Determined to keep abreast of affairs throughout the country, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyon has installed a 'situation room' at the Presidential Palace. (Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)

“ … 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.)
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Monday, April 14, 2014

China’s EximBank funds 46 ASEAN infra projects

The Brics Post, April 13, 2014

With preferential loans from China, 24 highways, three railways, one port,
 three airports and nine bridges have been built, rebuilt or renovated in
 ASEAN countries, says EximBank, which plays a critical role in the growth
of China’s external trade [AP]

The Export-Import Bank of China (EximBank), one of the world’s leading lenders, has provided credit support to 46 transport infrastructure projects in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries by early 2014, according to official Chinese data.

With preferential loans from China, 24 highways, three railways, one port, three airports and nine bridges have been built, rebuilt or renovated in ASEAN countries, says EximBank, which plays a critical role in the growth of China’s external trade.

In Cambodia where most places were not connected by railways, the bank’s lending has facilitated the country to put in place its national rail system, building railways of about 2,173 kilometers.

The Second Penang Bridge in Malaysia, the longest sea-crossing bridge in Southeast Asia, and the Luang Prabang Airport in Laos have also been provided credit by the EximBank.

The new Chinese leadership of President Xi Jinping has placed great emphasis on deepening economic links between China and ASEAN. The two sides are also trying to upgrade the existing China-ASEAN Free Trade Area agreement.

Beijing’s increased attention to the neighborhood is in the backdrop of the much-hyped Asia Pivot by the US, a policy aimed at re-invigorating American military and economic influence in the fast-growing region.

Meanwhile, the EximBank, which is also the biggest lender to Africa, will account for almost 80 per cent of a $1 trillion financing for the continent announced by the Chinese government up till 2025.

TBP and Agencies

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Space tech provides Africa's first Islamic insurance for herders

Sapa-AFP, 01 april, 2014

Image by: ©Vladimir Wrangel/shutterstock.com

The son of a camel herder, Hassan Bashir knows how tough traditional life in Kenya's arid north is, where pastoralists rely on livestock herds surviving boom and bust cycles of drought.

But Bashir is also an astute entrepreneur, developing Africa's first livestock insurance scheme to make payouts compliant with Islamic law, by bringing together Muslim scholars and number-crunching agricultural experts using NASA weather satellites.

"I've come from the community, and I understand its needs," said Bashir, a sharp-suited businessman respectfully greeting elders dressed in traditional flowing robes in his hometown of Wajir, where goats and donkeys wander the dusty streets.

Bashir, 48, set up Takaful Insurance of Africa three years ago, which unlike ordinary insurance schemes prohibited by Islam, takes only a management fee from clients.

"It is a fair and ethical way to protect pastoralist's livestock assets from natural hazards," said Bashir, whose 80-year old father was one of the first to receive a payout this week for his herd of 50 cows.

Payments are assessed not according to deaths of individual animals as it would be impossible to provide proof, but according to an index drawn up by experts at the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), using satellites to measure vegetation coverage and thus the severity of drought.

The company is named after the Islamic concept of takaful, in which risks are shared among the community, rather than insurance where policy holders effectively gamble risks against the company.

Any surplus money after payments are made is distributed equally to remaining policy holders.

"It is a cooperative welfare basket for the community," Bashir added, who was inspired to switch from regular insurance broking to the Islamic system after "hot discussions" with his family who refused his "unethical" money.

"I wanted to do something to develop the people here," he said.

In 2011, fierce drought here in northeastern Kenya decimated herds with a devastating impact, and spiralled into famine in nearby war-torn Somalia.

Like elsewhere in the Horn of Africa, vast numbers of livestock are kept as a form of savings account. But these living investments face natural hazards.

"The animals are our lives," said 65-year old Abdi Aden Bulle, who lost some 40 of his 50 cows, and eight of his 10 camels in the 2011 drought, a key driver in his decision to join the scheme.

"We sell the animals to get food, to pay school fees, pay medical expenses."

Takaful made the first payouts this week in Wajir to 100 policyholders.

On the bottom end, one herder who had insured three goats and paid a premium of $5 six months ago, received a payout of $7.

At the higher end, a herder who paid some $940 to insure 50 cows received $720 in recompense, less than what he put in due to assessments of the severity of the drought suffered in that area.

Rains were several weeks late this year.

"It's been very, very dry," said herder Khalif Mohammed, who lost three of his 15 goats this year.

