“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

Friday, November 30, 2007

VP orders Garuda to seek EU aviation consultant`s advice

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Vice President M Jusuf Kalla has ordered national flag-carrier PT Garuda Indonesia to seek the advice of a European Union (EU) aviation consultant on how to improve its flight safety and quality standards.

"European Union aviation safety and quality standards are better than those of other countries, including the United States. They have their own standards and thus we have to improve ours," Kalla said after performing Friday prayers.

The vice president made the statement in response to a question about the EU ban on Indonesian airline flights to European countries.

Kalla said Indonesia should improve its flight safety and quality standards rather than lodging a protest against the EU`s ban.

"I have ordered PT Garuda Indonesia to find a EU aviation consultant who can give advice on what it must do," Kalla said, adding that the most important element in an aviation service was safety and security.

Therefore, he said, what the European Union was concerned about was aviation safety and security standards for anybody, including Indonesians.

"Don`t forget that it has something to do with image. Therefore, Garuda should first improve its safety and security standards in order to be able to fly to Europe again," Kalla said.

Asked if it was necessary for Indonesia to take retaliatory action over the EU`s flight ban, the vice president said he did not support the idea.

"Don`t scold the European Union because what it has done is actually a whip for us to improve our aviation safety and quality standards," Kalla said.

Danone seeks majority stake in dairy project in Rajasthan

Kolkata (ANTARA News/Asia Pulse) - French FMCG giant Groupe Danone is eyeing a majority stake in a Rs 2.5 billion (US$63 million) dairy project in Rajasthan promoted by Kolkata-based Keventer Group and the state government.

"Danone is seeking majority stake, but we are not going to do that. Danone is one of the few international companies with whom we are negotiating to be our partner in the value added dairy project, but we have not yet finalised it," Keventer Group chairman M K Jalan said.

He said "We want a structure where Keventer and the international partner will hold 44.5 per cent each and Rajasthan government 11 per cent for offering the land for the project."

Indonesian logistics co AKR ups stake in China`s Guangxi Guigang

Jakarta (ANTARA News/Asia Pulse) - PT AKR Corporindo (JSX:AKRA) has increased its stake to 93.98 per cent from 80 per cent in Guangxi Guiganf AKR Container Port Ltd, the operator of the Honglian port of China.

V Suresh, Secretary of the Indonesian logistic company, said the Honglian port, which has increased its handling capacity from 15,000 TEUs to 50,000 TEUs in June, is strategic for the operation of AKR Corporindo.

"The capacity of the container port will be expanded further to 200,000 TEUs in 2009," Mr Suresh said.

BEJ and BES merge into BEI

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Jakarta Stock Exchange (BEJ) and the Surabaya Stock Exchange (BES) officially merged into the Indonesian Stock Exchange (BEI) on Friday.

The BEI would start operating on Monday (Dec 3), BEI President Director Erry Firmansyah said.

Although the two stock exchanges had merged, single-listed shares at the Surabaya Stock Exchange would be excluded from the Jakarta composite index, he said.

"We are waiting for normal conditions so as not to disrupt the BEI`s index," he said.

It would take two years for the BEI to return to normal conditions, he said.

During the transition period, the BEI management would unite the two stock exchanges` systems, he said.

In total, the BEI has 375 employees consisting of 300 from the BEJ and 75 from the BES.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati expressed hope the merger would bring about new spirit and integrity for the Indonesian capital market.

She said the merger came in proper time when the Indonesian capital market`s performance was improving.

UOB Buana Bank to issue Rp2 trillion bonds

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Publicly-listed Bank UOB Buana Tbk plans to issue bonds worth Rp2 trillion to raise its core capital to Rp7.5 trillion in 2010.

"The plan for the bond issuance will be realized in 2009 but it still depends on market developments. Therefore, it is still subject to a review," the bank`s managing director, Safrullah Hadi Saleh, said here Friday.

Bank OUB Buana posted a net profit of Rp357.06 billion in the third quarter of 2007, up 10.52 percent from Rp326.07 billion in the same period last year.

Three RI companies to set up posphate acid factory in Morocco

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Three Indonesian companies intend to invest US$500 million in the construction of a phosphate acid factory in Morocco under an investment cooperation agreement with the Middle Eastern country, Indonesia`s special envoy to the Middle East Alwi Shihab said.

Speaking to the press after a meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the State Palace here Friday, Shihab identified the three companies as PT Petrokimis Gresik, Medco Energi Corporation and Bosowa Group.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the three Indonesian firms` plan was expected to be signed in 2008, he said.

The investment would be made under a bilateral investment cooperation scheme whereby Indonesia would import semi-finished phosphate acid from Morocco and the latter would invest in the construction of an ammonia plant in Indonesia.

"It`s a better way to meet our need for phosphate acid than having to import the finished product while Morocco also needs ammonia," Alwi said.

Alwi who met the president to report the results of his work during the past few months and his work plans for the near future, said he was also exploring the possibility of forging the same kind of investment cooperation with Egypt.

In Saudi Arabia and Qatar there were many investment opportunities for Indonesian construction companies, he said.

Citing examples, Alwi said construction company Waskita Karya had been offered to invest in a project worth US$1.5 million in Saudi Arabia. The project would include development of a housing complex and apartments in University City.

Another Indonesian construction company, Adhi Karya, had won a contract to build apartment towers in Qatar, Alwi said.

Disaster management body criticized

Desy Nurhayati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Lack of coordination among stakeholders in handling natural disasters continues despite the fact that repeated disasters have hit the country over the last several years, a two-day workshop on disaster management concluded Thursday.

Many have criticized the performance of the National Coordinating Agency for Disaster Management (Bakornas PB), which is supposed to be at the forefront of disaster relief efforts, for its sluggishness in coordinating stakeholders involved in the efforts.

As a result, groups and institutions going to affected areas to assist victims often work on their own without cooperation from others, workshop participants said in joint media conference.

