Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners
Widodo has pledged to bring reform to Indonesia

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person
The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison   (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)
US President Barack Obama speaks as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)
Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Dutch cabinet agrees to fund research into violence in Indonesia

DutchNews, December 2, 2016

The Dutch government has agreed to finance a major investigation into the structural use of violence during the end of Dutch rule in its former colonies in Indonesia. 

Ministers agreed on Friday to fund the project after new research indicated that extreme violence, including torture and executions, were normal during the colonial wars, which ran from 1945 to 1949. 

In a statement, the cabinet said it realises that the research could ‘cause pain to soldiers who served in Indonesia’. 

However, it is important that the research takes into account the ‘difficult circumstances most veterans operated in, the violence on the Indonesia side…. and the responsibilities of the political, administrative and military leadership.’ 

During the battle for independence, some 100,000 Indonesians and almost 5,000 Dutch nationals died. According to the Telegraaf, the ruling VVD only agreed to back the research if violence by both the Dutch and the Indonesians came under the spotlight. 


‘Dutch soldiers left a trail of burning kampongs and piles of bodies throughout the Indonesian archipelago,’ Swiss-Dutch historian Rémy Limpach said in his report, which was published in September. 

Until now, the official line had been that there were only isolated incidents of excessive violence.

‘The Netherlands has always had difficulty with this dark side of its own history,’ Socialist MP Harry van Bommel told the Volkskrant on Friday. ‘But I think this research is the start of a road towards recognition. It is primarily about political responsibility.’ 

Bloody struggle 

The Dutch military interventions in Indonesia, or Dutch Indies as it was known then, followed the proclamation of the independent Republic of Indonesia in 1945 and lasted until the country formally gained independence in 1949 after a bloody struggle. 

At the end of 2011, the Netherlands finally formally apologised for the massacre of hundreds of men and boys in the Javanese village of Rawagede in 1947. 

The Netherlands has also been ordered in court to pay compensation in connection with a bloodbath in southern Sulawesi. 

The research will be carried out by three Dutch institutes who submitted a specific research proposal in 2012, but failed to secure funding, the Telegraaf said. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Indonesian woman flogged for close proximity with a man

Yahoo – AFP, November 28, 2016

A religious officer canes a woman for spending time in close proximity with a
man who is not her husband in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on November 28,
2016 (AFP Photo/Chaideer Mahyuddin)

Banda Aceh (Indonesia) (AFP) - An Indonesian woman screamed in agony Monday as she was caned in Aceh, the latest in a growing number of women to be publicly flogged for breaking the province's strict Islamic laws.

Aceh is the only province in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country that imposes sharia law. People can face floggings for a range of offences -- from gambling, to drinking alcohol, to gay sex.

In the latest caning, five people -- two women and three men -- were flogged in front of a cheering crowd at a mosque in the provincial capital Banda Aceh.

The 34-year-old woman who yelled in pain had been found guilty of spending time in close proximity with a man who was not her husband in contravention of Aceh's Islamic regulations.

She was lashed seven times with a rattan cane by a man wearing long robes and a hood, with just slits for the eyes.

"It hurts so bad," the woman said, raising her arms into the air, as she was beaten.

The 32-year-old man with whom she was caught was also flogged seven times.

Two university students, both 19, received 100 lashes of the cane after they confessed to sex outside marriage. They stared at the ground as they were flogged, showing little emotion.

A man found guilty of sex outside marriage was flogged 22 times although his partner, who is two-months pregnant, is still waiting to learn her fate after facing trial at an Islamic court.

However Aceh authorities typically spare pregnant women from canings.

Aceh, on Sumatra island, began implementing sharia law after being granted special autonomy in 2001, an attempt by the central government in Jakarta to quell a long-running separatist insurgency.

