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July 01, 2014

Indonesia News Channel , July1st 2014

The Jakarta Post News Channel
Updated: 1 hour 27 min ago

SBY third most followed world leader on Twitter

1 hour 27 min ago
An annual study called "Twiplomacy" by global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller indicates that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is the third-most followed world leader on Twitter.
"World leaders compete with one another for attention, connections and followers," a "Twiplomacy" press release said on June 25, as reported by tempo.co.
According to the study, Yudhoyono (@SBYudhoyono) sits in third place with 5.06 million followers after United States President Barack Obama (@BarackObama) with 43.7 million followers and Pope Francis (@Pontifex) with 14.1 million followers.
"Twiplomacy" data shows that Yudhoyono also has more followers than the White House (@WhiteHouse) with 4.97 million followers or than Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in fifth place with 4.96 million followers. Turkish President Abdullah Gul is in sixth place with 4.62 million followers.
The study followed 642 Twitter accounts belonging to nation leaders, governments, foreign affairs ministers and their institutions.
The data was collected throughout June and analyzed Twitter profiles and connections. More than 60 variables were considered, including number of followers, number of mentions, number of replies and the number of retweets from the accounts. (fss)
  
Categories: Indonesian News

WB calls for disaster-risk investments

1 hour 27 min ago
The World Bank (WB) has called on countries to prioritize the importance of investments in natural disaster risk management as natural hazards may not only affect people’s lives but also create economic losses.
“Economic impacts resulting from natural disasters have been growing. We must immediately invest more in managing the risks and building resiliency,” said Rachel Kyte, WB group vice president and special envoy for climate change, as quoted by Antara news agency in a statement on Tuesday.
According to WB official data, the number of natural disasters has increased several times over within the last three decades, with the financial burden caused by the disasters increasing from around US$50 billion per year in the 1980s to almost $200 billion per year in the last decade.
Therefore, he said, understanding natural disasters was crucial for countries seeking to mitigate the destructive impacts of hazards like hurricanes, earthquakes, and other disasters to people and the economy.
To increase such an understanding, Kyte said more than 800 experts on disaster impact management and representatives from various governments, NGOs, and technology and financial companies from across the globe would assemble in London in the first week of July to hold the Understanding Risk (UR) forum.
“The UR Forum offers an ideal platform to share innovative ideas on risk assessments and new products in areas such as insurance related to weather and disaster risks; and to promote a sustainable solution and partnership,” said Kyte.
Earlier, the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) said it had completed its first training on disaster-risk management for 13 officials.
“Through this program, we hope that all officials can develop skills and knowledge they will need as leaders in disaster management in ASEAN,” said the AHA Centre executive director, Said Faisal, on Monday. (ebf)

Categories: Indonesian News

No problem calling Prabowo a ‘war commander’: Campaign team

1 hour 27 min ago
Prabowo-Hatta campaign team spokesperson Lt. Gen. (ret) Johannes Suryo Prabowo said his team did not consider it problematic for hard-line Muslim groups in Yogyakarta to call presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto a “war commander”.
On Tuesday, a number of Islamic organizations in Yogyakarta announced that they had planned to greet Prabowo as “War Commander of the Muslims”, during his scheduled visit to the city, where he will visit the Grand Mosque Kauman for a fast-breaking meal and prayer.
“I cannot comment too much because I did not hear the statement directly, but if it is true that it means they trust Pak Prabowo, we accept anyone who wants to show support, because we uphold the values of bhinneka tunggal ika [unity in diversity],” Johannes on Tuesday said, as quoted by tempo.co.
According to Johannes, it was “unwise to reject it [the epithet] based merely upon the perception that Islamic groups were harsh towards other people”.
“We should embrace them [Islamic hard-line groups] and engage in dialogue, rather than avoiding them."
Invoking parenthood as an analogy to the problem of hard-line groups, Johannes added, “It is better to embrace and teach naughty kids, because merely despising them will not make them refuse to refrain from mischievous deeds”.
The Islamic Islamic Front (FUI), Laskar Jihad, Laskar Hizbullah and the Indonesian Mujahidin Council (MMI) were among the groups that announced the plan. However, Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the two largest Muslim organizations in the country, were also among those listed.
Prabowo is scheduled to visit several locations in Yogyakarta, including a meeting Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengkubuwono X and 34 local painters, a visit to the tomb of the national hero, General Sudirman, and a gathering with local supporters.
In addition to the Democratic Party, which is a newcomer to the Prabowo camp, the Prabowo Subianto-Hatta Rajasa ticket is supported by the Gerindra Party, the Golkar Party, the National Mandate Party (PAN), the Justice Development Party (PPP) and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). The coalition secured 353, or 56.19 percent of the total 560 seats at the House of Representatives in the legislative election held last April. (gda)
Categories: Indonesian News

Smear campaigns trigger decline in electability: PDI-P

1 hour 27 min ago
Smear campaigns can cause a decline in electability ratings of presidential and vice presidential candidates so any presidential campaign team should refrain from such activity.
“Smear campaigns, intimidation, and misleading information have affected the public’s perception [of candidates],” said Tjahjo Kumolo, head of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo-Jusuf Kalla’s campaign team in Jakarta on Tuesday, as quoted by Antara.
Tjahjo said a number of surveys that showed a narrower gap between frontrunner Jokowi-Kalla and the contending candidate pair, Prabowo Subianto-Hatta Rajasa, took place at the same time that smear tactics like the publishing of a controversial Obor Rakyat tabloid began to escalate.
However, he added that he was confident that the public would still support a leader with simplicity, a well-tested record of governance and an unwillingness to engage in smear campaigning.
A survey commissioned by the Indonesian Political Indicator showed that smear campaigns had effectively decreased the electability rating for the Jokowi-Kalla ticket. Jokowi has lately been the victim of attacks by smear campaigns pertaining to ethnic, religious, and racial factors, one of which claimed that Jokowi is of Chinese-Christian descent and is against Islam.
“Such a smear campaign has been effective at reducing Jokowi’s electability,” said Indonesian Political Indicator executive director Burhanuddin Muhtadi in a recent statement. (ebf)