Once cash payouts are made, herders say they will use it to restock animals, pay school fees or daily domestic needs.

Animals hold enormous cultural and emotional value and underpin society here.

"People can be made almost crazy when they lose animals in the drought, they would be seen talking to themselves," said Wajir governor Ahmed Abdullahi.

But the economic potential is also huge: here in Wajir country, a scrubland region where most live in traditional huts, government estimates value livestock at some $550 million (400 million euros).

Across Kenya, the pastoral livestock sector is valued at around $5 billion (3.5 billion euros).

Organisers -- backed by some $6 million (4.5 million euros) from Australia, Britain and the European Commission -- hope it can strengthen the ability of fragile communities across the region to cope during droughts, and reduce reliance on food aid.

"It is an innovative product with the possibility to replicate it elsewhere in Kenya and other nations," Dominique Davoux from the European Commission said.

With few of the semi-nomadic people holding bank accounts, insurance premiums are even payable via mobile telephone money transfers using text messages.

Across the Horn of Africa, over 70 million people live in pastoralist areas, regional governments estimate, supplying some 90 percent of all meat.

The ILRI-designed system is already being taken up by insurers in other northern Kenyan regions and southern Ethiopia, totalling some 4,000 policyholders, with numbers growing.

Takaful is eyeing up possibilities in Somalia, especially the more stable self-declared Somaliland in the north.

But the scheme faces challenges ahead, as when drought hits, all members are paid.

The scheme will need to spread the risk by rolling it out to different areas to give it the size and geographical diversity needed "to create a stable insurance scheme", Bashir said.

Related Article:


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Agriculture Minister Suswono Questioned By KPK Over Forestry Graft

Jakarta Globe, Mar 27, 2014

Minister of Agriculture Suswono seen here at the Corruption Eradication
 Commission headquarters in South Jakarta on Nov. 30, 2013. (JG
Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

Jakarta. Investigators with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) took the unusual step of traveling to Central Java on Wednesday to speak with Minister of Agriculture Suswono in order to “speed up” the investigation into a 2007 procurement of radio communication equipment for forestry rangers.

“Suswono was questioned as a witness relating to his time as a lawmaker ‘back then’,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi said.

The agriculture minister, the Prosperous Justice Party’s most senior member of the Democratic Party-led governing coalition, was asked to attend questioning at the KPK’s Jalan Rasuna Said headquarters on Thursday. Suswono declined, saying he had ministerial commitments to fulfill in Central Java. Suswono was in Tegal, on the northern coast of Central Java — which happens to be his place of birth — to launch an export cooperative set up by local jasmine farmers on Wednesday.

Investigators decided that if Suswono would not come to them, they would go to Suswono. He was questioned by the KPK at a Tegal police office on Wednesday.

“I was not informed by the investigators about the questions, whether it’s related to money flow from [Anggoro Widjojo], I don’t know,” Johan said.

The questioning was not related to Suswono’s tenure at the ministry — he has already had to answer plenty of questions during his stint at agriculture. ”Back then” refers to 2007, when Suswono served as the deputy chairman of House of Representatives (DPR) Commission IV, which overseas agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

The case surrounding the radio equipment has been a focus for the KPK since Anggoro Widjojo, the director and owner of Masaro Radiokom, was apprehended in Shenzhen, China, and extradited to Indonesia. He arrived at the KPK in January.

Anggoro has been named a suspect for bribing lawmakers to renew his company’s contract to provide radio equipment to the country’s forest rangers in 2007.  DPR Commission IV, chaired by Yusuf Erwin Faishal, issued its letter of approval asking the Ministry of Forestry to rubber stamp the radio procurement, which was worth Rp 180 billion ($15.7 million).

“It’s not true that I ever received money from Anggoro Widjojo,” Suswono told news portal Tempo.co in January.

An Indonesian newspaper reported on Thursday, however, that Suswono had changed his mind about whether he had accepted money from Anggoro — but said, perhaps crucially, that Suswono claimed to have returned the money to the KPK. The Jakarta Globe could not confirm the validity of this report with Suswono or the KPK by deadline.

Suswono has been questioned by the KPK over similar issues in the past. He denied all charges against him during the beef import corruption scandal, which took out the chairman of his party, Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq. Suswono has also been questioned by the KPK for taking Rp 300 million in bribes while on Commission IV to push through a permit for the construction of a port on protected land in Tanjung Api-Api, Banyuasin District, South Sumatra. Suswono admitted to taking the money, but handed it over to KPK investigators and was not liable to any charges.