Maj. Gen. Dadi Susanto, director general of defense strategy at the Defense Ministry, said although preventive measures had been taken the country still faced problems whenever a catastrophe occurred.

"Based on our experiences over the last couple of years, typical problems in disaster relief include uneven distribution of aid and slow evacuation of victims. These are caused by poor coordination among institutions," Dadi said.

"We need to improve collaboration between institutions to build more concrete and effective actions," he said.

"Also, the key is anticipation in order to minimize the risks."

He said it was important to empower and train people, especially those living in disaster-prone areas, to make them alert and well-prepared whenever disaster strikes.

In an effort to improve disaster management, in March the government enacted a new regulation. Included in the regulation is the conversion of Bakornas PB into the National Agency on Disaster Management (BNPB).

Indonesia and Australia will co-chair an international event called Disaster Relief Exercise next year. The event is one of the results from the recent ASEAN regional forum of senior officials.

The event, to be attended by participants from 27 countries, will take place in Jakarta.

Tenganan residents use micro-hydro power plant

Wasti Atmodjo, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar

The Tenganan, one of the oldest Balinese indigenous groups, have long been renowned as the guardians of the island's environment by consistently applying their traditional wisdom.

Living in Tenganan village, which is situated on the rich and fertile lands of Karangasem regency, some 100 kilometers east of Denpasar, the Tenganan have successfully retained their traditional way of life.

Made Suarnatha, director of the Wisnu Foundation, said the foundation had helped the people of Tenganan develop their own hydro-electric power plant by utilizing the water-rich Buhu River.

Supported by the Global Environmental Facilities (GEF), Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) and the state-owned electricity company PT PLN, the village now has a micro-hydro power plant capable of producing around 12,000 watts (12 KW) during the dry season and 22,000 during rainy season.

"This is a type of community-based electricity power plant that could be applied in other remote villages on the island," said Wayan Redika, spokesperson of PT PLN's Bali office.

The company, he said, was not able to provide electricity for all, therefore empowering villages was the key to ensuring people could rely on a self-generated electricity supply.

Since Tenganan people do not need as much electricity as their counterparts in urban areas, the provision of between 12 kilowatts to 22 kilowatts of electricity is more than enough for these modest people.

"We use the electricity to operate our rice mill, which used to be powered by diesel fuel," said Tenganan's village chief.

The diesel-powered mill, he said, required 20 liters of fuel per hour to process rice husks.

By using the electricity, the people of Tenganan can save hundreds of thousands of rupiah a day. More importantly, the new technology is more environmentally friendly.

"The local people can also sell electricity to PT PLN at Rp 420 per kwh. This means they can generate money from the micro-hydro power plant," Suarnatha said, adding investment for the plant amounted to around Rp 600 million.

The Wisnu Foundation has been involved in various community-based activities that empower villagers to be economically independent. The foundation has become a development partner for four villages: Tenganan and Sibetan in Karangasem regency, Plaga in Badung regency and Nusa Penida in Klungkung.

"The difference is the involvement of the community in managing this power plant, which will become their economic wheel," Suarnatha said.

Hospital opens sleep disorder center

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Persahabatan Hospital in Rawamangun, East Jakarta, recently opened a specialized center to treat people suffering from sleep disorders.

Declaring itself Indonesia's first center for sleep disorder treatment, the center offers a "comprehensive" range of diagnoses and treatments.

Center coordinator Budhi Antariksa said it was in response to the needs of patients that Persahabatan Hospital, which is the national reference center for respiratory problems, established the sleep center, which officially opened earlier this month.

"Indonesia doesn't have any data regarding the number of people suffering from sleep disorders, but the country accounts for around 50 percent of the total number of sleep disorder patients at some hospitals in Singapore and Malaysia. So, why not build our own sleep center here?" Budhi said recently.

He said the establishment of the center was aimed at not only providing medical care to the community, but also at developing medical education in the country, with Persahabatan Hospital's close links to the University of Indonesia's School of Medicine.

Each patient treated at the sleep center, according to Budhi, will first have an interview where they will be asked to list all sleep-related complaints they may have.

The results of the interview will determine whether a patient needs to undergo a polysomnogram, a special test commonly used to diagnose sleep disorders.

According to hospital officials, the sleep center features a team of doctors from a variety of disciplines, including two pulmonologists; two ear, nose and throat specialists (ENTs); a cardiologist; a neurologist; a pediatrician; and a psychiatrist.

"If the problem is caused by obstruction of the airway, the patient will be handed over to pulmonologists or ENTs. If it is related to a neurological disorder, he/she will be sent to neurologists, and so on," Budhi said.

The sleep center's polysomnograph machine is able to monitor different body functions during sleep, including brain and eye movement, muscle activity, heart rhythm and respiratory efforts.

The gathered data can then be used to diagnose different types of sleep disorders, including sleep apnea (the obstruction of the airway during sleep, causing loud snoring and sudden awakenings when breathing stops); narcolepsy (the condition of falling asleep spontaneously and unwillingly at inappropriate times); restless legs syndrome (an irresistible urge to move legs); REM behavior disorder (acting out violent or dramatic dreams while in REM sleep); and parasomnias (include a variety of disruptive sleep-related events).

Budhi said Persahabatan Hospital has had its polysomnograph since the end of 2005, and has so far treated about 35 patients with the machine.

Two other hospitals in the city have polysomnographs. They are Mitra Keluarga Hospital in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, and Medistra Hospital on Jl. Gatot Subroto in South Jakarta.

"But we're the only one that has a team of specialists from multiple disciplines. That's why I can say we're the only sleep disorder treatment center in Indonesia," said Budhi.

To learn more about the services at Persahabatan Hospital's sleep center, you can dial 4891708, ext. 209/296. Or you can come to the Griya Puspa building at the Persahabatan Hospital complex. (wda)

DaimlerChrysler ups production

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

DaimlerChrysler, the producer of Mercedes-Benz passenger and commercial vehicles, plans to increase production at its Indonesian assembly plant next year by almost 50 percent to cope with growing demand.