Categories: Indonesian News

Foreign tourist arrivals rises 7.37% in May

1 hour 27 min ago
The number of foreign tourist arrivals in Indonesia in May rose by 7.37 percent to 752,400 tourists as compared to April of last year, Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data revealed on Tuesday.
In addition, foreign tourist arrivals in May exceeded foreign tourist arrivals in April by 3.58 percent.
“The number of foreign visitors to Indonesia entering the country via Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, the main international gateway for tourists to Indonesia, grew by 16.78 percent to 286,000 people in May 2014,” BPS head Suryamin said in Jakarta on Tuesday, as quoted by the official BPS website.
Cumulatively, there were 3.7 million tourists entering destinations across the archipelago from January to May 2014, a 9.96 percent increase compared to the first five months of 2013, he said.
However, he said that the occupancy rate in May of starred hotels in 27 provinces surveyed by the agency declined by 0.62 points to 52.72 percent. (nfo)

Categories: Indonesian News

KPU guarantees voting rights for overseas citizens

1 hour 27 min ago
General Elections Commission (KPU) commissioner Ferry Kurnia Rizkiyansyah said the commission would accommodate Indonesian citizens working abroad who wished to vote in the upcoming presidential election.
However, he said, there were a few requirements that those who had not registered in final voter lists (DPT) or special voter lists (DPK), would have to meet.
“In principle, all Indonesian citizens, wherever they live, should be able to cast their votes,” said Ferry in Jakarta on Monday, as quoted by kompas.com.
He said both Indonesian citizens and migrant workers would be accommodated if they were registered both at DPT and DPK.
Ferry added that unregistered persons wishing to vote could still cast ballots under the existing regulations.
“One of the requirements is that they have to come to polling stations two hours before the balloting process kicks off to anticipate the availability of ballot papers,” he said.
He added that the KPU had applied a procedure to ensure that the ballot papers that were reserved for those already registered in the DPT and DPK lists were not used by those whom had not yet registered to vote.
“They [unregistered voters] can still cast their votes, but they must first register two hours before the balloting process begins,” Ferry said, adding that the procedure was based on a Constitutional Court regulation.
The KPU has registered 188.26 million domestic voters and 2.03 million voters overseas for the 2014 presidential election. There will be 478,883 polling stations set up in regions across the country and 498 overseas. (fss/ebf)


Categories: Indonesian News

Peter Newman: Taking the sustainable road

1 hour 27 min ago
JP/Duncan Graham
Like “democracy” and “justice”, the word “sustainable” sits comfortably on the tongue. It sounds warm and positive, something an educated person should use to display their progressive credentials.

But what does it really mean?

“Sustainability is helping communities reduce their ecological footprint, where the environment is preserved and urban living is enjoyable,” said Western Australian academic Peter Newman.

“Issues include traffic management, waste disposal, town planning, effective government and land use. Getting rid of dependence on the car is critical and a key to recovery. We are all pedestrians at some time, but when we get behind the wheel we tend to do crazy things.

“In this country that also means getting on top of the motorbikes, but I’m not here to tell Indonesians what needs to be done.

“All I’m doing is inviting local people to determine their own solutions and showing what’s happening in other parts of the world, like the impressive zero waste management program at Yogyakarta’s Gadjah Mada University.

“Inevitably some argue that outside ideas can’t be imported because of differences in culture, climate and wealth. These are all excuses. There’s no correlation between these factors and sustainability. It’s just a question of political and community will,” said Newman.

Newman, director of the Sustainability Policy Institute at Perth’s Curtin University, has been in Java revisiting cities he first encountered as a backpacker forty years ago.

“I remember having a small note, just a few rupiah, less than a dollar. Yet, enough to buy rice for a week,” he said. “I didn’t know such poverty existed, yet these people were our neighbors.”

In Malang last month, he ran a short course on sustainable development at Merdeka University for a select group of academics, NGO heads, senior public servants and three religious leaders keen to explore the spiritual and moral aspects of going green.

Decades ago, Newman steered the term “automobile dependency”, with its connotations of addiction, sickness and lack of control, into the academic lexicon. Since then he’s been pushing for better public transport rather than “the American model for using cars, [which] doesn’t work”.

This has not made him universally popular, and the hostility has not just been from what Australians dismissively call “petrolheads”. In his home town of Perth, Western Australia, he regularly collided with politicians determined to build freeways and shut down the trains.

After a long battle, reason beat ideology; railway lines were re-opened and new ones built. “In 1992 the trains were carrying seven million passengers a year,” he said. “Now it’s 70 million.”

Though once demonized for encouraging people to divorce their cars, this year Newman was awarded the Order of Australia for his “distinguished service to science education […] through urban design and transport sustainability”.

Appropriately enough, the road to becoming one of the world’s leading experts on developing public transport started after a bus journey in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales.

Newman already had a doctorate in inorganic chemistry but was not convinced that life in a lab coat was the right career choice.