Article 12 of the 1999 Anti-Corruption Law includes an amnesty provision. Anyone in a position of accountability who receives a bribe, or a titipan (deposit), may hand over the money to the KPK within 30 days. Once that period has expired, however, corruption charges are applicable.

There is no indication that Suswono is guilty of wrongdoing in the Masaro Radiokom case. He has been questioned only as a witness, and has not been named a suspect.

Related Article:


Sunday, March 23, 2014

NZ signs historic currency deal with China

The New Zealand Herald, Adam Bennett, Tuesday Mar 18, 2014

Photo / New Zealand Herald
New Zealand's economic ties with China have been strengthened with a deal to allow direct trading of the New Zealand dollar against the Chinese currency the renminbi or yuan.

The deal, struck relatively swiftly negotiations began in April last year, will reduce costs for exporters and importers by removing the necessity for transactions to be settled in two foreign exchange trades via a third currency - usually the US dollar.

Prime Minister John Key and China's Premier Li Keqiang announced the agreement after meeting at the Great Hall of the People during Key's first day of an official visit to China this evening.

"It's great to have been in Beijing to witness the conclusion of negotiations to launch direct trading of the New Zealand and Chinese currencies, which I kicked off during talks with President Xi on the margins of the Bo'ao Forum in April 2013", Key said.

"I am delighted that the project has been brought to a successful conclusion so quickly.

It highlights the strong relationship and goodwill between New Zealand and China."

Key said the agreement "will make doing business with China easier by reducing the costs of converting between the two currencies, and will stimulate trade and investment".

"Direct trading will also increase the integration between the New Zealand and Chinese financial systems, and deepen the economic relationship between the two countries."

The New Zealand dollar is only the sixth currency to be directly traded with the renminbi or yuan. The other currencies are the US dollar, Japanese yen, Russian rouble the Malaysian ringgit and the Australian dollar which gained that ability last year.

The Government would continue to work with New Zealand banks, other financial institutions, and exporters and importers who trade with China, "to raise awareness of the benefits of pricing in the two currencies and how direct trading can help".

In a related move, Westpac last night confirmed it had received approval from the People's Bank of China to act as a "market maker" or intermediary for direct trading of the New Zealand dollar and renminbi on the China Foreign Exchange Trading System.

The market maker licence allowed direct interbank trading of the New Zealand dollar and Chinese yuan, "meaning reduced transactional costs and over time increased liquidity to currency deals between New Zealand and Chinese trading partners" Westpac NZ chief executive Peter Clare said.

"Today's announcement helps make trade with China more efficient and will open future opportunities to strengthen the ties between the two countries"

Westpac general manager of corporate and institutional banking Karen Silk said Westpac was one of only two Australian/New Zealand banks to offer direct convertibility for mainland China transactions. The Herald understands the other bank is the ANZ.

Currency facts

# The New Zealand dollar has become only the sixth currency to be directly traded with the renminbi or yuan and only the 4th currency to be granted 'market maker' status allowing trade on China's forex system.

# Direct convertibility between the NZ dollar and renminbi cuts out the requirement and additional cost of converting via the US dollar for exporters and importers

# Westpac says the New Zealand dollar's new status should increase the visibility of this country's business in China.

# The renminbi (CNY) is now ranked as the 2nd most used currency in trade finance.

Related Articles:
China offers $20bn in loans to Africa
China and Brazil in $30bn currency swap agreement
China and Japan will start direct currency trading


"The U in Kundalini"- Oct 18, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Kundalini, Unification, EU, Nobel Peace Prize 2012, Middle East, South America, Only 5 Currencies on EarthOld Souls, Duality will dismiss, 3D Humanity will melt with Multi dimensional higher self, Global Unity… etc.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Indonesian Bureaucracy Grounded MH370 Search Flights, Military Pledges ‘Fullest Support’

Jakarta Globe, Harry Jacques & Josua Gantan, Mar 19, 2014

Students stand next to a giant mural featuring missing Malaysia Airlines flight
 MH370 displayed on the grounds of their school in Manila’s financial district of
Makati on March 18, 2014. (AFP Photo)

Jakarta. International search efforts for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 hit a setback after Indonesia failed to give clearance for six foreign aircraft to fly over national airspace into the Indian Ocean on Tuesday in spite of assurances that Indonesia’s armed forces had extended its ”fullest support” to the continuing search.

