"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … 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.)
.

The headquarters of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in 
Jakarta. (BeritaSatu Photo)
"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. …

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Blogger Auto Pagination Speeds Page Loads but Angers Bloggers

Susan's Blogging Blog, by Susan Gunelius, Thursday February 25, 2010

Last week, Blogger rolled out Auto Pagination, which automates the amount of content that is displayed on Blogger blog pages based on the amount of HTML and and images on each page. Google claimed that the purpose behind the change is to speed page load time. For example, with the new Auto Pagination feature, a Blogger blog might be limited to only display two posts per page if those posts include a lot of images. Visitors would need to click on the Next Post link to view additional posts from the blog.

While the change is unlikely to affect a lot of smaller bloggers, it has caused concern from larger bloggers, particularly those who use Blogger for photo blogs or blogs that are image-intensive, such as celebrity fan bloggers.

Many of the Blogger users who found their blogs suddenly altered to display only a couple of posts per page blogged about the new Blogger Auto Pagination feature in order to complain about the change. According to some of the more vocal bloggers, they were able to email Google and work with them to modify their blogs so the Auto Pagination feature doesn't affect their blogs. If you use Blogger and dislike the Auto Pagination feature, be sure to contact Blogger support and voice your concerns.

Has the new Blogger Auto Pagination function affected your blog or any of the blogs that you read? Leave a comment and share your experiences.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

BKPM regains past status as a ‘one stop shop’

Riyadi Suparno, The Jakarta Post, Washington | Thu, 02/25/2010 10:46 AM

Money talks: Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board chairman Gita Wirjawan (second right) addresses a seminar at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC on Tuesday. Gita updated a World Bank panel of experts on the latest situation on Indonesia’s economic reforms, including in the areas of investment. JP/Riyadi Suparno

The Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) has regained some of its past role in the areas of investment licensing, amendments to the negative list and preparation of the country’s investment road map.

Speaking at the International Monetary Fund headquarters and earlier at the World Bank on Tuesday, BKPM chairman Gita Wirjawan said he would do whatever it takes to make investment more welcome in the country, including pleading with other ministries to hand over licensing powers to BKPM.

“One time, I was asked to wait by one of the ministers, and I waited for one and a half hours. And I dared to wait. I took a completely private sector approach. I was not there for my ego. I was there for his signature,” Gita said.

In the end, he added, he got signatures from 15 ministers, who relegated their powers to BKPM.

With this new licensing power, BKPM could serve as a “one stop shop” for both foreign and domestic investors who want to invest in the real sector, [including manufacturing] and SMEs, leaving aside banking, oil and gas.

Under the one stop shop service, BKPM could process investment licensing as fast as in five hours and in seven days at the slowest. It aims eventually to be able to complete the process within one hour.

Gita said BKPM had also taken over responsibility for drafting amendments to the negative investment list from the Trade Ministry.

The negative list has drawn protests from investors by limiting investment opportunities. He said a new negative list would be ready in the next few months.

In addition, BKPM is also tasked to draft the investment road map that would chart the ways and means to transform Indonesia’s natural resource-based economy, towards the ultimate aim of achieving a knowledge-based economy.

The road map would include steps to increase capacity building to help build infrastructure, including improving regulatory frameworks.

Once infrastructure is much improved, then Indonesia should be able to kick off a major process of industrialization, which would need among other things to be backed by comprehensive fiscal policies, including possible tax holidays for high priority sectors.

“After all of these stages, we would start positioning Indonesia as one of the world’s knowledge-based economies, on a par with other developed countries in the region,” Gita said.

With BKPM assuming all these functions, it is no longer simply a promotional agency but is developing a policy focus, serving as a “kitchen” for policy making and implementation to help improve the investment climate, Gita added.

Gita noted however that the new powers bestowed upon BKPM were still far from what BKPM did during its glory days in the early 1980s, when the board was involved not only in licensing but also in making fiscal concessions like tax holidays.

What’s more important, Gita said, was to change the bureaucratic culture at BKPM towards one of serving the needs of investors, to help achieve the investment target of US$200 billion in five years.

“With the right tweaking, we should be able to achieve these numbers,” he said.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mulyani defends her decision to bail out Century

Aditya Suharmoko, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 02/24/2010 8:29 PM

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said that she, as the chairwoman of the Financial System Stability Committee (KSSK), had succeeded in preventing a crisis by saving Bank Century from collapse, while acknowledging that there may have been flaws in the process.