“I was more interested in playing [Australian] football with chemistry as a hobby,” he said. “I wanted to be more socially active. I’d already been excited by the idea of an Earth Day [started in the US in 1970 and now an international event].”

A blizzard hit but the bus driver pushed on. “It was extremely dangerous,” Newman recalled. “The road was twisting and turning. There was a deep drop. I thought: ‘This is it — we’re going over’. I decided I must just accept what happens.

“When we got to Sydney our hosts insisted we watch a TV interview featuring Paul Ehrlich. The US ecologist was famous at the time for predicting that population growth would outstrip resources.

“It was a fascinating program. Then straight after there was a news flash. The bus following ours had crashed. I thought: ‘I’m here for a purpose.’”

In the early 1970s the world’s only course in environmental science was at Delft University of Technology, so that is where Newman went. In the Netherlands he also discovered that it is possible to live without a car, an almost unbelievable idea for an Australian.

By the time he graduated, a job was waiting at Perth’s Murdoch University, a new campus pioneering alternative fields of study and fresh ways to view the world and its problems. The sustainability issue had started moving from being an ethical (or, for conservatives, a loopy and threatening) idea, to a science.

Newman was elected to local government. He became a regular media performer and author of several books. His 2008 text Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems (coauthored with Australian academic Isabella Jennings) has just been translated into Indonesian by Suriptono, one of his former students, who teaches at Merdeka.

The university is considering opening an Institute of Sustainability Studies. Degree courses are now available at campuses around the world, but not all who might benefit have easy access.

“When travelling I’ve often been struck by the amazing knowledge and experience of those working in the development field,” said the 69-year-old.

“These people don’t have the opportunities for full-time study away from their jobs and countries. So we are putting together an in-situ qualification in association with partner campuses overseas and offering scholarships.

“Sustainability isn’t about the next president. The issue goes deeper and further. It’s about the future for our grandchildren.

“The clash between economic development and environmental protection is over. We are into a new way of thinking that’s being recognized with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“The green economy agenda is being set in Europe, not the US. We’ve been living in cities for about 8,000 years and they are all growing. They copy each other to improve their liveability.

“I’m now old enough to know that’s true. The world is changing, poverty is decreasing and that’s giving me a lot of optimism.”
Categories: Indonesian News

Small village swept up by World Cup fever

1 hour 27 min ago
Rainbow of flags: National flags of countries competing in the World Cup wave above Jatirejo, a fishing village in Pasuruan, East Java.
The sound of the waves and gusts of wind from the sea merge naturally with the smell of fish amid a swirl of conversations spoken in the eastern Javanese dialect of Madura.
This is Jatirejo, a village of mostly fishermen and laborers abutting the Madura Strait and the Java Sea in Lekok district, some 50 kilometers east of Pasuruan city, East Java.

With the 2014 World Cup fever gripping most of the world, the residents of Jatirejo don’t want to miss the fun. To show their spirit, many village residents have put up accessories and symbols of this year’s participating countries all around the village.

Dozens of the national flags of the competing 2014 World Cup countries can be seen decorating Jatirejo village homes. Apart from the flag-adorned houses, walls, fences and food stalls, there’s also becak (pedicabs), which are vibrantly painted with the colors and logos of favorite teams.
Viva Oranje!: An alley fully decorated with the Netherlands’ national flag.
A brush of support: A resident’s painted fence bearing the Brazilian flag stands as a statement of support that the country can be the champion.
Becak drivers seem to prefer perennial cup favorites like Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Britain, Germany and Uruguay, in addition to major clubs like the Netherlands, Portugal and France in their decorations. Japan and South Korea are also commonly seen.

Some villagers have even built cardboard figures of soccer players in their uniforms as well as mini-lanterns bearing Brazilian flags. A fan supporting Argentina even put his photo on a poster of the Argentine player, Lionel Messi.

Ahmadi, 35, a local resident, hangs streamers of large and small flags along the alleyway leading to his house. “We bought wax paper for the flags,” he said. “I’ve also painted my becak with the flag of my favorite team, Argentina.”
Don’t make me cry, Argentina: A pedicab (becak) driver paints his vehicle with the country’s national attributes.

Jatirejo residents have maintained the tradition of livening up World Cup contests since 1998, and they make all the decorations themselves. For flags and banners, they sew and paint the country symbols on fabric one to five meters in length. On average, each family spends about Rp 50,000 to celebrate the games.

The village is usually decorated five days to a week before the World Cup kickoff. “Rejoicing over the big event by embellishing the village with contestants’ accessories has become a part of the local culture. Unlike in the past, television sets are now widely available at increasingly affordable prices. When France hosted the competition in 1998, residents initiated the crafting of flags for their favorite teams. Without direction or instruction, nearly every resident has installed team flags as house ornaments,” said Yasin, 40, the head of the village.

When a World Cup match airs on television, locals gather to watch at coffee stalls and in the front yards of houses. Only a few people choose to watch the games at home. When a team is ousted from the tournament, that team’s flag is usually removed wherever it flies.

By the end of the World Cup, villagers will take down the flags and store them for the next event four years down the road, hoping their favorite teams will qualify again. If Indonesia ever manages to make the cut, however, the rainbow of national flags will likely turn into a sea of red and white.