The Indonesian Military (TNI) issued approval for search planes to fly through national airspace earlier this week, but delays in subsequent sign-offs by the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs forced three countries’ search flights to remain grounded in Malaysia, testing relations between two countries well used to locking diplomatic horns.

“For the flight permits to be given out, there needed to be approvals from three different government institutions — the defense ministry, the transportation ministry, and the foreign affairs ministry,” TNI spokesman Rear Adm. Iskandar Sitompul told the Jakarta Globe. “Government institutions other than the TNI had to work on this, too, so the permit was stuck.”

Some 26 countries have banded together since March 8 to search for the missing Boeing 777-200ER over a search area spanning some 22 million square nautical miles, and Indonesia has assumed an important role as the gateway country out of Malaysia to one of two search areas. The southern corridor begins west of Banda Aceh and takes in a vast arc past Western Australia into some of the most remote expanse of the Indian Ocean with an average water depth of around 4,000 meters.

“It probably is the largest peacetime armada of assets and satellite information-sharing that we have ever seen for a rescue and search operation,” Malaysia’s Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said, as quoted by Reuters.

The Indonesian government has so far lent 11 assets to the ongoing search, according to the Malaysian Ambassador to Indonesia.

“We have one aircraft — a Boeing 727-200 from the TNI Air Force,” Ambassador Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim told the Jakarta Globe. “We have one Cassa C-212 aircraft, which belongs to the Navy, and five ships also from the Navy.

“We also have one helicopter and three rescue boats from the National Search and Rescue Agency. That’s what we have on record.”

The BBC reported on Tuesday that the southern search had been hampered after the central government banned six planes from flying over Indonesian territory.

Four aircraft from the Japanese Self Defense Force, including Hercules and P-3 Orion planes, as well as a South Korean P-3 Orion and a US P-3 Orion were grounded in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

“We were supposed to take off 7 or 8 hours ago originally to head out over the Indian Ocean south of Java and to search a grid pattern for signs of the missing Malaysian airline,” Rupert Wingfield Hayes, a senior BBC reporter in Kuala Lumpur, said on Tuesday. “All of these aircraft are sitting on the ground.

“There is no search, no aerial search anyway, going on from Malaysia [on Tuesday]. The reason for that is that we have been waiting all day for the Indonesian government to give the foreign military aircraft permission to overfly it’s territory and it simply has not come.”

The Malaysian Embassy’s First Secretary Khairul Tazril Tarmizi would not be drawn on the delay in granting clearance, saying on Wednesday only that the Malaysian government’s position regarding Indonesia’s cooperation remained unchanged.

“Indonesia has been fully cooperative,” Tazril told the Jakarta Globe. “The ambassador’s view is still the same as [on Tuesday].”

The State Palace said it was unaware of the issue when contacted on Wednesday, adding that it would be discussed at a meeting later in the day. But according to Rear Adm. Iskandar, the TNI had tried to expedite the permits. The delay in allowing the six aircraft to take off was a consequence of the labyrinthine bureaucracy of other government bodies, he said.

‘Fullest support’

“We want to get things straight — they [the grounded planes] have received their permits from the TNI,” Iskandar said. “It is incorrect to say that the TNI did not give them the permits. This is a humanitarian problem and it is only right that we help as fast as we could.  The TNI’s principle is that we will give our fullest support. You can see that we sent five warships to the Malacca Strait to help.”

Indonesian Naval commander Adm. Marsetio spoke with his counterpart in the Malaysian Navy, Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz, and dispatched the five ships to the Strait of Malacca on Mar. 9.

“[The Mar. 18 flights] were just delayed, we did not reject the permits,” Iskandar said. “There is a mechanism; it was just a bureaucratic problem. We never intend to slow down the process. Please get this right, the TNI never intended to make the process difficult.”

The Indonesian armed forces said there should be no additional overfly clearance issues as the search continued.

“I have checked this with the intelligence, all the grounded flights have been granted access,” Iskandar said. “By now, they can operate.”
 
A Chinese family member of a passenger on board the missing Malaysia Airlines
 Flight MH370 is brought into a room outside the media conference area at a
hotel in Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Mar. 19, 2014. (Reuters Photo)

Background checks

While Indonesia’s nebulous bureaucracy grounded search flights from taking off from Malaysia to search into the southern corridor on Tuesday, the Malaysian government said there had been no holdup in Indonesia’s willingness to supply background information held by the country’s intelligence agency on the seven Indonesian passengers on flight MH370.