Rudi Borgenheimar, the president director of PT DaimlerChrysler Indonesia, said Thursday that total production at the company's assembly plant in Bogor, West Java, would reach 1,700 units this year.

He said that with higher demand in both the luxury car and truck markets, the company planned to increase production by 47 percent to about 2,500 units next year

"Next year, we will assemble 500 buses, 1,200 C-class series cars, 550 E-class series cars, and 200 S-class series cars," Borgenheimar said after the launching of the W204, the latest variant in the C-class series, at the Bogor plant.

However, he said the company had no plans as yet to increase the plant's production capacity as the existing capacity was still adequate to meet demand.

Indonesia is the company's fourth largest market in Southeast Asia after Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

At present, the Wanaherang, Bogor, plant, the company's only production line in Southeast Asia, has a capacity to assemble 40,000 vehicles a year.

As of the end of October, DaimlerChrysler had sold 1,741 sedans and trucks, representing an increase of almost 200 percent compared with the 914 vehicles sold in 2006.

Of these, 587 were C-class sedans, while 289 were E-class sedans.

The country's total sales of private and commercial vehicles amounted to 349,489 during the January-October period, almost 10 percent more than the 318,904 vehicles sold in 2006.

Borgenheimar also said that DaimlerChrysler was planning to change its name to PT Mercedes-Benz Indonesia next month. (adt)

12 small entrepreneurs receive Citi Micro awards

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Twelve small entrepreneurs from across the country received Citi Micro-Entrepreneurship awards Thursday in recognition of their outstanding business initiative.

Loisa Lies Wally, a betel seller from Papua, won the first prize in the trade category in recognition of her creativity in selling betel, which is rarely traded.

Almost 90 percent of Papuans like to chew betel but most of them prepare the betel themselves. Loisa manages to sell around 700 packs of betel daily.

"The award has encouraged me to ask more people to get involved in the same business," Loisa told reporters after receiving the award.

Stanislaus Anwar from Magelang, Central Java, and Halimah from Tangerang, Banten, came second and third, respectively, in the trade category.

In the foodstuffs category, Sulastri, took first prize with her innovative snacks made from banana stalks. Agus Supriyanto and Wismawati, both also snacks producers, came second and third in the foodstuffs category.

Suratinah from Magelang, Chandra Nanda from Bengkulu and Hoiri from Lampung came first, second and third, respectively, in the crafts category, while Endang Kusumawati from Parigi Mautong, South East Sulawesi, Sunarno from Lampung, Sumatra, and Syahlul Munaf from Batusangkar, West Sumatra, came first, second and third, respectively, in the services category.

Each winner received a prize of Rp 11 million (US$ 1.220), while the second and third-placed runners-up each took home Rp 9 million and Rp 7 million, respectively.

Director of the University of Indonesia's Small and Medium Business Center, Nining I Susilo, said the committee this year put more focus on how these small entrepreneurs influenced their surroundings.

"We concentrated on how far these small business people could develop and maintain their social responsibility toward others in their surroundings," Nining said during the awards ceremony.

Ditta Amahorseya, senior vice president country corporate affairs at Citi Indonesia, said the winners were now expected to inspire others to develop their businesses in cooperation with microcredit institutions.

According to Ditta, the Citi group has sponsored the competition to the tune of US$170,000 over the last three years.

The awards were first presented in 2005.

This year's winners were selected from among 763 participants throughout the country based on detailed interviews and long-term monitoring conducted by a special team comprising representatives from the University of Indonesia, media and financial institutions. (dic)

100 major tourism events to be organized next year

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

As part of the government's efforts to reach its target of seven million foreign tourist visits in 2008, the Culture and Tourism Ministry plans to promote some 100 international events throughout the archipelago next year.

The ministry's director general for marketing, Thamrin B. Bachri, said that as a facilitator, the ministry would cooperate with local administrations to make the events a success.

"We will help the administrations to properly organize the events so that they will be worth seeing," Thamrin said Thursday.

"In addition, the ministry will also help publicize the events both inside and outside the country," he added.

According to the ministry, the international events will include cultural festivals, musical performances and sports events.

"For example, there will be a Tabot cultural and religious festival in Bengkulu, and we will try to attract as many as tourists as we can from Malaysia and Singapore as the primary markets as they are the closest to Bengkulu," Thamrin said.

In addition to cultural events, he said, tourists would also be able to attend sporting events, such as the Indonesia Open golf tournament and Indonesian International Diving Adventure event, both in Jakarta, and the World Karting Championships in Sentul, Bogor.

Other events expected to support the success of Visit Indonesia Year 2008 are the Arak Tabuik festival in Padang Pariaman, West Sumatra, next August; Tourism Funday in Anyer, Banten, in February; Papua Cultural Festival in August; and the annual Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta in March.

"Basically, these events are held annually, so what we are doing now is further promoting them and packaging them better," Thamrin said.

The soft launch of the Visit Indonesia Year 2008 campaign will take place Friday in the Balai Kartini, Jakarta, with a concert by top Indonesian performers, such as AB-Three, Edo Kondologit and Samsons.

The government will also conduct a public awareness drive as part of its efforts to highlight Indonesia's friendliness.

The domestic campaign will involve encouraging people to smile at tourists and help them in a friendly way, as well as establishing tourist police units in major tourism spots, simplifying licensing procedures, and working together with travel agencies, hotels and airline offices so as to help ensure the success of the campaign.

As for overseas promotion, the government will advertise on international television channels, the Internet, and through Indonesia's tourism offices abroad.

"Visit Indonesia Year is not a program of the Culture and Tourism Ministry alone, it involves all stakeholders and all citizens. So, its success will require their participation," Minister Wacik said Thursday.