— Photos by Aman Rochman
Categories: Indonesian News

Guess what?: ‘Dangdut’ queen Elvy releases new album

1 hour 27 min ago
Kapanlagi.com
JAKARTA: After decades of absence in music industry, the queen of dangdut Elvy Sukaesih has returned with a mini album of five religious songs.
Kapanlagi.com reported on Sunday that the 63-year-old has released the album titled Umi Bersalawat (Mother Glorifies the Name of God) on June 25.
“It’s a last-minute thing. I‘ve always wanted to praise Allah for his blessings. I released the album to commemorate my 50 years of career and my birthday.
“It also coincides with the start of the fasting month,” she said.
Elvy, who made a duet album with Rhoma Irama, Raja dan Ratu (King and Queen), which became a hit in 1975, hoped that her new songs would be played during Islamic religious events.
Categories: Indonesian News

RI's June inflation at 0.43%: BPS

1 hour 27 min ago
The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) announced in Jakarta on Tuesday that Indonesia’s inflation rate in June 2014 stood at 0.43 percent, lower than the 1.03 percent recorded in the same month last year.
"June 2014's inflation rate is much lower than the average inflation rate in June over the past four years," BPS head Suryamin told journalists, as quoted by Antara news agency.
He said that food prices remained the biggest contributor to inflation, followed by the prices of cigarettes, tobacco, water, electricity, gas and fuel.
BPS data also showed that the country had recorded a 1.99 percent inflation rate from January to June of this year. (nfo)



Categories: Indonesian News

Panin achieves 50% of growth target in H1

2 hours 56 min ago
Private lender PT Bank Panin (BNPN), the eighth-largest bank by assets in the country, has reported that it secured 50 percent of this year’s total growth target by the end of June, supported by its lending to the consumer-goods sector.

Panin institutional banking director Hendrawan Danusaputra said on Monday the lender was aiming for around 10-15 percent growth in its outstanding loans to between Rp 113.38 trillion (US$9.45 billion) and Rp 118.53 trillion this year.

“Our data shows that we booked half of this target by the end of this month,” he said after attending the bank’s annual general shareholders’ meeting.

The bank has not published its first-half financial report, but with such an achievement, the lender is estimated to have booked at least Rp 108.22 trillion in its outstanding loans.

Hendrawan said that its corporate-lending segment remained strong in the first half, especially in consumer goods. “Loans channeled to manufacturers of F&B [food and beverage] and clothing remained robust,” he said.

Latest data available through the bank’s first quarter financial report show that the loans disbursed to F&B contributed to around 4.6 percent of its lending portfolio, while trading, of which clothing is a part, made up 23.4 percent.

Hendrawan added that the publicly listed bank also set a similar growth target (10 percent) to Rp 132.28 trillion in third-party funds (DPK) for 2014.

“We have booked half of the DPK target as well in the first six months,” he said.

By the end of last year, Panin’s DPK stood at Rp 120.26 trillion.

To reach the DPK target in the second half, Hendrawan said that it would continue widening the base of its low-cost funds — consisting of savings and demand deposits.

“The low-cost funds already account for more than 61 percent of our total DPK. We want to keep it at around the same level,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hendrawan declined to comment when asked about possible changes within the bank’s ownership structure.

As previously reported by various media, the Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Banking Group Ltd. plans to sell its 39 percent stake in Panin to Japanese Mizuho Financial Group Inc.

However, according to Bloomberg, the Gunawan family, which controls 46 percent of the shares through PT Panin Financial is resisting Mizuho’s demand for a board seat should it purchase ANZ’s stake, reportedly valued at
$520 million.

At the moment, nobody from ANZ represents the Australian group within Panin’s board of directors. The remaining 15.1 percent shares of Panin is now controlled by the public.

Contacted separately, Nelson Tampubolon, banking supervision commissioner for the Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK), said that the regulator had not received official information regarding the planned share sale.

“Any party wanting to become a controlling shareholder must get approval from the OJK. Right now, the OJK is still monitoring the whole process,” he said in a text message.

Panin reportedly had Rp 162.69 trillion in total assets as of March. Its liabilities reached Rp 141.83 trillion and its equity amounted to Rp 20.86 trillion.

The bank’s share price rose by 9.1 percent to Rp 900 on Monday from last Friday.
Categories: Indonesian News

ARMS shareholders agree to $400m payout

2 hours 56 min ago
Shareholders of Asia Resource Minerals Plc (ARMS) have agreed that they will receive a US$400 million payout following the completion of a long-awaited separation from co-founder, the Bakrie family.

Amir Sambodo, the newly appointed chief executive officer (CEO) for both ARMS and its subsidiary PT. Berau Coal Energy Tbk (BRAU), told reporters on Monday that the approval was secured in a general shareholders meeting in London last Friday.

The share price dropped more than 50 percent on the London Stock Exchange on Monday trading, as of 10 p.m. Jakarta time.

ARMS was initially founded in 2010 by UK financier Nathaniel Rothschild and the Bakrie family, but boardroom rows and plunging coal prices soured the business.

The London-listed company had decided to split from the Bakries late last year, as it bought a 23.8 percent stake from the Indonesian business conglomerate and sold its 29.2 percent share in the Bakrie Group’s PT Bumi Resources.

Currently, ARMS is 47.6 percent owned by PT Borneo Lumbung Energy & Metal Tbk (BORN) which is owned by former ARMS chairman Samin Tan. Rothschild now owns 16 percent.

The $400 million to be returned to the shareholders is part of the ARMS transaction with the Bakrie Group — which is owned by the politically wired Aburizal Bakrie — for the sale of the 29.2 percent stake in Bumi Resources which generated $501 million.

Amir said that the compensation aimed at simplifying ownership in Berau, so that ARMS could strengthen its ownership in Berau without splitting the stocks to investors. He added that in regard to recent reports about the company’s plan to delist from the London Stock Exchange the company had yet to make any decision.

