covid-19 vaccine was less effective at protecting against death and severe illness in April to June, compared with the previous three months.

CNN Indonesia - August 14, 2021

Jakarta – Jakarta State University (UNJ) sociologist Ubedilah Badrun has criticised the actions of authorities in removing murals containing social criticisms of the government such as a mural depicting President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo with the message "404: Not Found" in Tangerang and a mural reading "Forced to be well in a country that is sick" in Pasuruan.

Jakarta Globe - August 14, 2021

Yudha Baskoro, Sukoharjo – Agus Widanarko wears not a surgical but superhero mask in the pandemic. By trade an anti-drug counsellor, he moonlights as Super Isoman to cheer up children who self-isolate due to Covid-19 in Sukoharjo, Central Java.

CNN - August 14, 2021

Akanksha Sharma, Masrur Jamaluddin and Hilary Whiteman, Jakarta – Taufiq Hidayat enters the homes of the dead to claim bodies no one will touch.

He leads a dozen volunteer undertakers who take calls from grieving families in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, the center of one of the world's largest Covid-19 outbreaks.

August 13, 2021

Jakarta Post - August 13, 2021

Sudibyo Wiradji – As the dry season continues, heed must be given to peatland forests in Indonesia, especially on Kalimantan Island. Hot spots are expected to rise, which will potentially lead to forest fires.

Illegal blazes to clear land for agricultural plantations have been cited as one of the causes of the annual forest fires.

Straits Times - August 13, 2021

Makassar (Reuters) – A vehicle with a flashing siren and "Makassar Covid-19 Hunter" written on the side pulls up to a ship docked at a jetty in the Indonesian port city of Makassar, and masked Covid-19 patients carrying bags board the vessel.

Coconuts Bali - August 13, 2021

One of Indonesia's top officials, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, didn't seem too pleased with the COVID-19 handling in Bali during his visit yesterday, describing the province's ongoing crisis as an "anomaly" and bluntly pointing out how it can negatively affect tourism.

Jakarta Globe - August 13, 2021

Hendro Situmorang, Jakarta – Indonesia has been past the peak of the coronavirus outbreak since nearly three weeks ago, the National Covid-19 Task Force claimed on Thursday.

The task force said the number of active cases and hospital admissions have been in a steady decline after July 24, when the country registered a record 574,135 active cases.

Jakarta Post - August 13, 2021

Dio Suhenda, Jakarta – Rights groups have welcomed the abolishment of the controversial "two-finger test", a virginity test that had long been a requirement for female recruits to join the Indonesian Army.

Coconuts Jakarta - August 13, 2021

Indonesia's Health Ministry is defending the relatively steep price of PCR swab tests in the country, following protests triggered by recent reports showing how other countries have made the tests significantly more affordable for the general public.

Agence France-Presse - August 13, 2021

Tirsa Manitik gave birth to her first girl in June and buried her a month later – another casualty of virus-battered Indonesia's soaring child death toll.

The Southeast Asian nation has been hit by its worst Covid-19 surge yet as the ultra-infectious Delta variant sent deaths skyrocketing and left a trail of devastated parents in its wake.

Jakarta Globe - August 13, 2021

Jakarta – The regulations imposed during strict social restrictions are a guide to help people adapt to risks, according to Reisa Broto Asmoro, the government's Covid-19 handling spokesperson.

Coconuts Bali - August 13, 2021

Police officers have allegedly been extorting bus drivers and travelers passing through Bali's Gilimanuk Port, with reports suggesting that authorities are taking at least IDR50,000 (US$3.48) from each traveler and allowing them to circumvent entry requirements.

Tempo - August 13, 2021

Zacharias Wuragil, Jakarta – Indonesia instantly jumped to the top three in the world for the number of new Covid-19 cases over the past 28 days, according to Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 data dashboard.

UCA News - August 13, 2021

Konradus Epa, Jakarta – A parish in Indonesia's Jakarta Archdiocese is celebrating after being granted a building permit to build a new church following a 30-year struggle.

Authorities in Tangerang City in Banten province presented the permit to St. Bernadette Parish during a small ceremony this week.

Bloomberg News - August 13, 2021

Soraya Permatasari – Indonesia is intensifying efforts to boost Covid-19 vaccination for its "reluctant" elderly population as the country's daily death count remains among the highest in the world.