Visit Indonesia Year 2008 will be officially launched by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Jan. 1. It is hoped that it will attract seven million foreign tourists to Indonesia's shores and earn the country some US$6.4 billion.(ndr)

Govt moves ahead with 'bonds-for-cash' swaps

Urip Hudiono, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Oil-rich regions will be able to choose from a variety of bonds that the central government will offer them in exchange for up to Rp 13.9 trillion (US$1.5 billion) out of the windfall revenues that accrue to them as their share of national oil and gas revenue next year.

The "cash-for-bonds" deal is part of the central government's efforts to mitigate the consequences of a worst-case scenario under which oil prices average $100 a barrel throughout the whole of next year, which could push up budgetary spending by Rp 54.7 trillion.

This figure includes more payouts from national oil and gas revenues to the producing regions -- like Riau and East Kalimantan -- apart altogether from additional subsidy spending on oil-based fuels.

"We will offer the bonds according to each region's specific cash-flow needs," the Finance Ministry's director general for debt management, Rahmat Waluyanto, said Wednesday.

"They could be short-term bills or long-term bonds, tradeable or non-tradeable ones."

The ministry might particularly suggest that the regions take up bonds from the secondary market, Rahmat said, should they prefer bonds, which are more easily tradeable.

"The plan is that the regions will purchase the bonds through private placements based on market-pricing mechanisms," he said.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the government had prepared a package of measures for next year aimed at saving up to Rp 54.7 trillion to help it anticipate a worst-case scenario resulting from high oil prices.

The bonds-for-cash program for oil-producing regions is one of those measures.

On possible objections from the regions, Rahmat said that his officials would work with the ministry's Regional Financial Balance Office to inform the regions and negotiate with them.

"How much money will be exchanged for bonds will depend on the negotiations, while still adhering to the usual revenue-sharing formula," he said.

"Many regions let their funds sit idle, anyway, parking them in short-term investment instruments, like central bank bills, before putting to use."

Under the plan, the regions would still obtain such advantages as capital gains based on the option of tradable bonds, and more predictable interest earnings if they choose longer-term bonds.

The swap plan is expected to slightly increase the government's net bond sales next year.

The government plans to raise Rp 91.6 trillion in net bond sales to finance the 2008 budget, up from Rp 58.5 trillion under this year's revised budget.

Under the worst-case scenario, oil-and-gas related revenue payouts to the regions next year may come to Rp 41.2 trillion, compared to the expected Rp 23.6 trillion.

Overall, while the government's action plan is almost enough to cover the Rp 54.7 trillion in additional oil-related spending, the additional revenues only come to Rp 52.8 trillion, pushing next year's deficit up slightly to Rp 75.9 trillion, or 1.8 percent of GDP.

Britain is second biggest investor in RI After Japan

London (ANTARA News) - Britain is the second biggest investor in Indonesia after Japan but many British businessmen have complained about lack of information on new investment opportunities, Indonesia`s chief investment official said.

"Britain is one of the important countries for Indonesia as its business players have remained the second biggest investor in Indonesia since 1967," chairman of the Capital Investment Coordination Board (BKPM), Muhammad Lutfi, said here on Wednesday.

Lutfi was here to promote investment opportunities in Indonesia among British business people at a business luncheon held by the Indonesian Embassy and the BKPM Representative Office in The British capital.

He said he had previously held similar meetings with French and Belgian businessmen and would do the same with Japanese investors in Tokyo, Japan, later.

The sectors in which British businessmen were operating in Indonesia included technology, coal mining and palm oil production, he said.

He admited that although the BKPM had a representative office in London many British businessmen he had met had complained about a lack of promotion on investment opportunities in Indonesia, especially those opened under the country`s new investment law.

British businessmen had also raised questions about the manpower law, overlapping regulations and the consistency of certain laws.

About overall investment growth in Indonesia, Lutfi said it had been significant, namely 176 percent from US19 billion to US$35 billion.

Hopefully, he added, with the new investment law and the government`s strong commitment, Indonesia would draw more investors and even be able to compete with such countries as Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

In order to better serve prospective investors` interests, the government would soon set up a one-gate service system for them and also provide them with other facilities and certain incentives, Lutfi said.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Flats culturally suited for Indonesian people

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Vice President Jusuf Kalla has refuted the opinion that flats are culturally not suited for Indonesian people, saying shrinking land space and increasing demand for housing required the development of flats in big cities.

"Many people have said that flats are culturally not suited for Indonesians. I think this is not true," the vice president said when opening a national working meeting of the Indonesian Developers` Association (Aperti) here on Thursday.

To support his argument, the vice president pointed at the traditional `rumah gadang` (big house) in West Sumatra and the `rumah panjang` (long house) tribal house in Kalimantan.

Kalla said rumah gadang and rumah panjang were basically flats in other forms. Each of these typically traditional houses was home to many families.

"The difference between rumah gadang or rumah panjang and flats is that the former are built in horizontal direction while the latter are built vertically, one storey on another," the vice president said adding that the concept of both kinds of dwelling was the same, namely houses for large numbers of communal families.

Kalla said that in order to overcome the problems of shrinking land space and increasing demand for housing, the only correct choice was to develop flats.

On the occasion, the vice president also promised to develop flats on the land that was once the site of Kemayoran airport.

He said the former airport site would be developed as a people`s housing complex through a flat development program.

"Kemayoran should be made a flat development center next year. It is wrong for people to divide it into lots of land illegally," he said.

He said flat development in a big city like Jakarta was a must. Horizontal houses could no longer be developed in big cities.

The vice president also called on Aperti to help develop flats. The development of low-cost houses so far by Aperti had gained significant recognition. Flats in big cities were also classified as modest houses.

Modest houses would continue to grow in line with the development of the people`s economy, he said.

"If people early in their life-time need small houses, now with higher welfare levels, they want bigger ones," Kalla said.

Singapore donates Rp6.2 bln to prevent forest fires in Jambi

Jambi (ANTARA News) - Singapore has donated Rp6.2 billion in fund to help prevent forest and bush fires in the Indonesian province of Jambi, Governor Zulkifli Nurdin said.