“Up to now there’s no plan or discussion about quitting the London Stock Exchange,” he told reporters after Berau’s shareholders meeting on Monday.

As previously reported, Borneo and its related entity Ravenwood Acquisition Company Limited (RACL), had submitted a proposal offering the London company to be delisted from the stock exchange and its shares in Berau to be distributed to its shareholders, in a bid to simplify ownership.

The change in ownership structure was expected to reduce costs and to increase value.

The London shareholders meeting on Friday also named Bob Kamandanu as chairman after investors did not re-elect Chris Walton. Bob was also named as president commissioner for Berau.

ARMS said, as quoted by Reuters, that the board had made the decision to change the chief executive as it felt the role should move from London to Indonesia, near the Berau coal mine.

Amir said that with Indonesians holding the board both in the UK holding firm and Berau, it was expected to reduce anti-foreign sentiment about the Indonesian miner.

Bob said that following the restructuring and the completion of the stake transfer with the Bakrie Group, ARMS would now focus on optimizing its Indonesian subsidiary’s performance — which is now its only asset after releasing its shares in Bumi Resources to the Bakrie Group.

“We do have business diversification in mind but we are now focusing on optimizing our own assets. There’s no point in expanding to other businesses until we maximize Berau’s performance,” Bob added.

Berau, as with other coal miners in the country, is currently facing plunging global prices of the commodity that has further eroded its profits.

The company aims at securing $1.4 million in revenue this year, unchanged compared to last year. To make up potential losses from the plunging prices, the company hopes to produce 26 million tons of coal this year, up from 23 million last year, and maintain its stripping ratio to reduce costs, the target is pending approval from the
government.

Categories: Indonesian News

Number of child abuse cases reaches 459: KPAI

3 hours 58 min ago
Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) chairman Asrorun Ni’am Sholeh says there has been a continuous rise in cases of sexual violence against children, with 459 incidents recorded during the period between January and June of this year.
“As many as 590 reports of sexual violence against children were made throughout 2013, while by the middle of this year, the number of reports has reached 459 cases,” he said at commission headquarters in Jakarta on Monday, as quoted by Antara.
The KPAI recorded that from 2011 through 2014, there were 2,124 cases of sexual violence against children, comprised of crimes of rape, sodomy, molestation and pedophilia.
Asrorun said rates of sexual abuse against children continued to increase yearly as compared to the rates of physical violence, which had reached only 94 cases as of June.
According to KPAI official data, he said, most cases of sexual violence against children were committed by persons closest to the victims. “They [relationship between perpetrator and victim] could be teachers and students, employers and helpers, and parents and children,” said Asrorun.
He added that providing early sex education was critical for helping prevent sexual abuse against children. (fss/ebf)

Categories: Indonesian News

Trade balance back to positive zone

3 hours 58 min ago
Indonesia's trade balance swung back into the positive zone in May, posting a surplus of US$69.9 million after a record monthly deficit in April of $1.96 billion.
Central Statistics Agency (BPS) official Suryamin said Tuesday that the surplus was due to the deceleration of imports after a peak in April in anticipation of the fasting month and Idul Fitri festivities.
Exports reached $14.83 billion in May, up 3.73 percent from figures in April, but down 8.11 percent from the same period last year, according to BPS.
Imports were valued at $14.76 billion, down 9.23 percent from figures in April and a drop of 11.43 percent compared to the same period in 2013.
From January to May, exports topped $73.42 billion, down 3.79 percent as compared to the same period a year ago, while imports stood at $74.24 billion, down 5.76 percent from 2013.


Categories: Indonesian News

Kimia Farma to build new plant to reduce imports

3 hours 58 min ago

State-owned pharmaceutical company PT Kimia Farma (KAEF) is looking to construct a new plant in 2015 that will produce certain drug ingredients to reduce the industry’s dependence on imports.

The new plant will be located within the company’s existing manufacturing complex in Watudakon, Jombang, East Java, and will be equipped with facilities to produce atorvastatin, amlodipine, azithromycin and simvastatin, according to Kimia president director Rusdi Rosman.

“No company produces them domestically at the moment. So we import all four of them from various countries,” he said in a recent telephone interview.

Atorvastatin is known as a ingredient to treat high cholesterol and to reduce the risk of various heart complications, while amlodipine is used to treat high blood pressure.

Meanwhile, azithromycin is useful for treating bacterial infections and simvastatin is popular for lowering cholesterol.
Kimia Farma will collaborate with Japanese and South Korean firms to produce the raw materials. “The production of one raw material will be assisted by a Japanese firm, while the other three will be assisted by the South Korean firm,” Rusdi said.

In the initial stage, he added, the raw materials would be used to meet Kimia’s own needs. “Any surplus will then be marketed to other pharmacies,” Rusdi said.

Kimia corporate secretary Farida Astuti said the company was conducting a feasibility study on the new plant and expected to complete it by year-end at the latest.

No complete calculation of the plant’s capacity or construction costs was immediately available.

The new plant will be the second factory operated by Kimia to produce raw materials. The publicly listed company announced in April that it had signed a partnership agreement with state salt producer PT Garam to manufacture pharmaceutical salt.

Similar to atorvastatin, amlodipine, azithromycin and simvastatin, pharmaceutical salt is currently unavailable domestically and must be imported.

The salt factory, worth Rp 28 billion (US$2.34 million), will also be located in Watudakon and will have an initial production capacity of 3,000 tons per year. The capacity may be upgraded to 6,000 tons per year in the next two years.