The passenger manifest lists the Indonesian travelers as Firman Siregar, 25; Ferryindra Suadaya, 42; Herryindra Suadaya, 35; Lo Sugianto, 42; Indrasuria Tanurisam, 57; Vinny Chynthyatio, 47 and Willy Surijanto Wang, 53.

Only Russia and Ukraine had failed to hand over the results of background checks conducted by national intelligence agencies on Wednesday, according to a tweet by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. The countries that did submit reports of their nationals abroad MH370 found nothing suspicious in their investigations.

Indonesian National Police chief Gen. Sutarman, center, addresses a press
 conference in Jakarta on March 19, 2014, clearing seven Indonesian passengers
 on board the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet of terrorism links. (JG
Photo/Ezra Sihite)

Sidney Jones, a leading expert on terrorism in Southeast Asia and director of the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, told Reuters on March 16 that she would be ”extremely surprised if any group from Indonesia, the Philippines or Malaysia itself would be directly involved.” A subsequent statement from the Indonesian National Police ruled out any involvement in terrorism by any of the seven Indonesian passengers.

“None of the seven passengers have been involved in a banned organization.” National Police chief Gen. Sutarman said at the State Palace on Wednesday. ”We will give full support… so that Malaysia can have access to the information.”

Malaysian officials in Indonesia said they were working with the Indonesian intelligence agency to conduct further background checks on the seven Indonesian passengers.

“The screening of the passengers’ background is being done by the police, Interpol and the CIA,” Zahrain said.  They are all involved — it’s an international issue. Indonesia has been cooperative in this.”

Cabinet meeting

The Malaysian Prime Minister and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono spoke on the phone earlier this week to discuss cooperation efforts, while defense minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said that a meeting of the cabinet chaired by the president was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. on Wednesday to further discuss the search for MH370.

The outcome of this meeting could not be confirmed by deadline.

Purnomo told reporters on Wednesday that Indonesia had not detected MH370 on either its civilian or military radar systems.

“[On the morning of Mar. 8] we did not get detection from any of our radars,” Purnomo said. “There was no detection of any strange plane; there was none.”

Despite the delay in allowing six aircraft to leave their stands in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, the Malaysian government said that it remained satisfied by cooperation with Jakarta.

“The search will continue until we find the plane,” the Malaysian ambassador said. “How long that takes, I don’t know — we don’t know where the aircraft is. The best thing now is to pray.”

—Additional reporting by Reuters

The family of MH370 passenger Firman Chandra Siregar watch television
at their house in Medan, North Sumatra, on March 9, 2014. 
(EPA Photo)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

In Joko Widodo Candidacy, A ‘Historic Decision’

Jakarta Globe, Mar 15, 2014

Senior PDI-P officials Puan Maharani and Tjahjo Kumolo holding up handwritten
 letters from chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri on Friday declaring Joko Widodo
the party’s presidential candidate. (SP Photo/Joanito de Saojoao)

Jakarta. The country’s main opposition party has tagged Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo as its presidential candidate for the July 9 election, in a surprise announcement on Friday that brings an end to months of speculation over whether party chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri would seek another stab at the presidency.

The announcement by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) was widely welcomed, with analysts saying Joko had cleared the biggest hurdle on the path to the presidency.

The PDI-P made the announcement at 2:42 p.m. on its official Twitter account, @PDI_Perjuangan, saying: “Megawati Soekarnoputri has officially mandated Jokowi as the 2014 presidential candidate.”

The governor spoke with reporters during an during an impromptu visit to Marunda, North Jakarta, saying he was prepared to run in the presidential race.

“I have been given the blessing of PDI-P chairwoman Megawati to be a presidential candidate. In God’s name, I am ready.”

Later in the day, Puan Maharani, a senior PDI-P official and Megawati’s daughter, confirmed that her mother had ordered all party members to support Joko’s bid, and had issued a similar call to all voters.

Tjahjo Kumolo, the PDI-P’s secretary general, said Megawati had made the decision to nominate Joko on Thursday evening, after concluding that he was the best choice for moving the country forward.

Sure win

Analysts have said that getting the PDI-P’s nomination was the biggest challenge for Joko if he sought to run for president.