The assistance was a follow up to cooperation between the Indonesian and Singaporean governments in fighting forest and bush fires, he said here on Wednesday.

In addition, the neighboring country also provided the province with technical assistance in making a master plan for the prevention of forest and bush fires, he said.

He said a Singaporean delegation led by Director General of Environmental Protection at the National Environment Agency Josefh Hui visited the province a few days ago to sign a letter of intent with the local government on the prevention of forest and bush fires.

The project was located at Sungai Aur and Arang-Arang villages, Muaro district, he said.

He admitted that the haze caused by forest and bush fires in Jambi had reached the island state.

Govt launches Pavilion Indonesia

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government has launched a Pavilion Indonesia (PI) to inform media, participants and guests of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) about many aspects of the country`s diverse economy and culture.

The pavilion will exist as a physical resources within the UN`s media compound at the Bali International Convention Center in Nusa Dua where the conference will take place from 3 to 14 December, the pavilion OC said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The pavilion also provides an internet information portal which can be accessed at www.PavilionIndonesia.com. The portal will be operational starting December 1.

The tagline, "your direct access to Indonesian minds" calls attention to the pavilion as a direct conduit for media to detailed Indonesia-specific information, as well as to interviews with government officials and the non-governmental organization and private enterprise sectors.

Public works minister: 91 pct of 2007 budget already spent

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto said that 91 percent of the ministry`s 2007 budget will have been spent on projects in the regions by the end of the year.

"We have made an inspection and met with the project officers in the regions. And we find that about 91 percent of the projects in the regions had been completed," he said here Wednesday.

He also said that preliminary information had been incorrect saying as if only 70 percent of the projects had been completed.

"They (project officers) especially those implementing multiyear packages made their evaluation on the basis of the progress of their work, whereas actually to determine how far the completion of their work has got, they need to look at the budget they have spent," he said.

With regard to the 2008 budget, the minister said a tender has already been held in November and December 2007, so that in January work can be started as the funding has already been disbursed.

"At least the contracts worth Rp 6.6 trillion had already been signed, which include multiyear contracts on packages on construction of the Jatigede reservoir in Sumedang, West Java, and the Suramadu (Surabaya-Madura) bridge in Surabaya, East Java.

The minister believed that the contracts of work signed up to the end of 2007 may reach Rp14 trillion, so that work can be started by January.

He also believed that the industrial fuel oil price hike in 2007 will continue in 2008, for which the government has prepared a clause on force majeur if prices of building materials became out of control due to the price hikes.

"We have not decided whether the volume of work would be reduced in view of the building material price hikes, but we have already made some anticipations," he said.

Indonesia`s MNC to buy at least 51 pct of China`s Linktone

Beijing (ANTARA News)- Chinese wireless media firm Linktone Ltd said Indonesia's PT Media Nusantara Citra (MNC) agreed to acquire at least 51 percent of the company.

The offer price of $3.80 per American depositary share represents a 53.8 percent premium over Linktone's closing price of $2.47 on Tuesday.

Linktone shares rose 34 percent at $3.30 following the news, which comes a day after it posted a wider-than-expected third-quarter loss.

The deal with MNC would increase its cash balances and enable the two companies to pursue wireless value-added services in China and other Asian countries, Linktone told Reuters.

Under the terms, MNC will buy 6.1 million ADS in a tender offer and further subscribe for up to $25.2 million ADS.

On Tuesday, Linktone posted a third-quarter net loss of $2.8 million, or 12 cents per ADS.

MNC will finance the transaction using cash reserves, and the deal is expected to close in the first quarter, Linktone added.

58 firms to get tax incentives

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

In a bid to further promote new investment and business expansion, the government has agreed to provide special tax incentives to 58 companies.

"We have already approved the applications for tax facilities, and these approvals have been sent to the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) and to each of the companies," said the Finance Ministry's director general of taxes, Darmin Nasution, in Jakarta as quoted by Antara on Monday.

Darmin said the tax facilities had been extended to the 50 companies under Government Regulation No. 1/2007.

Under this regulation, a company can write off 30 percent of the total cost of an investment against tax. In order to secure this incentive, they have to apply to the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM).

"So, if the total investment is Rp 100 billion, a company can deduct 30 percent of the total, or Rp 30 billion, from its corporate income tax," he said, adding that this would be spread out over the number of years the company needed to fully realize its investment.

"If the investment period is six years, then the company can deduct Rp 5 billion from its taxable income every year for six years.

Aside from the tax allowance, the regulation also allows certain companies to accelerate amortization to a maximum of 10 years, and offers reduced income tax of 10 percent on dividends paid to non-resident taxpayers.

Darmin did not name the companies, but said that notifications of the extending of the facilities would soon be sent to the tax offices within whose regions the companies were located.

"What the companies have to do now is visit the tax offices in whose areas they are located, and the designated tax officials will give effect to this facility," Darmin said.

For other companies that want the same treatment, he said, they should apply to the BKPM which will examine whether they are eligible.

The government is prioritizing 15 business sectors: food, textiles, pulp and paper, rubber, steel products, electrical generators, electronics and telematics, raw iron and steel, non-iron metal manufacturing, machineries and components, land transportation, shipbuilding, industrial chemicals and other chemicals.

Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) chairman Mohammad Hidayat hailed the tax service's approvals, saying that it was not before time.

He also asked the tax service to increase the number of categories of companies eligible for tax allowances. "Incentives should also be given to those operating in remote areas, to business sectors that are labor intensive and to those that promote the use of local materials," he said.

Hidayat said that Kadin would soon meet with the government to discuss the sectors eligible for incentives in greater detail.

Campaign educates students on bird flu

Indra Harsaputra, The Jakarta Post, Mojokerto

The National Committee for Avian Influenza and Pandemic Preparedness (Komnas FBPI) and the United Nations Children's Education Fund are conducting a national campaign aimed at educating students on bird flu and ways to prevent it.