"I think all parties agree that there was a crisis, which is a big development. And according to the mandate and authority given under the regulation-in-lieu-of-law on the Financial System Safety Net, the chairperson's job is to prevent a crisis," she said in a press conference Wednesday.

"We will also learn what are stated as indicators of violation point to which laws and regulations so we can arrange the consequences. As far as we are concerned, of all information given to the inquiry committee we tried to run all tasks and responsibilities to prevent a crisis and manage the economy based on existing laws," she added.

Mulyani also said she made the bailout decision based on data provided on that day, which could not be compared to today. "If the comparison is made this day where they have 24 hours to conduct an investigation, review all parties, it's not a crisis," she said.

"So there might be imperfect information that if reviewed 18 months later could be perfected, I say it was administrative violation, or clumsiness. It's not a big sin," she said.

"We in the KSSK consider that I ran my authority as cleanly as possible. I used all sources to guide us all to stay in the corridor of laws as public officials," said Mulyani.

She refuted the statement that the Finance Ministry let Century officials go. "We did not let them go. The finance minister banned them, the finance minister formed the coordination team comprising the National Police, Attorney General's Office, Justice and Human Rights Ministry and Foreign Ministry to chase the assets. How could they be considered as letting go?" she said.

She expected the political, legal and administrative processes could be done objectively to ensure public officials feel secure when performing their tasks. "I am sure that the processes will run in line with each corridor," she said.

Mulyani also responded to speculation that she might be replaced as the finance minister. "Cabinet make up is the President's portfolio. So the President will carefully consider what is good for the government and the people," she said.

Ministry to evaluate regional autonomy

The Jakarta Post | Wed, 02/24/2010 6:46 PM

Ten years since Indonesia created its first autonomous region, the Home Ministry has decided to evaluate the implementation of the regional autonomy law.

Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi said Wednesday the assessment aimed to analyze the performances of 205 autonomous regions and their 127 mother regions.

“We will focus on evaluating the regions’ prosperity, the quality of their administrations and public services and their competitiveness,” he said.

The project aims to produce data that would be used to map and categorize the performances of regional administrations. Gamawan said the ministry would then develop programs and strategies to improve the performance of administrations in these regions.

The assessment will also pave the way for the issuance of policies to regulate the establishment, abolishment and merging of autonomous regions, he said.

“The [Home Ministry] will also identify strategic issues in formulating several policies that will aim to improve the performances of autonomous and mother regions,” he said.

Since the deliberation of the 1999 Law on Regional Autonomy, the country has granted autonomy to 205 regions, comprising seven provinces, 164 regencies and 34 cities.

Gamawan said the number of autonomous regions had mushroomed and that the government felt it was important to slow this trend by imposing a moratorium on the establishment of new autonomous regions.

The ministry plans to make improvements to regulations covering the requirements and procedures involved in the establishment of such regions.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mobile Phones Become Banks in Developing Countries

Jakarta Globe, Celine Cornu, February 23, 2010

Barcelona. An Afghan police officer gets his salary in a text message on his mobile phone. A Kenyan worker dials a few numbers to send money to his family.

The rise of banking transactions through mobile phones is giving a whole new meaning to pocket money in parts of the developing world that lack banks or cash machines.

Mobile money applications are emerging as potent financial tools in rural and remote areas of the globe, allowing people with no bank accounts to get paid, send remittances or settle their bills.

“One billion consumers in the world have a mobile phone but no access to a bank account,” said Gavin Krugel, the director of mobile banking strategy at GSM Association, an industry group of 800 wireless operators.

“We see it as very big opportunity,” he said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the industry’s annual four-day event that ended on Thursday.

Mobile banking began to emerge six years ago in the Philippines and South Africa, where 8.5 million and 4.5 million people, respectively, use such services.

Today, 40 million people worldwide use mobile money, and the industry is growing, according to the GSMA.

“Africa and Asia are the most active regions right now,” Krugel said. “We expect Latin America pick up this year.”

There are 18,000 new mobile banking users per day in Uganda, 15,000 in Tanzania and 11,000 in Kenya, he said.

Mobile phones can offer a wide range of banking solutions, from sending transfers to a relative to buying goods in a store or putting money aside for a rainy day, all by dialing a few numbers on one’s phone.