Reuters - August 13, 2021

Heru Asprihanto, Jakarta – Indonesia's capital reopened its retail malls this week to an exclusive crowd – shoppers vaccinated against coronavirus.

August 12, 2021

CNN Indonesia - August 12, 2021

Jakarta – The Civil Society Alliance – which is made up of a number of organisations in Indonesia and East Timor – is urging President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to revoke the Bintang Jasa Utama (1st Class Star of Service) award for civil bravery and courage in times of adversity which was given to former East Timorese pro-integration militia leader Eurico Barros Gomes Guterres.

Tempo - August 12, 2021

Anwar Siswadi (Contributor), Jakarta – Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) maritime expert, Hamzah Latief, said in an online seminar held on August 10, 2021, that 30 percent of Indonesian coastal regions are facing the threat of being submerged under seawater similar to Jakarta.

Antara News - August 12, 2021

Putu Indah S, Nabil Ihsan, Jakarta – None of customary villages in Indonesia has officially been recognized by the central government as of August this year despite assurances of such recognition, Minister of Villages, Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration, Abdul Halim Iskandar, has said.

UCA News - August 12, 2021

An ailing Papuan activist detained in an Indonesian police detention center for the last three months has called on authorities to move him to a prison in Jayapura, the capital of Papua province.

Victor Yeimo, 37, says his health is worsening and his legal rights are being violated by being kept in isolation for so long.

Australian West Papua Association (Sydney) - August 12, 2021

Senator the Hon Marise Payne
Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6100
Senate, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

12 August 2021

Dear Foreign Minister,

Tempo - August 12, 2021

Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – The Health Ministry disclosed that the limited number of health workers who are tasked to input Covid-19 data resulted in the accumulation of non-real-time data, leading to the spike in the number of daily deaths in the last three weeks.

Antara News - August 12, 2021

Fianda Sjofjan, Raka Adji, Jakarta – Jakarta Metro Jaya Police has said it will conduct door-to-door vaccinations as part of the ongoing Merdeka Vaccination Program, which is targeting to vaccinate 100 percent of Jakarta's population against COVID-19.

Radio New Zealand - August 12, 2021

Human rights advocates continue to voice concern for the welfare of West Papuan political prisoner Victor Yeimo.

Indonesian police arrested the West Papua National Committee's foreign spokesman in May over his alleged role in anti-racism protests that turned into riots in 2019.

Jakarta Globe - August 12, 2021

Markus Junianto Sihaloho, Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo is slightly ahead of Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto in the latest presidential survey that indicates a potential three-horse race in the 2024 election.

Kompas.com - August 12, 2021

Erika Nugraheny, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has bestowed the Bintang Jasa Utama (1st Class Star of Service) award for civil bravery and courage in times of adversity on former pro-integration East Timorese militia leader Eurico Guterres. The award ceremony was held at the State Palace in Thursday August 12.

Tempo - August 12, 2021

Endri Kurniawati, Jakarta – Epidemiologist from the University of Indonesia, Pandu Riono, said the implementation of the odd-even policy for four-wheeled vehicles in Jakarta has no relevance to the level 4 public mobility restrictions or PPKM Level 4 which was enforced until August 16.

Jakarta Globe - August 12, 2021

Maria Fatima Bona, Vento Saudale, Jakarta – Shortage in global vaccine supplies has slowed Indonesia's attempts to ramp up vaccination against Covid-19 but somehow the country managed to administer 77.14 million doses as of Wednesday, with 25.4 million citizens already fully vaccinated.

Coconuts Jakarta - August 12, 2021

An incident involving a Nigerian diplomat and immigration officers in Indonesia is triggering unease in relations between the two nations.

SBS News - August 12, 2021

Anna Henderson – The federal opposition has committed to hold an inquiry into claims Australian spies were eavesdropping on the government of Timor-Leste during highly sensitive oil and gas negotiations.

But it would firstly have to change the law that underpins Australia's top secret spy agencies.

Asia Pacific Report - August 12, 2021

International pressure is mounting on Indonesia to free West Papuan activist Victor Yeimo, the international spokesperson for the peaceful civilian West Papua National Committee (KNPB), as concern grows over his worsening state of health.