“Now that he’s got the nomination, I think he will win the presidency,” said Muhammad Qodari, executive director of pollster IndoBarometer.

IndoBarometer’s latest survey conducted earlier this month showed Joko as the frontrunner with more than 30 percent of votes, followed by Prabowo Subianto, the founder and chief patron of the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), a distant second with less than 16 percent.

Business tycon and Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie was in third place with 11.8 percent.

“Making the announcement before the legislative elections will make the PDI-P’s electability the highest among all the parties,” said Wawan Ichwanudin, a political science lecturer at the University of Indonesia.

The outcome of the April 9 legislative election is critical for parties eyeing the July 9 presidential ballot.

In order to be eligible to nominate a candidate, a party must win of 25 percent of the vote in the legislative election or 20 percent of seats at the House of Representatives.

Parties falling short of this threshold will have to form coalitions with other parties to make up the numbers.

Polls show that the PDI-P would get a sizeable boost in votes in the April ballot if it announced Joko’s candidacy before the legislative election.

‘Historic decision’

The popular reaction to the announcement has also been largely positive, with Jokowi, the governor’s popular nickname, becoming a worldwide trending topic on Twitter as millions expressed their support for him to become president.

Rival politicians were among those offering their congratulations.

Luhut Panjaitan, a Golkar stalwart, praised Megawati for nominating Joko, saying that the decision was “historic for Indonesia.”

“Mega has made an extraordinary and historic decision as the country needs a pro-people leader,” said Luhut, Golkar’s deputy chief patron.

“It’s a decision from an honest leader to make Indonesia better.”

From within the PDI-P, longtime Megawati confidant Sabam Sirait joked that Joko would have to take good care of himself, in a jibe at the governor’s skinny frame.

“We’ve asked him not to be too tiny. Indonesia need him to stay healthy,” Sabam said.

Running mate

Following the announcement, speculation mounted about who the PDI-P would choose to be Joko’s running mate, with officials from other parties hinting that they might want to hitch their wagon to the PDI-P’s in order to get the number two slot on the presidential ticket.

Bima Arya Sugiarto, a senior politician with the National Mandate Party (PAN), said the PDI-P had made a “beautiful breakthrough.”

He said the presidential election would be a three-horse race between Joko, Prabowo and Aburizal.

“I urge the PAN to quickly decide what we will do because the political constellation has changed totally,” Bima said.

“The option is we can join the PDI-P or form a coalition with Gerindra and Prabowo,” he added.

PAN has declared its chairman, Hatta Rajasa, who is also the current chief economics minister, as its presidential candidate.

Jusuf Kalla, the former vice president and a Golkar stalwart, expressed his willingness to become Joko’s running mate if asked by the PDI-P.

“I won’t refuse. If it is for the nation, we should be ready,” he said.

However, Idrus Marham, Golkar’s secretary general, insisted that the party would not join the PDI-P in a coalition because it was putting all its support behind Aburizal’s presidential bid.

“The PDI-P has a presidential candidate, and we also have our own candidate. So how do we form a coalition?” he said.

He said Golkar had no trepidation about the impact of Friday’s announcement.

“We decided on our own candidate two years ago. We are prepared. The challenge is how we can convinced people to vote for us,” Idrus said.

But with Kalla — a far more popular figure than Aburial both within Golkar and with the political establishment and general public — throwing his weight behind Joko, analysts are predicting a loss of votes for Golkar in the legislative election, which in turn will affect its ability to nominate Aburizal for the presidential ballot.

“Golkar will lose part of its voters because many are still loyal to Kalla. It will also threaten Aburizal’s chance,” said Ubedillah Badrun, executive director of the Center for Social and Political Studies.

Kalla has also gained support from the National Awakening Party (PKB) to team up with Joko, with the party lobbying the PDI-P to form a coalition even before the legislative election.

Marwan Ja’far, the PKB deputy chairman, said his party and the PDI-P had “communicated intensively” for a Joko-Kalla ticket in July.

Maruarar Sirait, a veteran PDI-P official, said his party would need time to decide who would run with Joko.

“We want to be careful to pick the running mate because we don’t him or her to be a liability,” he said.

Gerindra, meanwhile, said Joko’s nomination would not affect Prabowo’s popularity.

“According to our own survey, Prabowo’s electability continues to increase across the country,” said Suhardi, the Gerindra chairman.

He expressed confidence that Prabowo could defeat Joko in the election.