Mobile banking can also make life easier for people in parts of Africa where paying a simple bill can be time-consuming, said Reg Swart, regional executive of Fundamo, a company that makes banking applications.

“It takes one day to pay one bill. You have to physically go to the bank, then you must queue, a long queue,” he said.

In Afghanistan, the national police has been testing a service from mobile operator Roshan to pay its officers, which helps to limit corruption, the company said.

“We are currently moving from a trial to a full launch in paying the Afghan national police,” said Roshan’s head of mobile commerce, Zahir Jhoja.

Every month, police officers receive a text message in the language they prefer informing them they have received their salaries, Jhoja said.

A voice message is also left on the phone “because a lot of them are illiterate and cannot read,” he said. The officer can then go get his money from an authorized Roshan agent.

“The benefit is that police and police officers don’t have to carry cash anymore: from their post they are able to send their money home, buy items, and take whatever cash they want from an agent, or to store for future,” he said.

The system has helped officers who were not receiving their full salaries due to “corruption and skimming.

“The police officers who received the money electronically were very surprised to learn that they earn so much money. When they were getting cash they were receiving 25 to 30 percent less,” Jhoja said.

Agence France-Presse

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Changing of the Guard at Pertamina

Jakarta Globe, Yessar Rossendar, February 19, 2010

Indonesian State Enterprises Minister Mustafa Abubakar on Friday retained Karen Agustiawan as the head of a new board of directors for PT Pertamina and tasked the state-owned oil and gas company with boosting output to help the country meet its rising fuel needs.

The vice presidential position was scrapped in the new lineup and several new members, mostly from within the company, now sit on the board. A new directorship to handle investment planning and risk management was also created.

“We hope that the new board of directors under Karen will be more solid and able to adapt to the demands of the industry,” Mustafa said after the board’s inauguration on Friday.

He said the new board should prioritize three programs, all aimed at increasing energy production. It should find as many new fields as possible, acquire existing ones and rejuvenate Pertamina’s refineries and downstream infrastructure.

Pertamina’s former finance director, Ferederick Siahaan, is the new director in charge of investment planning and risk management.

Karen said the position was needed to support the company’s operations with well-managed investment and risk management.

“We will make many acquisitions, especially in the upstream sector,” she said.

Mustafa said he was confident that under Ferederick, “Pertamina’s investment will not be misplanned in the future.”

He said the new director would function like the government’s National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas).

Fabby Tumiwa, the executive director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform, saw the establishment of the new director position as a positive sign, because previously the work had only been handled by a unit in Pertamina and not at the board level.

“With a higher position to handle the task, I think Pertamina’s investments will be better,” Fabby said.

The company filled the previously vacant upstream director position with Bagus Setiardja, who was formerly the president director of subsidiary PT Pertamina Hulu Energy.

The previously combined general and human resources directorship has been separated, with Rukmi Hadihartini as director for human resources and Waluyo as general resources director.

Edi Setianto becomes director for processing, replacing Rukmi, while Djaelani Sutomo, the president director of another Pertamina subsidiary, PT Pertamina Tongkang, is now director for marketing and business.

Ferederick’s former position as finance director was filled by an outside appointee — M Afdal Bahaudin, previously the president director of insurer PT Tugu Pratama Indonesia.

The position of president commissioner and one of the regular commissioner positions remain unfilled.

“It is our plan to prioritize and assign the board of directors first, but we will appoint the people for the positions as soon as possible,” Mustafa said.

Fabby said the position of president commissioner should be filled by someone who understands the oil and gas industry, has good integrity and who does not have any conflicts of interest.

“Pertamina is a company that handles trillions of rupiah, so the position is crucial,” Fabby said.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Minister warned against regulating multimedia content

Erwida Maulia, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 02/18/2010 8:29 PM

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has warned Communications and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring against regulating multimedia contents, a plan that sparked strong protests among Internet users this week.

While Yudhoyono did not mention the minister’s name when he issued the warning during a Cabinet meeting here Thursday, he made it clear the warning was meant for Tifatul, who is currently visiting Europe.

The Communications and Information Ministry, which Tifatul heads, has reportedly drafted a ministerial regulation on multimedia content, a move many fear will threaten press freedom and the freedom of speech, despite its aim to “fight cyber crime” including child prostitution.

“I want to remind you all, members of the Indonesian United Cabinet, that if you plan to draft a government regulation or bill, you must first report to the President. After I approve it then you can start drafting the regulation,” Yudhoyono said as he opened the Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Office.