Islamic laws have been strengthened since the province struck a peace deal with Jakarta in 2005, and there has been a particular increase in the number of women being caned in recent times.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Indonesia says not to blame for missing WWII shipwrecks

Yahoo – AFP, Dessy Sagita, November 17, 2016

The Dutch and Indonesian naval commanders laid a wreath during a 2014 ceremony
 to commemorate the 1150 sailors who died in the Battle of the Java Sea in
1942 (AFP Photo)

Jakarta (AFP) - Indonesia refused to take the blame Thursday for the disappearance of at least six British and Dutch World War II shipwrecks -- considered war graves -- that investigators believe could have been salvaged for scrap.

Former colonial ruler The Netherlands has launched a probe into how three Dutch navy ships seemingly vanished from the bed of the Java Sea, while Britain has urged Indonesia to investigate what has happened to three of its vessels.

It is believed the military wrecks -- lost in 1942 during the Battle of the Java Sea -- were removed by illegal scavengers looking for scrap metal, an effort that could have taken years.

More than 900 Dutch and 250 Indo-Dutch sailors died during the battle in which the Allied navies suffered a disastrous defeat by the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Indonesian authorities have sought to distance themselves from the mystery, saying they could not be expected to protect the sites without assistance.

"The Dutch government cannot blame the Indonesian government because they never asked us to protect those ships," said Bambang Budi Utomo, head of the National Archeological Centre under the Ministry of Education and Culture.

"As there was no agreement or announcement, when the ships go missing, it is not our responsibility."

Amateur divers in 2002 discovered the long-lost wrecks of three Dutch ships, 60 years after they sank while in action against Japanese forces.

But an international expedition that sailed to the wreck site ahead of next year's 75th anniversary of the battle was shocked to discover the wrecks had vanished.

Britain expressed its distress at the disappearance of its own warships and asked Indonesia to "take appropriate action" to protect the sites from further disturbance.

But Utomo said Indonesia did not have the resources to maintain a constant patrol over its vast archipelago, a hotspot for other criminal enterprises like illegal fishing and people smuggling.

Row over naval war graves (AFP Photo)

'Looters are fearless'

Treasure hunters and scrap collectors are lured to Indonesia's relic-rich seas, experts say, where countless vessels have gone to a watery grave over centuries of trade, colonial conquest and war.

"Looting is really huge, not only on these World War II shipwrecks, but also on ancient shipwrecks," said Veronique Degroot, a Jakarta-based archaeologist.

The prize find for scavengers targeting the warships would be the huge bronze propellers used to power these juggernauts -- a far more lucrative find than iron or other scrap, according to Utomo.

"The looting must have been going on for years for such a huge ship to disappear," he said.

"Looters are fearless," he added, saying that divers risked death and injury sucking air through tubes to retrieve valuable scrap and antiquities, taking the wreck apart piece by piece.

While some larger, commercial operations use cranes and platforms to wrench heavy loads from the seabed, smaller ventures keep a low profile as they ship metal to scrapyards along Indonesia's thousands of kilometres of coastline.

Australia has been working closely with Indonesia to protect HMAS Perth -- which sunk off Java in World War II, claiming hundreds of lives -- after discovering in 2013 that the warship was being plundered for brass.

A spokesman for the Indonesian navy said the missing ships should not have been disturbed as they were war graves.

"However, the Indonesian navy cannot monitor all areas all the time," spokesman Gig Jonias Mozes Sipasulta told AFP.

"If they ask why the ships are missing, I'm going to ask them back, why didn't they guard the ships? They should have been more proactive."

Naval warships and war graves are protected under international law that makes the desecration of such shipwrecks illegal.

The HNLMS Kortenaer in the 1930s

Related Articles:

Monday, November 14, 2016

A secret beauty pageant for Indonesia's transgender women

Yahoo – AFP, November 11, 2016

Miss Transgender Indonesia 2016 Qie Nabh Tappii (C) from Jakarta, and runners
 up 1 and 2 Sefty Castanyo (L) and Amanda Sandova (R) pose for photographers
during the 2016 Miss Queen contest crowning on November 11, 2016 (AFP
Photo/Bay Ismoyo)

Crowds cheered Friday night as a group of Indonesian transgender women showed off glittering gowns in a beauty pageant held almost entirely in secret to avoid unwanted attention from hardliners in the Muslim-majority nation.