It expects to make Rp 18 billion from the initial sales of the 3,000 tons of pharmaceutical salt, which can fetch a price of Rp 6,000 per kilogram.

“The groundbreaking ceremony of the pharmaceutical salt plant will take place in August. Hopefully we will be able to begin production in the first quarter of 2015,” Farida said.

Funds to construct the salt factory will come from the Rp 939.52 billion in capital expenditure budget that has been allocated for Kimia’s expansion projects in 2014.

According to Rusdi, Kimia will be able to reduce its imports of raw materials significantly once the plants are built. Currently, 95 percent of its total raw materials are imported.

In terms of business throughout the year, Kimia is eyeing a total of Rp 5.2 trillion in revenue, up 19.6 percent from a year ago. At its bottom line, it aims to reach 9.1 percent growth, to Rp 234 billion.

Meanwhile, from January to March, Kimia managed to book Rp 867.03 billion in revenue and Rp 23.37 billion in net profits. Its financial reports show that the company had Rp 2.28 trillion in total assets as of March.

Kimia’s shares ended at Rp 990 apiece on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) on Monday, 1 percent higher than last Friday.

Categories: Indonesian News

The rise of camera phones

5 hours 27 min ago
Many people have become budding photographers due to the proliferation of smartphones with high-tech cameras, which have become a key feature of these gadgets.

Badges, banners, broadsides, flags, handbills, posters and stickers are common sights during this year’s presidential election campaign. Another familiar sight during this year’s campaigning are camera phones, as many people have the gadgets ready to take pictures of the presidential candidates.

It seems the rise of camera phones has turned many people into budding photographers. Several books about cell-phone photography are also available in book stores, indicating that camera phones are becoming increasingly popular in the country.

Cameraa are now a key feature on smartphones. From high-end, brand-name smartphones through basic, budget phones are now equipped with improved cameras.

Recently, online retailer Amazon introduced its Fire Phone, which boasts a range of cameras on the display to create 3-D effects.

The Fire Phone has a primary camera with13 megapixels together with a 2.1 megapixel front-facing sensor as well as four infrared cameras placed at each corner of the front panel. This latest gadget from Amazon also has several camera-centric features, including free, unlimited photo storage for Fire Phone customers on Amazon’s cloud drive service.

In addition, with the rear camera in operation and an application dubbed Firefly, Amazon is aiming to offer a better experience for users. This feature enables the smartphone to identify printed web and email addresses, phone numbers, bar codes and other products, such as books, movies, TV programs, songs and so on.

The Fire Phone, the first smartphone designed by Amazon and sold on its website for between US$199 and $649, has a dedicated camera button, so users can snap even when the display is turned off. The company has said that in low-light conditions without a flash, the Fire Phone uses optical image stabilization to keep the shutter open up to four times longer to reduce noise and blur.

In terms of camera performance and its technology, the Fire Phone is well-placed for comparison with popular phones from brand names such as Apple, LG, Nokia and Sony.

Among the most popular smartphones with good cameras that buyers can consider include LG’s G3, Samsung’s Galaxy S5, Apple’s iPhone 5s, Nokia’s Lumia 1020 and Sony’s Xperia Z2.

The LG G3 is one of the latest Android smartphones, which comes with noteworthy camera features. It has two cameras, comprising a rear-facing 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization (OIS) and laser auto focus, and a 2.1-megapixel camera for taking selfies.

There is also a an extra dual-shot mode that allows users to snap with front and rear cameras at once.

Laser auto-focus

Laser auto-focus and OIS helps to reduce vibrations and blurring, and measures the distance to the subject, offering users good-quality photos. In addition, users can take brighter and clearer pictures, even in low-light or nighttime conditions.

 The Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with a 16-megapixel main camera and 2-megapixel rear camera. The main camera has a so-called high dynamic range (HDR) and selective focus, allowing users to focus on a specific area of an object while simultaneously blurring out the background.

The Galaxy S5 is regarded as a top-end smartphone with a great camera and 0.3-second auto-focus.

It also has a Shot & More mode, which allows users to take pictures and edit them, and a Selective Focus mode, which lets users capture an image and change the focus between the background and foreground.

The iPhone 5s features advanced technologies custom designed for the iSight camera’s hardware and software, so users can take an amazing photo at any time.

The phone’s manufacturer, Apple, claims it made more sense to equip the iPhone to take great pictures rather than to teach people how to be expert photographers.

The new iSight in the gadget has a 15 percent larger sensor and more pixels, measuring 1.5 microns, and an aperture of ƒ/2.2. The Burst mode allows users to capture multiple shots of action scenes by snapping 10 photos per second. Auto-image stabilization kicks in when users need it to help reduce noise and motion from shaky hands or moving subjects.

Nokia’s Lumia 1020, which incorporates a 41-megapixel camera, has been classified as one of the best camera phones due to its excellent picture-taking capabilities.

Though some reviews have said the Lumia 1020 has a slow focus, the gadget reportedly has the best manual mode due to the Nokia camera application, which allows users to quickly adjust contrast, ISO levels and other things.

The Sony Xperia Z2 is another smartphone that comes with a dazzling camera performance. It has a 20.7-megapixel camera and a sensor that is 30-percent larger than on most standard smartphones.

This android phone can capture subjects in challenging low-light conditions and has a high-sensitivity sensor to take photos with higher shutter speeds.

The Xperia Z2 also offers 3 times clear image zoom with a high-resolution sensor.