The anti-bird flu drive was launched Tuesday at Kebonagung state elementary school in Puri district, Mojokerto, East Java. It is the first school in the country to include introductory exercises and information on the spread of the disease in its curriculum.

The campaign organizers showed students a 7-minute animated public promotion film called "Bajuri's Family Prepare for Bird Flu", which is to be broadcast nation-wide in the near future.

The film's characters are based on the cast of the popular TV's series "Bajaj Bajuri."

Ahmad Kholik, a teacher from the school, quizzed the students after the film's screening.

"How many of you have poultry at home?" Ahmad asked the students.

Of the 30 students in the classroom, eight raised their hands, saying they had between three to 11 caged birds or chickens in their backyards.

"What can you do to avoid bird flu infection?"

"Wash our hands with soap so the germs will die," answered one student.

Alif Nurahlina, 11, said teachers gave bird flu awareness lessons during science class once a week. The teachers often asked the students to complete assignments, which included collecting information on bird flu from newspapers and the Internet.

"There are no poultry at my house, however, my neighbors raise chickens which should be caged, but they roam freely around the house. I want to remind them but I'm afraid they will scold me instead," Alif told The Jakarta Post.

Ayu Novisia, 12, said she was aware of the bird flu virus. She was confident she would attain a high grade when she sat her school test on bird flu.

"My friends in other schools do not know much about bird flu because their schools have not yet provided them with bird flu lessons.

"Another obstacle is the high cost of Internet access to obtain bird flu information. Our parents give us Rp 500 (5 U.S. cents) to Rp 1,000 for pocket money, which is not enough to buy newspapers or surf the Internet. We have to save money first," Ayu said.

A number of studies show that most rural communities only obtain information from the radio and television because they cannot afford to buy newspapers, let alone Internet access.

Chairman of Komnas FBPI, Bayu Krisnamurthi, said his team would carry out the anti-bird flu program in 47,500 schools across the country, providing them with bird flu lesson packages known as the Bird Flu Awareness students' kits.

"Children play a crucial role in disseminating information about bird flu to their family members, thus we hope people would become more aware of bird flu.

"Around 40 percent of bird flu victims are children. With this campaign, we hope children can protect themselves (from the disease)," Bayu said.

Mojokerto Education Office head Akmad Jazuli said his office had urged every school in the regency to include bird flu material in the school curriculum.

"We will continue to train teachers so they can provide clear information on the bird flu virus to their students," Akmad said.

Bird flu has claimed the lives of 91 of the 113 patients infected with the H5N1 virus in the country.

City to fix flood system in response to tides, rains

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The city administration says it will improve Jakarta's flood management system to tackle floods caused by rain, high tides and global warming.

"We will soon upgrade the existing flood management system making it suitable for our present environmental conditions," Governor Fauzi Bowo said Wednesday.

Fauzi said the administration had built embankments to deal with high tides but said they were only a short-term solution, as Jakarta's flood management system needed to be able to respond to global warming.

He said the administration would improve the dam system, which pumps water in the city out to sea or into canals throughout Jakarta.

"The Netherlands, for example, which has a lot of land beneath sea level, uses pumps to expel water back to sea which come on automatically if the sea level changes ... We haven't applied such a system yet," Fauzi said, as quoted by Antara.

A 2.2-meter-high tide submerged Pluit and Penjaringan subdistricts Monday, disrupting traffic and forcing residents to flee their homes in North Jakarta's coastal areas.

Fauzi said the city administration, through the Public Works Agency, would renovate several embankments in areas affected by the tides.

Previously, head of the Public Works Agency's water and coastal resources management unit, I Gde Nyoman Soewandhi, said the floods in North Jakarta were caused by the damaged Pluit and Muara Baru embankments which could not hold the high tide back.

Nyoman said Monday some 20 meters of the Pluit embankment was damaged due to the high tide. The Public Works Agency repaired the embankment using river stones reinforced with iron and sand sacks, but on Tuesday said other parts of the embankment had also burst.

According to Nyoman, the damage was related to the age of the construction -- almost 20 years.

In 2007, the administration allocated money from the budget to renovate and raise the Muara Angke embankment by 30 centimeters.

"We can't delay the construction. We must raise Pluit and Muara Baru embankments by next year, otherwise city dwellers living nearby will be in danger," he said.

The Central Jakarta administration is currently restoring river embankments to anticipate floods at the peak of the rainy season in December.

"The work is part of Fauzi Bowo's first-100-days agenda," Mayor Muhayat said.

The river embankments being restored are near Jl. Teuku Umar, Jl. Diponegoro (opposite Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital), Jl. Cikini Raya, Jl. RP Suroso and Jl. Cempaka Putih Indah, to name a few.

Some 10 areas prone to floods in the municipality are Matraman Dalam, Kali Pasir Kwitang, Kebon Kacang, Pejompongan, Jati Pinggir, Karang Anyarm, Mangga Dua, Gunung Sahari, Serdang and Cempaka Putih.

Muhayat also said his administration was currently preparing rubber dinghies, boats and life jackets to respond to floods. (tif)

Islamic leaders take up HIV fight

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Islamic leaders in Jakarta on Tuesday agreed to spread faith-based HIV/AIDS prevention information through their sermons.

Gathering in the Jakarta Islamic Center in Kramat Raya, North Jakarta, some 400 religious leaders said they would incorporate into their sermons topics including the advantages and disadvantages of condoms, harm reduction in fighting drug abuse and the importance of faith in preventing HIV contraction.

The forum was held ahead of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

According to Dadi Parmadi Supatra, head of Jakarta's Family Planning Coordination Body, the event was the first of several and part of a faith-based campaign organized by his team and the Communication Forum for Sermon Institutions (FKLD), which will also hold more meetings with leaders from other religions.

"We hope the meeting will have a snowball effect where more and more preachers will send the message of HIV prevention, whether it is at Friday prayers or wherever," he said, adding that the main target of the campaign was Muslims.