“Maybe there is a belief at this ministry questioning the freedom in the use of technology and its negative impacts on the community and students … but this is a sensitive issue. You can’t just draft such regulations,” he said.

The President said the public should be involved in the drafting of the regulation, and said the ministry should seriously consider the “urgency” and the “aim” of the regulation, as well as working out how it would be implemented.

He also made clear his position on the issue, saying he was not involved in the plan to issue the regulation, adding that perhaps Tifatul was not either.

The draft of the ministerial regulation is said to have only been discussed at the directorate general level, and apparently had not been approved by Tifatul.

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Foreign Ministry officials dismissed for airfare markups

Bagus Budi Tama Saragih, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 02/18/2010 10:25 PM

The Foreign Ministry has dismissed three officials in connection with alleged markups of airfares, which reportedly cost the state up to Rp 2.2 billion (US$236,500) in losses.

The administrative sanctions were recommended by the ministry's inspectorate general, ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said Thursday.

“Some of [the officials] were dismissed from their posts,” Teuku told The Jakarta Post on Thursday, declining to identify the officials.

However, he said he had heard that the officials were from the ministry's finance bureau.

A source close to the case told the Post the three officials were finance bureau chief AWW, AS and SSA.

Indonesia Corruption Watch reported this case to the Corruption Eradication Commission.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tax Evasion Probe on Asian Agri to Be Reopened, SBY Task Force Says

Jakarta Globe, Nivell Rayda, February 17, 2010

The Judicial Mafia Eradication Task Force on Wednesday said it planned to reopen the Rp 1.3 trillion ($140 million) tax evasion case connected to one of the country’s biggest agricultural and palm oil producers.

Mas Achmad Sentosa, a member of the task force formed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said his team would meet with law enforcers to push for the reopening of the case against PT Asian Agri, which is owned by Soekanto Tanoto, believed to be Indonesia’s third-richest man.

“We will determine later when the meeting will take place,” Sentosa said. “Our target is to resolve all [tax evasion] cases that were either frozen or have not had any significant progress.”

The Directorate General of Taxation reported the case against Asian Agri to the Attorney General’s Office in January 2007, and 13 people had been declared suspects. However, since the case was opened, only one Asian Agri executive has been tried. No report was available on the status of the remaining suspects in the case.

Denny Indrayana, the task force secretary, said bribery might have tainted the case. “There is a strong indication of case brokering,” he said. “The cases against the 12 have been moving slowly, while the law has only touched one company executive.”

The team on Wednesday visited Cipinang Penitentiary to visit the company’s former finance chief, Vincentius Amin Santoso, who was sentenced in 2008 by the Supreme Court to 11 years and one month in prison for defrauding Asian Agri of $28 million in a separate case.

The team was accompanied by officials from the tax office and the AGO, as well as Abdul Haris Semendawai, the chairman of the Witness and Victim Protection Agency (LPSK).

Semendawai said the task force had requested that the LPSK protect Santoso in exchange for his full cooperation in the investigation.

“[Santoso] said he has been receiving death threats,” Semendawai said. “We shall examine the truth to his claim. We will also seek the advice of law enforcers to see whether it is necessary to put him under special protection.”

The AGO said “conflicting opinions” with the Tax Directorate General had hampered progress in the Asian Agri tax case.

Prosecutors said they had not received the final dossiers from the Tax Directorate General, despite the latter’s claim that the materials had been forwarded to the AGO.

According to officials, the palm oil company allegedly submitted inaccurate returns to the tax service, and then moved the difference to affiliated companies based in the British Virgin Islands, Macao, Mauritius and Hong Kong.

Asian Agri has offered to settle the case out of court, but the Finance Ministry insisted on trying the case to test the tax service’s ability to catch top-level offenders.

Indonesia's Draft Bill on Internet Regulation Criticized

Jakarta Globe, Ismira Lutfia

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology says it will accommodate feedback on a proposal to monitor online content, as long as it has “clear justifications.” (AFP Photo)

News media, bloggers and other members of the online community were united on Wednesday in voicing objections to a Ministry of Communication and Information Technology draft regulation to create a team to monitor online content.

The Indonesian Internet Service Providers, the Alliance of Independent Journalists, noted bloggers and a news portal all agreed that incorrect perceptions about the Internet are behind the flaws in the draft, which stresses controlling illegal content without addressing the development of positive content.