Smartphones are becoming better and better, particularly with their improved cameras for taking quick photos.

But if you don’t have the urge to shoot like a pro and share your captured images with others, a standard smartphone would be a better choice. After all, cameras and cell phones don’t have to go together.
Categories: Indonesian News

BRMS may build gold mine in Gorontalo

5 hours 27 min ago
Publicly listed non-coal miner PT Bumi Resources Minerals (BRMS), a subsidiary of PT Bumi Resources Tbk, may shift its mining business priorities in Gorontalo from copper to gold due to uncertainties in the construction of a copper smelter for which the company will supply.

BRMS’ subsidiary, PT Gorontalo Minerals, in March signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to supply copper concentrate to a smelting and refining facility to be constructed by PT Nusantara
Smelting.

The development of the copper mine would take a minimum of three years to complete, starting from 2015 at the earliest, said Suseno Kramadibrata, BRMS
president director.

“If the [copper] smelter cannot be completely established by 2019 for [the company’s] benefits, we have to run the gold [mine] first,” Suseno told a press briefing at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Jakarta on Monday.

BRMS will wait until the end of this year to ascertain the copper mine development with Nusantara Smelting, while the company looks out for other partners to provide copper smelting and refining facilities for its Gorontalo mine.

If things remain uncertain on the copper mine, BRMS will shift its focus to the gold mine, but still at the Gorontalo site, according to Suseno.

He argued that the investment would be lower for a gold mine than for a copper mine and the copper mines need more advanced technology than gold mines. Hence, the shift should not be burdensome.

“[Also,] the payback period will be quicker [for gold mines compared with copper mines],” Suseno added.

The company is developing 292 million tons ore resources from PT Gorontalo Minerals’ Cabang Kiri and Sungai Mak sites with an average content of 0.5 percent copper and 0.47 grams per ton of gold.

BRMS director Fuad Helmy said that the company this year had allocated around US$60 million for its capital expenditure, of which around $30 million was for the development of the Cabang Kiri and Sungai Mak sites.

The company has four mineral mining projects under its subsidiaries, namely PT Dairi Prima Mineral (zinc and lead), PT Gorontalo Minerals (cooper and gold), PT Citra Palu Minerals (gold and molybdenum) and PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara (copper and gold). BRMS has an 18 percent share in Newmont.

The company has booked losses for two consecutive years after it closed 2013 in the red with $121 million in net losses and $29.72 million in 2012.

Shares in BRMS traded at Rp 240 (2 US cents) apiece on Monday’s trading close, up 4.35 percent from the previous day. (ask)
Categories: Indonesian News

Motorcyclists to travel free to avoid accidents during exodus

5 hours 27 min ago
The government will provide free transportation for motorcyclists during this year’s Idul Fitri exodus to minimize road accidents during the holiday season.

The Transportation Ministry would provide trains, trucks, buses and ships to transport both motorcycles and travelers from Jakarta to the country’s main cities, spokesperson Andravida Barata said.

The services would be available for up to 17,100 motorcycles. Registration would take place between July 1 and 16.

“We have decided to provide free transportation for travelers who opt to bring their motorcycles to their hometowns in the hope of reducing the high number of motorcycle accidents during the annual exodus,” Barata told reporters.

In cooperation with state-owned train operator PT KAI, a total of 6,300 motorcycles and 6,000 travelers will be given free train tickets on trains serving the Jakarta-Semarang (Central Java) and Jakarta-Cirebon (West Java) routes.

The ministry opened the first stage of registration for the free train tickets in May and around 2,500 tickets for motorcycles have been booked.

“We are now offering the rest of the tickets available,” he said.

Barata said that the ministry’s directorate general of land transportation would also provide 48 trucks and 96 buses to carry 2,400 motorcycles and 4,800 travelers during the holiday season.

“For travelers choosing to travel by bus, their motorcycles will be transported in trucks. The buses that will be provided are equipped with air conditioning,” he said.

Barata said that the free bus and truck capacity had increased from 1,716 motorcycles and 3,474 travelers last year.

The trucks and buses will serve nine routes from Jakarta, namely to Wonosobo, Kebumen, Magelang, Purwokerto, Solo, Wonogiri in Central Java; Tasikmalaya and Cilacap in West Java; and also to Yogyakarta.

The government is also set to provide two ships to transport 6,000 motorcycles and 12,000 travelers on July 24 and 26, these will serve the routes Tanjung Priok (North Jakarta) to Tanjung Emas (Semarang), and Tanjung Priok to Panjang (Lampung)

Two roll-on/roll-off ferries will also be available to transport the Idul Fitri travelers, with a capacity of 1,500 motorcycles and 3,000 passengers, serving the routes from Jakarta to Tegal, Central Java, on July 23 and 25, and Jakarta to Cirebon, West Java, on July 24 and 26.

The ministry will also provide free transportation for the return journey to Jakarta. However, the capacity and the dates of departure have not yet been confirmed.

There are expected to be around 27.8 million homeward-bound travelers this year — including those using private vehicles — or an increase of around 6.99 percent compared to last year, according to data from the Transportation Ministry’s research and development department.

The data also shows that last year there were a total of 2.27 million travelers using motorcycles, and the number is forecast to increase by 4.3 percent to 2.37 million this year, or less than 10 percent of overall travelers in the Idul Fitri exodus.


— JP/Nadya Natahadibrata
Categories: Indonesian News

Public works ministry to get Rp 1.6t to secure land

5 hours 27 min ago
The Public Works Ministry has secured Rp 1.6 trillion (US$133.5 million) in land capping funds to expedite the construction of stalled toll road projects.