Twenty-eight-year-old Pie Nabh Tappii won the title of Miss Transgender Indonesia, facing off competition from 18 other contestants.

"I am happy, but I want to cry as well... I didn't expect this," Tappii told AFP after being crowned.

In addition to the crown, Tappii's prizes included 10 million rupiah ($745) and a two-metre (six and a half-foot) high trophy.

The pageant in Jakarta was kept mostly under wraps, with just a handful of media invited as organisers warned cheering supporters not to share images of the event on social media as it unfolded, fearing the wrath of religious radicals.

Indonesian transgenders paraded in colorful, glittering evening gowns on 
November 11 in a secret beauty pageant that hoped to avoid unwanted attention 
from hardliners in the Muslim-majority nation (AFP Photo/Bay Ismoyo)

Hardliners in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country have grown increasingly bold in recent years.

They have halted a festival focusing on women's issues and have targeted the Christian minority, seeking to close down churches and stop their community work.

The Indonesian constitution officially recognises six different religions and most of its 255 million inhabitants practise a moderate form of Islam.

But critics say the influence of fringe hardline groups, and the authorities' unwillingness to tackle them for fear of being labelled anti-Islamic, has fuelled a dangerous increase in intolerance, including against the transgender community.

The parade comes just a week after tens of thousands of Muslims protested in Jakarta against the city's Christian governor, angered by allegations he insulted Islam.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Verdict for Leuser Ecosystem to Fall on Nov. 8

Jakarta Globe, Ratri M. Siniwi, November 04, 2016

The Mount Leuser National Park. (Photo courtesy of World Conservation Society)

Jakarta. The fate of the Leuser Ecosystem will be revealed on Tuesday (08/11) with judges set to deliver their verdict in a case launched by Aceh citizens.

The lawsuit was filed on Jan. 21 by Acehnese community leaders against the Minister of Home Affairs, the Aceh Governor and the Aceh local government for excluding the Leuser Ecosystem from the Aceh Spatial Plan 2013-2033.

By excluding the Leuser Ecosystem, the Aceh local government will open arms to more mining, logging and palm oil plantations, dismissing the ecosystem’s National Strategic Area status and its Unesco World Heritage Site status for Mount Leuser National Park.

“The Leuser Ecosystem is a legacy from my parents, and if I don’t take care of it, it’s like I’m betraying my next generation,” Aman Jarum, a plaintiff in the suit and a member of the Aceh Citizen Lawsuit Movement (GeRAM), said on Thursday (03/11).

As the ecosystem is the province’s water catchment area, it plays an essential role as the water source for millions of people in Sumatra. Due to the hard impacts of climate change, losing water source would mean a gamble on the future of livelihoods around the world.

“Climate change is going to turn water into gold; [water is] going to be more valuable,” said former environment minister Emil Salam.

As the expert witness for GeRAM, he said in court that destroying the area will also mean destroying the homes of Sumatra’s endemic wildlife.

“Leuser is one of the 25 ecosystems in the world with a unique biodiversity and serves as home for 7,500 Sumatran orangutans, 700 Sumatran elephants and 250 Sumatran tigers,” said Emil.

According to Friends of the Earth Indonesia (WALHI), there are 53 companies benefiting from the Leuser Ecosystem.

Most are palm oil plantations, followed by timber, and pulp and paper companies.

“We are not just putting Leuser at stake, but also other ecosystems in Indonesia — what would happen to them?” the former minister stated.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Vatican to open its doors to 1,000 prisoners

Yahoo – AFP, 3 November 2016

One thousand prisoners will attend a mass lead by Pope Francis at the Vatican

One thousand prisoners -- including some lifers -- will take part in a special event at the Vatican this weekend, along with 3,000 family members, prison staff and volunteers.