Karaniya Dharmasaputra, editor-in-chief of news portal Vivanews.com, said in a joint news conference that the draft regulation is “a setback from the spirit of the reform era that upholds the freedom of expression.” He warned that the plan might prevent the growth of the Internet in the country.

“This is contrary to other countries, which support the growth of the Internet by giving out incentives,” he said.

Valens Riyadi from Indonesian Internet Service Providers, or APJII, said: “We do not reject the idea of healthy Internet use but we reject the repressive way of regulating it as drafted in the regulation. We have the impression that the draft will give the authority for Internet service providers to intercept, so does this mean we can intercept ministers’ e-mails?”

Valens added that Internet users can always opt for filtered access if they see the need.

Margiyono, secretary general of the Alliance of Independent Journalists, or AJI, acknowledged that most countries police the Internet to weed out content deemed harmful.

“The government must choose which approach it wants to emulate, and it depends on the government’s political will,” Margiyono said.

He doubted that the model used in the draft would be effective in making the digital sphere safer for users and claimed that “there might be a political motive behind it.” Valens said that if the government is taking the example of China, it is not applicable because “unlike China, the Internet infrastructure here is owned by the private sector.”

Noted Kompasiana.com blogger Pepy Nugroho said the government’s draft policy would not be applicable to filter Web sites that are user-generated.

Meanwhile, ICT Watch, a nongovernmental organization working for a healthy and secure Internet, said in a statement that it understands the draft was made with “good intentions to protect the public from negative content on the Internet and to provide the basis of legal certainty for Internet service providers if there were content determined as illegal disseminated through the providers’ infrastructure.”

However, it said the draft tended to “control, regulate and sanction” Web content with a “top-down” approach.

“It is better for the government to use its resources to boost grassroots activities in developing the quality and quantity of positive local content,” it said.

Ministry spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto said the ministry would accommodate feedback on the draft regulation “as long as it has clear justifications.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Many attaches cannot speak English: Foreign Ministry

Bagus Budi Tama Saragih, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 02/17/2010 9:41 PM

Many Indonesian attaches lacked basic competencies, some were even unable to speak English, an official said Wednesday.

“Incompetent Indonesian attaches keep disrupting the goals set by our ambassadors,” said Imran Cotan, the secretary general of Foreign Ministry, during a hearing at the House of Representatives.

“I found a number of our attaches are poor at speaking English. Every time their counterparts from the home government wanted to meet them, they freak out, seeking ways to avoid the meeting like asking for ‘bed-rest’ recommendation from the doctor."

Imran, along with a number of top officials from other ministries, attended a hearing with the members of House Commission I on information, defense, and foreign affairs to evaluate the performances of Indonesian diplomats.

Imran said that the selection process for attaches was the responsibility of the attaches’ original institutions.

He suggested that government agencies use the minimal Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 550 as one of the requirements to make candidates eligible to be posted as attaches.

Police slap travel ban on tax evaders

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 02/17/2010 6:50 PM

The National Police have responded to the President’s order to take bold measures against tax violations by slapping a travel ban on a number of tax evaders.

Spokesman for the National Police Insp. Gen. Edward Aritonang said Wednesday the move was taken on those among the top 10 tax evaders upon request from the directorate general of taxation.

Edward refused to identify the tax evaders, saying it was the authority of the tax office.

“For sure we have banned a number of individuals upon request from the director general of taxation. Details of the travel ban will follow,” Edward told kompas.com.

He said that among those banned was an individual from a company in East Kalimantan.

The tax office recently unveiled the 10 biggest tax evaders, which included state oil and gas company Pertamina, Karaha Bodas Company LLC, Industri Pulp Lestari, the now defunct Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency and Bakrie Investindo.

Edward said that no one from the Bakrie Group, which is controlled by the family of Golkar Party chairman Aburizal Bakrie, had been banned from traveling overseas despite the tax evasion case. “We are in the coordination phase,” he said.

President Yudhoyono ordered tough actions against tax evaders at a time when Golkar and the opposition bloc at the House insisted the Bank Century bailout authorized by the finance minister and the Bank Indonesia governor in November 2008 was flawed and illegal.