However, Qodari from IndoBarometer said that with Joko now in contention, Prabowo’s chances had diminished.

“Surveys have consistently indicated that Prabowo will not win the presidency if Joko runs,” he said.

The Democratic Party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, which is holding a big-tent convention to choose its own candidate, also said it was ready to face off against Joko.

“We have prepared a strategy to face Joko’s nomination. Our candidates at the convention have been ready to challenge Joko, Prabowo or Aburizal,” said Andi Nurpati, a Democrat deputy secretary general.

Jakarta Deputy Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, from Prabowo’s Gerindra, also voiced his support for Joko’s candidacy, saying that his boss could help make the country better.

“I will support whoever wants to fix the country and has a good track record,” he said.

Under the law, Basuki will automatically become the governor until his term ends if Joko is elected president.

Joko will be required to take leave of office to campaign.

Basuki said that in anticipation of Joko winning the election, he had proposed Rieke Dyah Pitaloka, a PDI-P legislator, as a suitable deputy governor once he become governor.

He said that he and Rieke had worked well before in the House.

Rieke said separately that she and Basuki were old friends.

“I was on his campaign team when he ran for governor of Bangka-Belitung,” she said, adding that she and Basuki then met again at the House and had worked together since.

“We we’ve discussed many issues. While we have different opinions on several issues, we share a common stance on many other issues,” she said.

Rieke last year ran in the West Java gubernatorial election but lost.

Related Articles:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ex-Riau Governor Gets 14 Years Over Logging Permit, National Games Corruption Cases

Jakarta Globe, Mar 12, 2014

Riau Governor Rusli Zainal, center, leaves the Corruption Eradication
 Commission (KPK) office after a questioning session on June 14, 2013.
(JG Photo/Marcel Kataren)

Jakarta. Former Riau Governor Rusli Zainal was sentenced on Wednesday to 14 years in prison for bribery and abuse of power in connection to two graft cases involving the 2012 National Games (PON) and the illegal issuance of forestry permits.

Rusli was also ordered to pay Rp 1 billion ($87,500) in fines, or serve an extra six months in prison. The sentence is slightly lower than prosecutors’ initial demand for a 17 year sentence.

“The defendant has been proven validly and convincingly guilty of corruption,” presiding judge Bachtiar Sitompul said as he read out the verdict at the Pekanbaru Anti-Corruption Court. “The defendant consciously committed the crime[s], providing a bad example for the public.”

Rusli was proven guilty of three counts of corruption in total.

For the first count, the Golkar Party politician was proven guilty of receiving Rp 500 million in kickbacks from a manager of state-owned construction firm Adhi Karya, one of several companies that won contracts to build PON facilities in Riau.

He was also found guilty of ordering Lukman Abbas, the former head of Riau’s sports agency, to funnel Rp 9 billion in bribes to Golkar lawmakers Kahar Muzakkir and Setya Novanto, as well as Rp 900 million to several provincial legislators in connection to the graft-ridden PON projects.

A number of provincial legislators and local administration officials have already been convicted in the PON case.

For the third count, Rusli was proven guilty of embezzlement in connection to the illegal issuance of logging permits between 2001 and 2006 in Riau’s Pelalawan district.

“The issuance [of the logging permits] resulted in forest destruction and caused the state Rp 265 billion in losses,” Bachtiar said as quoted by Indonesian news portal liputan6.com.

The former district chief of Pelalawan, Tengku Azmun Jaafar, was sentenced to 11 years in 2009 for his role in the logging permit graft.

Prosecutors earlier said that the logging permits were given to companies Mitra Tani Nusa Sejati, Rimba Mutiara Permai, Selaras Abadi Utama, Bhakti Praja Mulia, Putri Lindung Bulan, Mitra Hutani Jaya, Satria Perkasa Agung and Seraya Sumber Lestari.

They supplied giant pulp companies Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper (IKPP) and Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP), according to the state-run Antara news agency.

Rusli said he would appeal the verdict.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Anas Charged With Money Laundering as KPK Investigation Gains Steam

Jakarta Globe, Rizky Amelia, 5 March 2014

Former Democratic Party chairman Anas Urbaningrum leaves the Jakarta
Anticorruption Court in this file photo. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

Jakarta. The Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK ) case against Anas Urbaningrum mounted on Wednesday as the antigraft body charged the ousted Democratic Party official with money laundering, opening the door for a wider investigation into corruption allegations centered on the one-time chair of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s ruling party.