The prisoners from 12 countries will have the opportunity on Saturday to confess and walk through the "Holy Door" at Saint Peter's Basilica, a Jubilee tradition by which Catholics can ask forgiveness for their sins.

On Sunday, they will attend a mass lead by Pope Francis. The Argentine pontiff regularly meets prisoners -- both in Italy and on his trips abroad -- but this is the first time so many inmates will be received at the Vatican.

The convicts are expected to come from Britain, Italy, Latvia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, the US, South Africa, Sweden and Portugal.

While some are on probation, others are currently under house arrest or are serving life sentences and will be escorted by security details, the Vatican said.

At the mass, they will hear the stories of four people -- including one inmate who converted and will speak alongside their victim, the brother of someone who was murdered and had to learn forgiveness, and a prison guard.

The service will be accompanied by the dulcet tones of a choir of prisoners from Bologna, while the communion wafers will be special ones made by detainees in a lockup in Milan.

Next weekend the pope will hold a similar event for the "socially marginalised" and homeless. It will be the last before the Jubilee winds up. "Holy Doors" around the world close on November 13 and the pontiff will officially declare the year over on November 20.

Related Article:

Viral Hit Sensation "Pen-Pinapple-Apple-Pen" Sets Guinness World Record

Jakarta Globe, November 03, 2016

A still from "Pen-Apple-Pineapple-Pen" Music Video by Pikotaro. (Photo
courtesy of Youtube)

Jakarta. Viral music video “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen” by Japanese comedian Pikotaro has made it to Guinness World Records as the shortest song ever to hit the Billboard Hot 100.

The original music video, which features the 45-second hit sensation, was first released at the end of August earlier this year, and has been viewed more than 75 million times on Youtube. Piko Taro is the alter-ego of the Japanese comedian and DJ Daimaou Kosaka. In the video he dresses in animal-print shirt and trousers, which has now become his trademark, and happily dances to the catchy tunes of his song.

“PPAP” became a viral hit soon after Justin Bieber shared the video with his 89 million Twitter followers, saying it was “his favorite video on the internet.”

The previous record for shortest song to make it to the Billboard Hot 100 was held by US group the Womenfolk, with their 62 second single “Little Boxes.”

Following the success of “PPAP,” Piko-Taro released a longer version this past week. The 2 minutes and 41 seconds video has been viewed more than 11 million times.

Pikotaro is a pseudonym for Kazuhito Kosaka, who also goes by Daimaou Kosaka. He is the first Japanese musician to hit the Billboard chart since 1990. The Daily Mail reported that Piko-Taro announced a contract-signing with record labels such as Sony, CNR Music and Times Records for a worldwide distribution of “PPAP.”

Sunday, October 30, 2016

State Secretariat Receives Copy of Missing Munir Murder Files From Ex-Minister

Jakarta Globe, Novi Setuningsih, October 27, 2016

Presidential spokesman Johan Budi said on Thursday (27/10) that President
Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo has received a copy of missing investigation files on the
murder of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib from former minister Sudi
Silalahi. (JG Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

Jakarta. Presidential spokesman Johan Budi said on Thursday (27/10) that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has received a copy of missing investigation files on the murder of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib from former minister Sudi Silalahi.

Sudi, who was former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's cabinet secretary, handed over the copy at the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta on Wednesday afternoon, Johan told the reporters.

"Now the documents are in the hands of the State Secretariat. They will be copied for the Attorney General's Office," he said.

The files — which were submitted to Yudhoyono by an independent fact-finding team in 2005 — were found to be missing earlier this month after the Central Information Commission ordered the State Secretariat to make the documents public in response to a lawsuit filed by the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras).

The State Secretariat claimed the files were not stored at its headquarters, prompting allegations that they were deliberately misplaced when Yudhoyono was still in office.