Asia-Pacific MDG progress under threat from global economic crisis

Asian Development Bank

ESCAP, ADB and UNDP joint Report calls for strengthening social protection

MANILA (UN ESCAP Information Services) – A joint report by the United Nations and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) warns that the global economic crisis could trap an additional 21 million people in the Asia-Pacific region in extreme poverty, living on less than $1.25 a day.

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in an Era of Global Uncertainty: Asia-Pacific Regional Report 2009/10, launched today in Manila, examines the toll that the global economic crisis has taken on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the Asia-Pacific region. Produced by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), ADB and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the report identifies opportunities for action – showing how countries of Asia and the Pacific can better protect themselves from this and future crises.

“This report shows that, while we are at a moment of crisis for the MDGs we also have an opportunity,” says Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP at the report launch. “As this crisis has exposed many vulnerabilities in the region – we can now address them and direct this recovery towards a stronger sustainable development path for the Asia-Pacific region.”

"Most stimulus measures have focused on areas other than social expenditures," says Ursula Schaefer-Preuss, ADB Vice President. "If we are to address the human impacts of the economic slowdown and achieve the MDGs, then social spending needs to be stepped up substantially."

"Asia has much weaker social protection compared to other regions such as Latin America and Eastern Europe,” says Ajay Chhibber, UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific and UN Assistant Secretary-General. “Without better protection people fall back into poverty with economic crisis, health pandemics and natural disasters and cannot recover easily, making the achievement of MDGs more difficult."

The report notes that long-term social protection can actually strengthen Asia’s resilience against future shocks. Yet the report finds that across the region, only 20 per cent of the unemployed and underemployed have access to labour market programmes such as unemployment benefits, and only 30 per cent of older people receive pensions.

If fiscal stimulus packages have a strong component of social expenditures, notes the report, this is likely to produce a double dividend – not only boosting growth more rapidly but also accelerating progress towards the MDGs.

Prior to the economic crisis, the region as a whole had been making notable gains, including being on track to achieve three important targets: gender parity in secondary education, ensuring universal access of children to primary school, and halving the proportion of people living below the $1.25-a-day poverty line. However, the economic crisis undermined the momentum.

Asia and the Pacific is still the home to the largest number – more than 50 per cent – of people, both rural and urban, without basic sanitation, of under-5 children who are underweight, of people infected with TB, of people living on less than $1.25 a day, and of rural people without access to clean water, according to the report.

It notes that in 2009 the crisis trapped up to an additional 17 million people in extreme poverty, and in 2010, another 4 million, giving a total of 21 million or roughly the equivalent to the population of Australia.

The most adversely affected segment of the population is women, who constitute the majority of Asia’s low-skilled, low-salaried, and temporary workforce that can easily be laid off during economic downturns. Moreover the crisis has reduced the demand for migrant labour – and women form nearly two-thirds of the total Asian migrant population.

The report points to opportunities for the region to protect itself and the MDG progress from future crisis though regional cooperation. Regional cooperation would also be particularly valuable for the trade in food, and could include grain banks that are maintained in each country but readily accessible to others, notes the report.

Expanding Asian monetary and financial coordination would be particularly useful to reduce external shocks such as with the global financial crisis. While fiscal stimulus is the most practical way of filling the gap left by declining exports, in the medium and long term, countries will need to generate domestic demand in a more sustainable way.

Countries can consider diversifying their export markets to become less dependent on demand in the West, suggests the report. They can boost trade within the region by liberalizing trade regimes and improving transport links, simplifying customs and inspection procedures.

By lowering trade barriers and creating more opportunity for the Asia-Pacific region to invest within itself, there can be a greater insulation against such crisis in the future.

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in an Era of Global Uncertainty: Asia-Pacific Regional Report 2009/10 is the fourth regional MDG report for Asia and the Pacific produced by the three agencies.

For more information please go to: http://www.mdgasiapacific.org/.


Crimes are Not All Equal: SBY

Jakarta Globe, February 17, 2010

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono talking to boys at a juvenile detention center in Tangerang on Tuesday. He called for a more rehabilitative approach in dealing with young offenders. (Rumgapres Photo)

Banten. Indonesia needs a more compassionate justice system that takes into account the circumstances of the poor, children and the elderly who are forced into breaking the law, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Tuesday.

“I’ve said that we need to present a form of justice that does not necessarily go along with the law,” he said during an impromptu visit to a juvenile detention center. “Though the law is supposed to embrace justice, there’s always a gap between the two and we need to improve it.”