FKLD head Nandi Rahman said preachers were important to spreading cultural changes.

"People will listen to teachings passed to us by the Koran, because the prophets have already predicted these types of curses. This is a judgment from above ... so we have to fight and return the lost moral values," he said.

With a huge number of injecting drug users, Jakarta has the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases in the country, 30 percent of the total number.

Drug users sharing needles is the main way HIV/AIDS is spread in the capital, along with many other provinces, Hariadi Wisnuwardana from the Health Ministry said Tuesday.

He was among the speakers at a separate forum held to welcome World AIDS Day at the Dharmais Cancer Hospital in Slipi, West Jakarta.

Around 150 representatives of NGOs, hospitals, public health centers, and individuals attended the seminar, which showcased this year's AIDS day theme, promoting leadership.

National AIDS Prevention Commission secretary Nafsiah Mboi said that the commission had set a three-year target starting this year for patients to have access to antiretroviral therapy to help them improve their immune systems.

"We also hope that people help the patients by giving them continuous support," she said.

Data from the Health Ministry has recorded 10,384 AIDS cases and 5,904 HIV cases with 2,287 deaths occurring in 33 provinces from 1987 to September this year.

Jakarta has the highest number with 2,849 cases, while West Java and Papua are ranked the second and third with 1,445 and 1,268 cases respectively.

The actual number, however, is believed to be much higher as it thought most cases are not reported.

It is estimated that around 246,000 people in the country are infected with the virus.

Zubairi Djoerban, a professor at the School of Medicine from the University of Indonesia, said that patients usually did not realize they had HIV/AIDS because they had symptoms like a high fever, diarrhea, gingivitis or scurvy and a weakening physical condition, all of which could indicate other illnesses.

"Most of them come late for treatment and this might lead to their deaths," he said.

To prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS cases the government will launch the first-ever National Condom Week 2007 month to encourage safe sex. (anw/ewd)

Government to sell stake in Jiwasraya

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post): The government through the State Ministry for State Enterprises, plans to sell off part of its stake in state-owned life insurance company PT Jiwasraya as part of the national privatization program.

"We will offer PT Jiwasraya to investors soon, but we need to restructure it first," said State Minister for State Enterprises Sofyan Djalil on Tuesday.

He said a number of investors, including Recapital Investment, had expressed an interest to buying a majority stake in the life insurance company.

Recapital Investment president director Rosan P. Roeslani had said his company planned to acquire a 75 percent stake in PT Jiwasraya.

Rosan, however, declined to say how much he would offer for the acquisition. "The important thing is that we will follow the government's rules and requirements," he said. (JP/ind)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

High Waves to Peak on December 8

Wednesday, 28 November, 2007 | 13:03 WIB,

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Jakartans are asked to be on the alert as high waves are still a threat for the capital city’s northern coast.

The Indonesian Naval Hydrology and Oceanography Agency has estimated that high waves will reach a peak this December 8.

“These could be worse than the current ones,” said Major Saroso, Head of the Oceanography Section at the Hydrology and Oceanography Agency, yesterday (27/11).

According to Saroso, on December 8, the high waves will reach their highest point of the whole year.

The reason is the date coincides with the dark of the moon, when as usual, in the cycle of Qomariyah moon system, tides will rise.

In addition, the high tides will culminate because in early December, it is predicated that Jakarta will have rain.

Strong winds from south of the equator at speeds of 12 knots will also pull sea water towards the land.

“This will enlarge the water flow,” said Saroso.

During peak of high tides, according to Suroso, the height of waves may reach 2.2 meters.

High tides reaching 1.2 meters have hit the Jakarta coast since last week.

The high tides breached the sea water dike in Muara Baru, Penjaringan, North Jakarta, on Monday evening (26/11).

In a short period of time, sea water flooded almost the entire north and west parts of Jakarta.

So that sea water flooding does not happen again, next year Jakarta Provincial Government will build a dike of one kilometer long in Muara Baru.

“We propose a budget of Rp15 billion,” said Public Works Service Head, Wisnu Subagyo.


Dutch govt offers 200 scholarships to Indonesian

Bandarlampung, Lampung (ANTARA News) - The Dutch Government through the Netherlands Education Support Office (NESO) Indonesia has provided 200 scholarships to Indonesian students for 2008.

Under the StuNed Program, Indonesian scholarship recipients would be able to attend master programs or short courses in the Netherlands` universities, Wiwin Erikawati, a staff member of the NESO office said here on Wednesday.

The scholarship program was part of the Dutch government`s assistance for the Indonesian development program through the improvement of Indonesia`s human resources.

The Netherlands offered around 150-200 scholarships to Indonesians annually, she said.

The registration period of the StuNed Program for 2008 would begin on January 1 and be closed on March 15, 2008, she said.

A total of 1,343 Indonesians have received scholarships from the Netherlands since 2000.

Indonesia`s Dayaindo to invest US$45 mln in power plant

Jakarta (ANTARA News/Asia Pulse) - PT Dayaindo Resources Internasional (JSX:KARK) said it will invest US$45 million in a steam powered electric generating project in 2008.

The power plant will support the company's new business in the coal mining sector, corporate secretary Haris Anwar said. Mr Anwar said other companies are also expected to use electricity generated by the power plant.

Transmigrants to be used for green work

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government plans to revive the transmigration program shut down 13 years ago so it can push forward with its current reforestation drive.

Forestry Minister Malam Sambat Kaban said Tuesday the ongoing forest rehabilitation and conservation efforts had met with a labor shortage and expected transmigration, organized in cooperation with the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry, to provide the human resources needed.

"Under the program, migrants and locals, will be able to benefit from the planting of commercial timber to rehabilitate land degraded by illegal logging, over-farming and other activities," Kaban told the opening of a joint meeting session with the Manpower Ministry.