The former president denied the allegations, saying he is more than willing to help President Jokowi solve the murder case by providing copies of the documents.

Earlier, Chief Security Minister Wiranto said the government should study the documents before taking further steps on the case, including whether or not to continue the investigation.

Activists have long demanded that the government find Munir's real killer. The activist was poisoned with arsenic during a brief layover in Singapore in 2004, before boarding a flight to Amsterdam.

Former pilot Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto was sentenced to 14 years in prison for premeditated murder. However, the masterminds behind Munir's murder remain unknown, while the investigation results have never been disclosed to the public.

Former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono addressing the media at his
 house in Cikeas, Bogor district, West Java, on on Tuesday (25/10). (Antara Photo/
Yulius Satria Wijaya)

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Denmark's feminist mosque founder challenges norms

Yahoo – AFP, Sören Billing, October 26, 2016

Sherin Khankan is one of five female imams-in- training at the Mariam
Mosque in Copenhagen (AFP Photo/Betina Garcia)

Copenhagen (AFP) - The founder of Scandinavia's first female-led mosque is a soft-spoken "imama" who has riled conservatives with her views on marriage but others say her project is not progressive enough.

The Mariam Mosque opened in March and held its first Friday prayer in August, when Danish-born imam Saliha Marie Fetteh spoke to around 60 women -- just over half of them Muslim -- about female scholars in Islam and women's rights.

"It was fantastic and very moving," said Ozlem Cekic, a Turkey-born Danish commentator and former lawmaker, who attended the sermon.

"I believe it will strengthen Islam."

Christian and Jewish community leaders also attended the prayer.

"Talking about women's rights is not a Western phenomenon, it's an Islamic ideal," Sherin Khankan -- one of the five female imams-in-training -- told AFP in a sparsely furnished room where the weekly prayers are held.

Arabic calligraphy and Islamic literature adorn its white walls, but the sounds of a bustling Copenhagen street permeate into the apartment.

An "anonymous donor" is paying the lease of the mosque, located in a building in an area that is one of the most expensive in Copenhagen.

The 42-year-old mother of four was born in Denmark. She describes her father, a Syrian political refugee who married a Finnish woman, as "a feminist icon".

Her Christian mother would fast during Ramadan with the rest of the family, while Muslim family members would join her in church on special occasions.

Inter-faith dialogue has always been vital to Khankan who earlier this year publicly met with French female rabbi Delphine Horvilleur in Copenhagen.

In 2001 she founded "Critical Muslims", a group promoting "a democratic and pluralistic approach to Islam."

One month later, the 9/11 attacks in New York had a dramatic impact on how Muslims were viewed around the world, and she found herself spending more time defending Islam.

The role of Islam in Denmark came under renewed focus last year after a Danish-Palestinian gunman killed a filmmaker and a Jewish security guard in twin attacks in Copenhagen.

Changing power balance

Not everyone is a fan. Khankan said she had received threats from right-wing extremists on social media.

Public reaction from conservative Muslims has been muted, possibly because of the fear of wading into Denmark's high-pitched debate on Muslim immigration, which has often dominated political debate over the past 15 years.

"When you are changing structures in religious institutions, you are changing the power balance. You are challenging men's monopoly," Khankan said.

"Of course you will meet resistance, that's obvious and we were aware of that. But I think the opposition we have met has been quite moderate," she added.

Representatives from some of Copenhagen's major mosques did not respond to requests for comment.

After the opening of the Mariam Mosque, Waseem Hussein, an imam from one of the city's biggest mosques, suggested there was no need for it.

"Should we also make a mosque only for men? Then there would certainly be an outcry among the Danish population," he told the Politiken daily.

"According to the Koran, men and women are equal spiritual partners," said Khankan, wearing a long, white skirt and a long-sleeved top but no veil, which she said she only wears while praying.

"We are re-reading the Koran according to our times and our society," she added.