His high-profile visit with ministers to the Tangerang Juvenile Boys Penitentiary comes amid rising political heat in the run-up to an expected conclusion of the probe into the bailout of Bank Century in 2008. The House of Representatives’ special committee report on the bailout was due on Monday but has been postponed until today.

Yudhoyono said treatment of juvenile prisoners should be different, and called for a more rehabilitative approach. “For example, the violation might be the same, such as stealing,” he said. “But we should consider whether stealing that is carried out by an adult and by a 12-year-old child is the same. The concept of justice should be different.

“We need to review the regulation that says prisoners have to serve half of their punishment before they can apply for probation and remission,” he said.

“Should this be the same for children and adults? I’m not deciding now, but I think it should be different.”

He cited the fact that as many as 70 percent of the more than 100 juvenile inmates in the Tangerang prison were sorry for what they had done and did not want to repeat their crimes.

The president said that especially for those under 15 years old, the concept of correction should be changed into special guidance and education to help them return to the right path.

He also cited people who steal to survive amid abject poverty, as opposed to thieves who steal for profit.

A light violation by an elderly person should be dealt with differently than a violation by a healthy adult, Yudhoyono said, in an apparent reference to the recent case of Minah, a 55-year-old illiterate grandmother arrested for stealing three cocoa pods.

“There should be fair sanction, justice for the weak and the marginalized who commit crimes.”

Yudhoyono said he would carry out a concrete effort to improve regulations, especially regarding juvenile prisoners. “Police, prosecutors and judges should have one mind in bringing justice for these children,” he said.

However, Adrianus Meliala, a criminologist at the University of Indonesia, said the president’s call was a political statement that was unlikely to result in change.

“The president has good rhetoric in his speech, but he has not had a strong willingness to turn it into reality,” Adrianus said.

He said that if Yudhoyono really wanted to introduce changes, he should revise the Criminal Code as well as laws and regulations related to the judicial system.

Seto Mulyadi, the chairman of the National Commission on Child Protection (Komnas Anak), said attention must be paid to the poor condition of children in most juvenile penitentiaries.

“I am very concerned with the condition of our children in juvenile penitentiaries as they are ill-treated by the system as well as their friends,” Seto said. “They are living in inhumane conditions as most of them have to share a cramped room with 20 other prisoners.”

He added that the children bullied each other because they were under stress from being incarcerated.

“They need to express themselves, they need education, and punishing them in jail is not the answer.”

Although he acknowledged that the Tangerang facility was better than other similar institutions, “jails are not the answer to juvenile crimes. The best place for children is in their home with their family.”

According to the State Ministry for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, there are 5,760 children currently in jail.

Indonesia strengthens consumer protection

Antara News, Tuesday, February 16, 2010 21:55 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said on Tuesday a directorate general for consumer protection and standardization would be set up at her ministry.

"We are still waiting for the state apparatus minister`s approval," she told newsmen on the sidelines of her inspection to a warehouse for withdrawn imported energy-saving lamps here.

The formation of the directorate general was part of the trade ministry`s reorganization and bureaucratic reform in order to strengthen consumer protection in the country, she said.

Over the past years, the tasks of stabilizing staple food prices and consumer protection belong to the trade ministry`s directorate general for domestic trading, Pangestu said.

"Thus, we are separating the tasks of maintaining the logistic stability from consumer protection," she said.

In other part of her press briefing, Pangestu touched on the supervision of certain products.

She said, due to the limited budget and number of investigators among bureaucrats, the trade ministry could only supervise ten prioritized products.

The trade ministry`s director for products and services surveillance, Inayat Iman, said his party would prioritize the supervision of certain products this year.

Among the products were electronics, garments, toys, footwear, and food and beverages, bottled water, gas tank regulators, safety shoes, tires, and helmets, he said.

The violators of marketing products inflicting financial losses to consumers would be threatened with five-year imprisonment and maximum fine of Rp2 billion, he added.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

FM: Obama visit boosts US-Indonesian ties

The Jakarta Post, Associated Press, Jakarta | Tue, 02/16/2010 6:30 PM

President Barack Obama's visit to Indonesia next month will give new momentum to already positive relations between Washington and Jakarta, the foreign minister said Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said Indonesia welcomed Washington's more consultative approach with the Southeast Asian region since Obama took office a year ago.