The government launched its reforestation program early this year, with the aim to rehabilitate around 50 million hectares of damaged forest across Indonesia. It intends to plant the degraded land with fast growing tree species, like acacia, which can be harvested for timber after five to seven years.

The Manpower Ministry plans to send some 150,000 families to 436 locations in a number of forests in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua. The two-day meeting aims to ascertain the status of 39 locations from a list of areas targeted for replanting, inside conservation and productive forests.

Manpower Minister Erman Suparno said his ministry had initially listed the 39 locations as potential destinations on the basis of suggestions from local administrations, while further investigation revealed they were areas under the control of the Forestry Ministry.

"The joint meeting will discuss the land status in the 39 locations and whether to drop any of them from the destination list or to grant migrants land use concessions there, instead of land possession," he said.

He added that the status of the land should be clarified before sending any migrants to prevent possible conflicts like those which occurred previously in the transmigration program when overlapping land claims arose.

The transmigration program, which was initiated in 1950 under the Soekarno administration and escalated during Soeharto's New Order regime, aimed at producing an evenly distributed population.

Under the program, residents from densely populated provinces were relocated to sparsely settled areas. Land for farming, housing and several years of living expenses were provided by the government.

According to data from 2000, 59 percent of Indonesia's population (of around 200 million) live in Java.

The Manpower Ministry has set an annual target to send around 150,000 migrant families, mostly unemployed and poor, amid criticisms the scheme involves the mass movement of poverty from one region to another.

Minister Erman said cooperating with the Forestry Ministry would address the weaknesses in the previous resettlement programs owing to the lack of job opportunities in relocation areas.

Soeryo Adiwibowo, a researcher from the Department of Communication and Community Development at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture, said the resettlement plan was not likely to run well.

"Most migrants are used to rice farming in their hometowns and do not have skills to plant a forest," he told The Jakarta Post.

"There are a lot things to do before sending them to the forests and I think the government has failed to take these things into account. We can see from previous resettlements in which many were met with failure," he said. (lln)

Govt to build 3,000 houses for refugees

Yemris Fointuna, The Jakarta Post, Kupang

KUPANG: The Social Services Ministry will build some 3,000 houses, at a cost of Rp 45 billion, for East Timorese refugees who have lived in makeshift camps since in 1999.

Head of Kupang Social Agency, Frans Salem, said Tuesday the administration planned to relocate all refugees to proper residences in 2008, and would encourage them to be independent and lead normal lives.

"We also plan to help develop productive sources of income (for the refugees)," he said, adding the administration had distributed funds amounting to Rp 4 million per household to develop home enterprises.

According to Frans, there were 9,672 East Timorese households still living in poverty. About 6,000 of them have been relocated, while the rest still live in camps in Kupang and Belu regencies. --JP

Eco-tourism expands as Bali gets back to nature

Wasti Atmodjo, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar

The eco-tourism industry is on the steady increase in Bali, with many living around or near beaches, hilly areas, paddy fields or forests conserving and managing their land for tourists, coordinator of the Bali Ecotourism Study Group, AA Gde Raka Dalem, says.

Raka is working with a team from Udayana University, to collect data on eco-tourism in Bali. He said the growth was sparked by an aggressive movement to "get back to nature", including how to behave in an environmentally friendly manner.

"It's in line with the rising concern over various issues like gas emissions and global warming and has also been affected by the rising environmental awareness among visiting tourists," he said over the weekend.

Initially it was only tourists from developed countries who were interested in eco-tourism projects.

Based on his own observations, Raka said, an increasing number of tourists from Asia, had displayed a greater interest in eco-tourism.

Data from Culture and Tourism Ministry showed in 1998 the global tourism industry was dominated by Europeans with some 384 million (60.3 percent of the total) visits. European tourists also showed the highest growth rate at 8.1 percent per year between 1980 and 1998.

By the year 2010, the number of global tourist visits is projected to grow by 4.1 percent per annum to 1 billion.

At the national level, foreign tourist arrivals to Indonesia between 2005 and 2009 were projected to reach 10 million per annum, with spending amounting to $10 billion.

In 1996, Raka said, various representatives of the Indonesian tourist industry gathered in Bali to discuss the growing eco-tourism market. They later agreed to establish an Indonesian eco-tourism community.

The group set down eco-tourism's guiding principles, which are being continually developed and revised.

Initially, Raka Dalem said, the eco-tourism concept was translated to mean a tourism business which involved the participation of the community.

The understanding later evolved to incorporate three major pillars -- economy, community involvement and ecological conservation.

In Bali, he said, the concept would be easily implemented due to the existence of traditional wisdom, Tri Hita Karana, which dictates Balinese maintain harmony among Man, God and Nature.

Raka said Bali offers a complete set of eco-tourism projects.

"Including beaches, agricultural farms, forests and hilly areas," he said.

Sambangan area in Buleleng regency, for example, offers packages inviting travellers a glimpse of the agricultural lifestyle, forest walks and waterfall tours.

"Now a new attraction is offered, which we call spiritual tourism, meditation at the above-mentioned waterfall areas," he said.

Tenganan in Karangasem regency, Raka said, also offers unique culture and natural beauty. Locals are known for their skillfully hand-woven cloth.

Tenganan has also a collection of a wide variety of endangered plants and including kluwek, and various colorful butterflies.

"Packages featuring bird watching in a mangrove habitat in Nusa Dua and monkey watching in Alas Kedaton, Sangeh and Ubud, are some examples eco-tourism in Bali," Raka said.

The eco-tourism projects are managed by the government or tourism offices and also by the community itself in cooperation with investors. Jro Gede Karang T Suarsana, for example, is one investors who is focussing on the development of rural tourism in his own village, Tembuku, in Bangli regency.

Tembuku offers trekking through rice paddies, sweet potato and corn fields. In a number of areas tourists can see goats and cows grazing freely and in other locations they see irrigation facilities with clean water.

Upon entering the village, visitors may wish to meet the locals, learn traditional dance, music or how to make utensils for religious offerings.