The mosque is inspired by Sufism, a mystic form of Islam, and mostly caters to Sunni Muslims, although "everyone is welcome".

Female imams have existed in China since the 19th century, and are currently active in a handful of countries including Germany, Belgium, Canada and the United States, where The Women's Mosque of America opened in Los Angeles last year.

Denmark is home to around 284,000 Muslims, according to an estimate by Brian Arly Jacobsen, an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen specialising in religion.

Islamic feminism

Islamic feminism is at the heart of the Copenhagen project, and a concrete example of that was the mosque's marriage contract, Khankan said.

The marriage agreement states that women have the right to divorce, polygamy is prohibited, men and women have equal rights to their children in case of a divorce, and that the marriage is annulled in the event of mental or physical violence.

Five couples have been married at the mosque, of which two were inter-faith unions. Another three ceremonies are in the pipeline.

Khankan admits that she had to compromise on some of her initial plans to avoid "burning bridges" with the rest of the Muslim community.

Both men and women are allowed to take part in the mosque's activities, but Friday prayers have been reserved for women, as having a mixed audience would have been more controversial.

"Burning bridges" would only "create chaos," she said.

Syria-born Danish lawmaker Naser Khader told Danish media that in a country like Denmark, with its high level of gender equality, barring women from preaching to a mixed crowd was simply not "good enough".

But Khankan said the mosque will appeal to "a new generation of young Muslims who feel homeless and who do not feel at home in the existing traditional mosque communities."

Related Article:

Yassmine el Ksaihi poses in the prayer hall of the Polder Mosque in Amsterdam, 
Netherlands, Tuesday, March 2, 2010. Uniquely in the Netherlands, men and women
 pray together in her mosque, albeit segregated, with the women praying in the back
 of the prayer hall. Devotions and sermons are conducted mostly in Dutch rather 
than Arabic. And non-Muslims are welcome. Across Europe Muslims are seeking a f
ormula that lets them be an inseparable part of their country while maintaining their 
loyalty to their faith and origin. (AP Photo/ Evert Elzinga)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Missing Munir Murder Case Files Have Become Political Issue: Yudhoyono

Jakarta Globe, Edo Karensa & Carlos KY Paath, October 25, 2016

Former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono addressing the media at his
 house in Cikeas, Bogor district, West Java, on on Tuesday (25/10). (Antara Photo/
Yulius Satria Wijaya)

Jakarta. Former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the missing files from the investigation into the murder of prominent human rights activist Munir Said Thalib has turned into political issue against him, but that he will take responsibility for the matter.

Yudhoyono, who served as president from 2004 to 2014, was pressured to take responsibility for the files, which are believed to have been lost during his last year in office.

Munir died on board a Garuda Indonesia flight to Amsterdam in September 2004, nearly a month before Yudhoyono was inaugurated as president.

"The legal issue has turned into politics. But I am no newbie to politics in this country; this is something normal," Yudhoyono said during a press conference at his residence in Cikeas, Bogor district, West Java, on Tuesday (25/10).

"My responsibility is to provide an explanation in a proper and relevant context to a matter that has captured the public attention, in particular human rights activists, who have certain interests in the Munir case," Yudhoyono said.

The former president, who is also leader of the Democratic Party, said he was responsible for follow-ups on the murder investigation, which was conducted by the National Police, with the assistance of an independent fact-finding team.

Sudi Silalahi, a former cabinet secretary during the Yudhoyono era, said in the press conference that the previous administration had done everything possible to support the investigation, including to allow the National Police's criminal investigative unit (Bareskrim) to probe any government officials in the country and abroad.

He added that Yudhoyono never, at any point, ordered the investigation or law enforcement efforts regarding the murder case to be halted.

"In response to the fact-finding team's recommendations that indicated possible involvement by [former intelligence chief] A.M. Hendropriyono, the questioning of witnesses and convicts revealed no links to him," Sudi said.