“There are allegations of money laundering concerning Anas Urbaningrum,” KPK Deputy Chairman Bambang Widjojanto said.

The charge, a significant move by the KPK, will allow investigators to track down and seize any assets allegedly purchased by Anas with graft funds. It will also task the antigraft body with compiling a comprehensive report of the former politician’s wealth and financial transactions, painting a clearer picture of the corruption suspect’s activities during his years with the Democratic Party.

“Investigators have found sufficient evidence and named Anas a suspect in a money laundering case,” KPK spokesman Johan Budi said.

The antigraft commission has suspicions that Anas was corrupt for years before his arrest, admitting that it is entirely possible that he began laundering graft funds as far back as 2002.

“It’s possible,” Johan said.

The KPK detained Anas on Jan. 10 on corruption charges stemming form allegations of his involvement in the graft-tainted Hambalang sports center construction project. The arrest brought to a close an extended standoff between the KPK and the corruption suspect, marking a significant step in the antigraft body’s investigation into allegations of widespread corruption among members of Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party.

But in the two months that followed Anas has made repeated efforts to both derail the investigation and court public sympathy. He complained of a toothache in an attempt to postpone questioning by KPK investigators. Less than a week later Anas was talking again, telling reporters outside the KPK’s South Jakarta headquarters that he was prepared to implicate the president’s son Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono — popularly known as Ibas — in the Hambalang corruption scandal.

Some two weeks later, Anas was uncooperative again. He returned to the KPK’s interrogation room on Feb. 21 where he spent hours before investigators but could only talk about one thing: his throbbing tooth.

Throughout the investigation Anas and his association of loyalists, the Indonesia Movement Association (PPI), have maintained his innocence. The KPK’s investigation is ongoing.

“We’re still tracing his assets, but we haven’t confiscated anything yet,” Johan said.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Mideast Peace Talks in Focus at Palestinian Development Meet

Jakarta Globe – AFP, March 1, 2014

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono delivers a speech during
 the second Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian
Development (Ceapad) in Jakarta on March 1, 2014. (AFP Photo)

Jakarta. Representatives of 22 nations met in Jakarta on Saturday to discuss Palestinian development, with co-chairs Japan and Indonesia reiterating their support for a two-state solution.

The second Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (Ceapad) is aimed at boosting infrastructure and supporting the private sector in the Palestinian Territories.

But a looming deadline for a full Middle East peace deal brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to feature prominently in talks.

“We still believe that the two-state vision can be envisaged and realized. And here I must commend the… efforts of Mr John Kerry,” Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah said during the conference’s opening.

Kerry, who coaxed the two sides back to the negotiating table in late July after a three-year hiatus, said Wednesday a full deal would likely slip past the April 29 deadline.

The document has not yet been made public, but Hamdallah said on Friday “all issues actually have been (put) on the table.”

The document is understood to include a non-binding proposal laying out guidelines for negotiating the central issues of the conflict, including such as borders, security, Jerusalem, the settlements and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Hamdallah expressed gratitude to donor nations, but said Israeli settlements were “severely” hampering development.

“Sixty-two percent of all our land is still controlled by the Israeli authorities. This impedes any access we have to natural resources, and severely restricts our development,” he said.

“The people of Palestine have been struggling to achieve this dream for more than five decades,” Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said at the opening.

“Providing them with capacity-building program is critical.”

Yudhoyono said that Indonesia envisaged a Middle East “at peace with itself and the rest of the world” and that peace would also depend on a treaty on nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said that security in the Middle East was “by no means someone else’s problem in a distant region” for Asian nations.

“I firmly believe participating countries share the common determination to assist in a Palestinian state-building that promises to bring about regional peace and stability,” he said in Japanese, according to a statement.

“Such assistance will help achieve a ‘two-state solution’, which would see Palestine and Israel in peaceful coexistence and co-prosperity,” he said.

The Ceapad is jointly chaired by Indonesia, the Palestinian Authority and Japan.

Among attending nations are South Africa, Singapore, Australia, Brunei and Vietnam, while China’s special envoy on the Middle East issue Wu Sike attended.

The conference was initiated by Japan, a major donor to the Palestinian Territories, with the first event held in Tokyo last year.

The conferences are not designed to seek fresh aid pledges, officials said, although several countries have made pledges following last year’s meeting.

Agence France-Presse