Jakarta Globe - August 12, 2021

Grace Nadia Chandra, Chairul Fikri, Tangerang, Banten – The police have named a pregnant 30-year-old woman as the prime suspect in the burning shophouse case that killed three people on Saturday morning. The victims were identified to be the woman's boyfriend, LS (35), and both his parents, ES (63) and LT (55).

August 11, 2021

UCA News - August 11, 2021

Ryan Dagur, Jakarta – Indonesian authorities have deported more than 100 Timor-Leste citizens who defied Covid-19 restrictions and illegally crossed the border to participate in a martial arts event in East Nusa Tenggara province.

Mongabay - August 11, 2021

Hans Nicholas Jong, Jakarta – UNESCO has urged the Indonesian government to close a stretch of road that runs through the largest protected area in Southeast Asia, citing its negative environmental impact.

Indonesia at Melbourne - August 11, 2021

Diatyka Widya Permata Yasih and Vedi Hadiz – Since the turn of the millennium, a variety of Indonesian films featuring Islamic characters grappling with moral issues have emerged.

Jakarta Globe - August 11, 2021

Yustinus Paat, Jakarta – Governor Anies Baswedan allows malls, worship places and outdoor sport venues to reopen with certain capacity limits on the basis of a steady decline in newly Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.

CNN Indonesia - August 11, 2021

Jakarta – The head of the Indonesian Association of Epidemiology Experts (PAEI) professional development division, Masdalina Pane, is questioning the indicators being used by the government to determine which level of Enforcement of Restrictions on Public Activities (PPKM) to apply in a region.

The Guardian - August 11, 2021

Christopher Knaus – Australia's 2004 spy mission targeting Timor-Leste during oil and gas negotiations was "neither legal nor initiated properly" and former prime minister John Howard is likely to be called to give evidence at the trial of Bernard Collaery, the independent senator Rex Patrick has told parliament.

Straits Times - August 11, 2021

Kuala Lumpur (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Indonesia should make permanent its temporary ban on new permits for oil palm plantations to advance progress on tackling deforestation and meet its climate goals, environmentalists say.

Radio New Zealand - August 11, 2021

A founding member of the Free West Papua Movement, Tan Sen Thay, has died in the Netherlands.

Tan Sen was an integral figure in the independence movement that developed in West Papua as part of the struggle against Indonesian rule, once Dutch colonial rule was replaced in the 1960s.

Tempo - August 11, 2021

Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – Indonesia's independent data initiative, LaporCovid-19, found that over 19,000 Covid deaths reported by the district/city governments are not registered in the central government's records. The agency is calling for data transparency, particularly on the numbers of deaths during self isolation.

August 10, 2021

Coconuts Jakarta - August 10, 2021

Refugees and asylum seekers must get their COVID-19 jabs for the greater good, argued Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, who has written a letter to the Health Ministry urging for their vaccine eligibility.

Tempo - August 10, 2021

Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – An epidemiologist from the Griffith University Dicky Budiman on Tuesday spoke about his fears of Covid-19 undetected cases, despite commending the government's decision to extend the public activity restriction (PPKM Level 4).

Jakarta Globe - August 10, 2021

Novy Lumanauw, Triyan Pangastuti, Jakarta – Indonesia has launched a risk-based online single submission system for business licensing on Monday, a long-delayed milestone that the government had hoped would improve the ideas of doing business in the country and boost investment.

Australian Financial Review - August 10, 2021

Emma Connors and Andrew Tillett, Singapore/Canberra – A plan to transport Australians keen to leave Indonesia by sea has run aground due to crew quarantine requirements and other costs, but those with deep enough pockets still have the option of chartering a boat.

Coconuts Jakarta - August 10, 2021

Police in North Jakarta have arrested a vaccinator who was caught on video injecting a boy with an empty syringe that should have contained the COVID-19 vaccine.

Jakarta Globe - August 10, 2021

Maria Fatima Bona, Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – Indonesia recorded 2,048 coronavirus-related deaths on Tuesday, the second time that the daily death toll has topped the 2,000 mark since the pandemic began.

The latest figures bring the country's overall death toll in the Covid-19 pandemic to 110,619, government figures show.