Although the investigation failed to provide satisfying results, Sudi said the probe had been conducted properly and in accordance with the law and that Yudhoyono had no authority at the time to intervene.

Also present at the press conference was former top spook Syamsir Siregar and former leader of the fact-finding team Marsudi Hanafi.

In response to Yudhoyono's statement, Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) coordinator Haris Azhar deplored the fact that this explanation had not been given to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo during the transition in October 2014.

"Sudi Silalahi blamed legal issues as the reason for the Munir murder case not having been finalized yet. The statement is a strong signal that the current administration should not stand idle to let the case be forgotten and not to do something with it," Haris said in a statement.

There are strong indications of the possible involvement of the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), which was headed by Hendropriyono at the time, Haris said.

"To open the fact-finding team's files on the Munir murder case will be a large and serious task. But this is important to prove that the state is making progress on law enforcement and human rights in Indonesia," Haris added.

He expressed appreciation for Yudhoyono clearly stating that the case files are not missing, as dossiers had also been submitted to national archives.

Related Article:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

National Paralympics Week Kicks Off in Bandung

Jakarta Globe, Amal Ganesha, October 17, 2016

The official opening ceremony of the 15th National Paralympics Week
 (Peparnas XV) took place in Bandung, West Java, on Saturday (15/10)
 (Photo courtesy of Sports Ministry)

Jakarta. The official opening ceremony of the 15th National Paralympics Week, or Peparnas XV, took place in Bandung, West Java, on Saturday (15/10).

The event is a complementary part of the 19th National Sports Week (PON XIX), which was hosted by the city last month.

"We treat athletes with disabilities equally — they also promoted Indonesia during the Rio 2016 Paralympics and brought home a bronze medal," Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi said during the opening ceremony at Bandung's Siliwangi Stadium.

"The government provides incentives and bonuses to both Paralympic and Olympic athletes," he added.

West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan, as chairman of Peparnas, wants to ensure the legacy of the national sporting event during his leadership.

"We expect this year's Peparnas to be the best event of its kind," he said, as quoted on the Sports Ministry's official website.

The event will see competitions in 13 sport disciplines, with 2,000 athletes from 32 provinces competing for 2,737 medals. The closing ceremony is scheduled for Oct. 24.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Jokowi Allows Legal Process on Missing Documents of Munir’s Case

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has allowed a legal process to be conducted
against the missing investigation documents related to the murder of prominent
human rights defender Munir Said Thalib. (Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

Jakarta. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has allowed a legal process to be conducted against the missing investigation documents related to the murder of prominent human rights defender Munir Said Thalib.

The missing documents had been submitted to former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the State Palace in 2005.

“If there is a new novum [existing evidence before a trial process], conduct the legal process,” Jokowi said at Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, Thursday (13/10).

The president also ordered a search for the missing documents submitted by the original fact-finding team on Munir’s case.

“I have ordered the Attorney General [HM Prasetyo] to find and locate the results of the fact-finding team, as it is not available at the State Secretary Ministry,” Jokowi added.

Previously, the coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) Haris Azhar urged the government to investigate the whereabouts of the documents.

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Activists Don Animal Costumes to Protest Jatinegara Wildlife Market

Jakarta Globe, Ratri M. Siniwi, October 14, 2016

Activists from Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group wore animal costumes
 to protest at the Jakarta City Hall on Thursday (13/10), calling on Jakarta
Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama to shut down the Jatinegara wildlife
market in the eastern part of the capital. (Photo courtesy of Scorpion
Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group)

Jakarta. Activists from Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group, a local animal welfare organization, wore animal costumes to protest at the Jakarta City Hall on Thursday (13/10), calling on governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama to shut down the Jatinegara wildlife market in the eastern part of the capital.

"Every day, we see acts of cruelty against animals, they are locked up in small cages without water. Some of them are protected species," the group's senior investigator, Marison Guciano, told

According to Scorpion's investigation from September, approximately 2,300 illegally trafficked animals were available for sale at the Jatinegara market, 2,000 of them birds. The rest were long-tailed macaques, civets, turtles and snakes.