The government would immediately disburse the funds to state toll road companies in an attempt to speed up land acquisition process for several pending projects, which could ease infrastructure bottlenecks in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, said Djoko Murjanto, the ministry’s Bina Marga director general.

“We are planning to complete the disbursement before Idul Fitri,” Djoko told reporters over the weekend.

The decision was made after a meeting with Coordinating Economic Minister Chairul Tanjung, he added.

The Public Works Ministry has initially targeted to secure a total of Rp 2.05 trillion for land capping funds, according to Djoko.

The funds are expected to ease land acquisition issues that have frequently hindered infrastructure projects in the country. The government said it would cost $550 billion in the next five years to develop roads, ports, railways, power plants and other infrastructure in order to grow the economy to its full potential.

“We will later find a way to secure the remaining funds needed. What’s more important is that we have secured Rp 1.6 trillion, including [funds] to pay back the money spent by toll road companies to acquire land before 2014,”
Djoko said.

He declined to provide details regarding the disbursement of the funds.

The funding, however, is expected to clear the ministry of its pending obligations to pay back toll road companies for previous projects, hence paving the way for other projects to take place.

The Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister previously brought forward a plan to fast-track 15 priority infrastructure projects for groundbreaking or completion this year across the archipelago, including for toll roads, airports, railways, power plants, a dam and a broadband project.

Chairul has mentioned the 33.6-kilometer Cibitung-Cilincing toll road will be crucial to the government’s attempt to ease the flow of goods to Tanjung Priok Port in the capital city, Jakarta, as truck congestion remains a big issue at the busiest port in the country.

Land acquisition should be complete before the end of this year, Chairul said.

Djoko, however, said he did not see the possibility of the toll road starting construction anytime this year.

The concession agreement of the Cibitung-Cilincing toll road was signed in 2007, but the construction has not yet been settled due to problems in acquiring the land.

Of the total 107.5 hectares of land required to construct the toll road, the government has only managed to secure around 14.5 hectares, or less than 15 percent.

Other toll road projects among the 15 priority projects include the long-awaited 2,700-km Trans Sumatra highway that will stretch from Aceh to Lampung in 24 sections connecting major cities in Sumatra.

The Trans Sumatra toll road project is currently still on hold as it awaits a presidential decree appointing a state-run construction company to carry out the project.

Initially, the government is expecting to start the construction of toll road’s first four segments, namely Medan-Binjai (North Sumatra), Pekanbaru-Dumai (Riau), Bakauheni-Bandar Lampung (Lampung) and Palembang-Indralaya (South Sumatra).

In order to construct the entire toll road, the government needs to acquire 218,976 million square meters of land.

Categories: Indonesian News

Indonesia needs to adopt LTE: Ericsson

5 hours 27 min ago
Indonesia will need to start adopting long-term evolution (LTE) technology, better known as 4G, as mobile data traffic is expected to grow by more than 10 times, says an Ericsson Indonesia executive.

“It is projected that mobile data traffic will surge by more than 10 times between 2013 and 2019, with smartphone users expecting better and faster Internet speed to support their activities,” Ericsson Indonesia marketing and communications vice president Hardyana Syintawati recently said.

Mobile data traffic in Southeast Asia and the Pacific is predicted to reach more than 2 exabytes per month in 2019 from less than 0.2 exabyte per month last year, a recent study by Ericsson showed.

Voice traffic, meanwhile, is estimated to grow by only 20 percent during the same period of time, the study found.

The study, called the Ericsson Mobility Report, also predicted that Indonesia would have the third-highest number of new mobile subscriptions in the region in 2019, with as many as 7 million new mobile subscriptions.

India and China will come first and second with 28 million and 19 million new mobile subscriptions, respectively.

The study revealed that Indonesia had the most mobile subscriptions of any country in Southeast Asia, with 330 million subscriptions last year.

Hardyana said that with the surging number of mobile subscriptions, coupled with increasing mobile data traffic, 4G would be very much needed to provide a seamless flow of data and stable Internet connection.

“In addition, the demand for 4G is actually already there in a number of big cities where many people already use mobile devices that are equipped with LTE enablers,” she said.

She added that large telecommunication operators were actually ready to launch 4G technology, but were still waiting for a government regulation on the adoption of the technology.

“What is happening right now is that we haven’t had an official regulation on the adoption of 4G,” she said.

State-owned telecommunications firm PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom) president director Arief Yahya said previously that his firm would launch the technology once the regulation was in place.

“Telkom is ready to implement 4G technology across Indonesia, supported by the DNA [Device-Network-Applications] ecosystem,” he said, adding that his firm planned to expand its fiber-optic network to 75,000 kilometers this year.

Meanwhile, in addition to Telkom, operators PT XL Axiata and PT Indosat have previously tested LTE technology during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in October last year in Bali.

Communications and Information Technology Ministry spokesperson Ismail Cawidu said that his ministry was working on the regulation on the adoption of 4G.

“We are moving in that direction, but we are still in the preparation phase so that all operators can operate the LTE technology at the frequency of 1,800 MHz,” he said.

4G connection offers theoretical download speeds of between 75 and 100 Mbps and typical download speeds from 3 to 12 Mbps, three times faster than 3G connection, which is widely used at the moment.

The Ericsson Mobility Study estimated that LTE technology would cover as much as 60 percent of Southeast Asia and the Pacific’s total population in 2019, a surge from only around 15 percent last year.
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