"The trajectory was already positive" under former President George W. Bush, Natalegawa said of US-Indonesian relations. But he said Obama, who lived in Indonesia as a boy, has given ties a fresh momentum.

Natalegawa said the lack of democracy in the predominantly Muslim nation before the fall of dictator Soeharto in 1998 had long been an obstacle in US-Indonesian relations.

"On the issue of the promotion of democracy in the region, I must say that the present US administration has been very diligent in wanting to listen to the views of countries in the region," Natalegawa told reporters.

Obama is to visit Indonesia, Guam and Australia starting March 20.

SBY tells regions to look up to Tangerang

Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Tangerang | Tue, 02/16/2010 6:59 PM

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono praised the Tangerang municipality on Tuesday for its development programs that focused on education and health.

The President also asked other regional administrations to learn from Tangerang.

“This is a big achievement that I have to appreciate,” Yudhoyono said during a visit to SMK 3 state public vocational school on Jl. M. Yamin.

Tangerang Mayor Wahidin Halim told the President that his administration had provided free education to children of 92,000 poor families. Each family receives a multi-purpose card that ensures its members will receive free access to education and healthcare.

Accompanying the President were First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, nine Cabinet ministers and Banten Governor Ratu Atut Chosiah.

The President also visited a special detention center for juveniles.

BI wants to oversee unregulated securities

Aditya Suharmoko , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Mon, 02/15/2010 1:43 PM

The central bank wants to oversee the "blind spots" where securities are not regulated either by the central bank or the Capital Market and Financial Institutions Supervisory Agency, which have caused customers to suffer losses.

"We want the blind spots to be nonexistent. In this context, it would be better [for authorities] to overlap rather than to have blind spots," Bank Indonesia deputy governor Muliaman D. Hadad said in a seminar Monday.

He cited the case of securities sold by Antaboga Delta Sekuritas through Bank Century, which caused about Rp 2.8 trillion (US$ 300 million) in losses.

Muliaman said BI would ensure banks raise customer awareness of products they sell to avoid unwanted losses.

Foreigner suspected in tax fraud case

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 02/15/2010 10:47 PM

National Police chief detective Comr. Gen. Ito Sumardi said a police team assisting the tax office civil investigators in the tax fraud case since last week, found strong indication of a foreigner’s involvement in the tax fraud case.

He said the foreigner worked as a tax consultant for one of the 10 companies listed by the tax office as tax evaders.

“We are now coordinating with the related embassy and the Foreign Ministry to seek ways to handle this case.

Expert resources usually receive maximum protection from their countries,” he said.

However, Ito refused to further reveal the foreigner’s identity, saying that it was within the domain of tax office officials.

“We are here only to provide assistance, but this is within the domain of tax office officials,” he said.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Banks Target 50m Poor With Savings Program

Jakarta Globe, Ardian Wibisono, February 15, 2010

The banks are intended to help Indonesians with small incomes save money and possibly get easier access to bank loans. (SP Photo)

Bank Indonesia and domestic lenders are ready to launch a program targeting the 50 million poor people who would otherwise have no access to the banking system.

Under the program, the initial deposit would be lowered to Rp 20,000 ($2.14) and administrative fees would be eliminated. Most banks now require minimum deposits of Rp 50,000, and charge monthly fees of at least Rp 10,000. The special savings accounts have been dubbed Tabungan Ku, meaning “my savings.”

“Savings products have become too expensive for low-income people, meaning they cannot save their money in a bank,” said Darmin Nasution, acting governor of Bank Indonesia. “Saving is very important for the country and for the people. It could be used to finance credit expansion and support economic growth. It could also enable a person to become known by their bank so it might be easier for them to get loans.”

At least 70 large commercial banks and 910 rural lenders had committed to participate in the nationwide program, which will be launched by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Saturday.

Lenders said they welcomed the new program because it could lead to new business possibilities in the future.

“The program is not an unprofitable program because it will make our society become more banking-minded. It is true that we will not charge administrative fees but we will compensate by offering lower interest [on accounts]. The interest is only 0.75 percent per year compared with 3 percent on normal savings accounts,” said Arwin Rasyid, president director of PT Bank CIMB Niaga.

DE Setijoso, president director of PT Bank Central Asia, said most savings products included a full package of features, such as ATM cards and Internet banking, which lead to higher administrative fees to cover operating costs.

“However, we began to see that not all people need those features — they might need a really simple product,” he said.

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