The governor said he was unaware of the report.

"I have not received the report, but [illegal wildlife trade] is certainly prohibited," Ahok told

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pope opens private summer apartments to tourists

Yahoo – AFP, October 14, 2016

The papal rooms at Castel Gandolfo, a former summer favourite with popes
 hoping to escape the heat of the capital, have been turned into a museum which
will be officially inaugurated on October 21, 2016 (AFP Photo/Vincenzo Pinto)

Vatican City (AFP) - Who needs a summer palace? Not Pope Francis, who has renounced the delights of Castel Gandolfo outside Rome and opened his private apartments to tourists, the Vatican said Friday.

The Argentine has refused the traditional trappings of the papacy from the start, declining to move into the sumptuous papal apartment in the Vatican and plumping instead to live in a hotel inside the tiny city state.

His rooms at Castel Gandolfo, a former summer favourite with popes hoping to escape the heat of the capital, have been turned into a museum which will be officially inaugurated on October 21.

Francis has visited the palace some 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Rome only a couple of times since his election in 2013, and has never spent the night there.

His predecessors John Paul II (1978-2005) and Benedict (2005-2013) often stayed at the site, which has been owned by the Holy See since 1596 and has expanded over the centuries to now sprawl over 55 hectares (135 acres).

Francis opened the estate's gardens to the public in 2014, with tours organised for groups and by reservation only.

Since last year, tourists have also been able to climb aboard a special white train for an express trip to the lavish estate and a tour of the papal villa, including past the pope's organic farm, which houses cows, free-range hens, cockerels and pontifical bees.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Seven Nobel Laureates to Visit Indonesia in 2017

Jakarta Globe, Edo Karensa, October 12, 2016

Vice President Jusuf Kalla, second from left, along with International Peace
 Foundation chairman Uwe Morawetz, third from left, in Jakarta on Wednesday
(12/10). (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)

Jakarta. Seven Nobel laureates, who have been recognized for their contributions in the fields of chemistry, physics, literature, peace and medicine, are scheduled to visit Indonesia between January and March next year for a series of events.

The theme of the "Bridges – Dialogues Towards a Culture of Peace" event series, initiated by the Vienna-based International Peace Foundation, will be "building a culture of peace and development in a globalized world."

Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who is honorary chairman of the event in Indonesia, said it will set a good example for dialogue between East and West.

"The event is called 'dialogues,' so it is not like a lecture. We will hear the perspectives of the Nobel laureates," Kalla told reporters during a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday (12/10).

International Peace Foundation founding chairman Uwe Morawetz, said the aim of the events is to facilitate and strengthen dialogue and communication between societies in Southeast Asia with their multiple cultures and religions to promote mutual understanding and trust.

"The events will build bridges between Nobel laureates, local universities and other institutions in Southeast Asia to establish long-term relationships, which may result in common research in the future," Morawetz said.

The topics will cover a wide range of issues in politics, economics, science, culture and the media, which highlights the challenges and impact of both globalism and regionalism.

Among the speakers who will visit Indonesia are economics laureate professor Eric S. Maskin, European Commission president Jose Manuel Baroso, physics laureate professor Sheldon L. Glashow, medicine laureate Sir Richard J. Roberts, economics laureate Robert F. Engle III, physics laureate Jerome I. Friedman and chemistry laureate Peter Agre.

The series will be staged in cooperation with the University of Indonesia, the Jakarta State University, Atma Jaya Catholic University, Binus School Simprug, Binus University, Ipeka Integrated School and Prasetya Mulia University in the greater Jakarta area; the Bandung Institute of Technology and Airlangga University in Bandung, West Java; Ubaya University in Surabaya, East Java; and Udayana University in Bali.

Members of the general public will be able to attend the events free of charge.