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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Friday, March 30, 2012

Chevron Indonesia Graft Investigation Expands to Include BPMigas

Jakarta Globe, Rangga Prakoso | March 30, 2012

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The investigation into alleged graft surrounding an environmental restoration project administered by Chevron Pacific Indonesia has now expanded to include upstream oil and gas regulator BPMigas.

Andhi Nirwanto, the assistant attorney general for special crimes, said on Thursday that the regulator was under scrutiny because of its decision to reimburse CPI for the bioremediation project, despite allegations that it was never actually completed.

“We’re looking into the role of [BPMigas] because they paid out the reimbursement,” he said.

The bioremediation project in Duri, Riau, was intended to normalize the conditions of soil contaminated with toxic substances from CPI’s oil drilling.

CPI contracted the project to Green Planet Indonesia and Sumi Gita Jaya.

The work was to be paid for on a cost-recovery basis, meaning that CPI was reimbursed the full $23.4 million cost of the project by BPMigas.

But investigators, acting on a tip, say they believe the work was never completed.

Instead, they allege, someone pocketed the money from BPMigas without first conducting the agreed-upon environmental repair work.

Andhi said that the Attorney General’s Office was working closely with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in the investigation.

“If indeed the KPK has any data about the Chevron case, they will hand it over to us,” he added.

The AGO has named seven suspects in the case, including five officials from CPI and one each from Green Planet and Sumi Gita.

Earlier this month, it announced it had sought travel bans for all seven, but on Thursday said the request had been denied by the immigration department on a technicality.

“One of the requirements for a travel ban application is a picture of the suspect, which we didn’t have,” Attorney General Basrief Arief said.

He said investigators would get pictures of the suspects later on Thursday before deciding on whether to re-file the travel ban request.

A spokesman for Chevron, Yanto Sianipar, previously denied the allegations, insisting the company was not guilty of any wrongdoing in a project it said was closely monitored by the Environment Ministry.

It also denies the AGO’s claims that the project cost $270 million, saying the figure covers all its environmental projects in the country.



A logo of Chevron Pacific Indonesia.
(Antara Photo)  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Asia Set to Double Reserve Pool as Europe Squeezes IMF

Jakarta Globe, March 28, 2012

A bank employee counts U.S. dollar notes during a photo
 opportunity at a bank in Seoul on May 4, 2010. Asian countries
 are looking to double their reserves in an effort to rely less
on the International Monetary Fund. (Reuters Photo)
              
Related articles

Asian policy makers are preparing to double a $120 billion reserve pool to defend the region against shocks, reducing their reliance on traditional backstops such as the International Monetary Fund as Europe saps resources.    

Officials meeting in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh this week will discuss boosting to $240 billion the so-called Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization agreement, a foreign- currency reserve pool created by Japan, China, South Korea and 10 Southeast Asian nations that took effect in 2010, said Wei Benhua, director of the fund’s surveillance unit in Singapore.    

Asian nations, holder of more than half of global reserves, are looking within themselves to protect the world’s fastest- growing region as Europe and the US struggle to recover from the worst economic slump since World War II. The IMF, which bailed out South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand during the 1997- 98 Asian financial crisis, estimates that the euro area will take up about 80 percent of its total credit in 2014.    

“The global financial crisis and Europe’s debt crisis show that when markets become irrational or extremely volatile, countries need all the resources they can get,” said Tai Hui, Singapore-based head of Southeast Asian economics at Standard Chartered. “When there are trillions sloshing around in foreign-exchange reserves in Asia, adding another $120 billion is very small.”                        

Crisis Prevention    

The aim of a larger reserve pool is “crisis prevention,” said Wei, who heads the Asean+3 Macroeconomic Research Office in Singapore and is a former deputy director at China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

Deputy finance ministers from Southeast Asia, China, Japan and South Korea will discuss the plan this week and submit it to their ministers for a May approval, he said.    

The countries have bolstered cooperation since the regional crisis almost 15 years ago, when Thailand’s baht devaluation set off a plunge in neighboring currencies and sparked a financial meltdown. Central banks are also diversifying their reserves and moving into yuan-denominated assets, while increasing bilateral currency swaps to support trade and investment.    

“The expansion is necessary because Europe’s crisis, though it appears to be calming down for now, hasn’t completely disappeared,” Fumihiko Igarashi, Japan’s Vice Finance Minister, told reporters March 26. “There remains the risk of the contagion and we should enhance Asia’s resilience which may be caused by fund withdrawals by European lenders from Asia. We need to prepare for the worst case scenario.”    

Help from developed countries and the global institutions led by them may be limited as Europe’s debt crisis is prolonged. European ministers meet this week to discuss enlarging their crisis fund as the cost of saving the region’s economies from bankruptcy exceeds 385 billion euros ($514 billion).                        

Europe’s Options    

Euro-area finance ministers are weighing their options on the temporary European Financial Stability Facility, which manages rescue programs for Ireland, Portugal and Greece, and its permanent successor, the European Stability Mechanism. They may decide to increase their crisis fund to a total capacity of 692 billion euros from a current limit of 500 billion euros when they meet March 30, a euro-area official said.    

Reports in Thailand today showed exports rose for the first time in four months while manufacturing slumped for a sixth month in February. The US may report a rebound in durable goods orders, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.    

The Chiang Mai Initiative supplements existing international financial arrangements through currency swap transactions among member nations if needed, or can act as a backstop for those facing balance-of-payments or short-term liquidity difficulties. The swap agreements have not been tapped.                        

Access to Reserves    

The proposed increase in the Chiang Mai Initiative will be a fraction of the foreign-currency holdings that Asian nations have accumulated, totaling more than $6.5 trillion. China alone has about $3.2 trillion of reserves, followed by Japan’s holdings of more than $1.2 trillion.    

The pool widens access to reserves that will allow countries such as Indonesia and Thailand, recipients of IMF bailouts during the Asian crisis, to defend their currencies in times of turmoil. The IMF loaned more than $100 billion to the two nations and South Korea, and governments were forced to cut spending, raise interest rates and sell state-owned companies in return.    

Still, regional safety nets do not erase the need for global ones, Singapore central bank Managing Director Ravi Menon said in January. It is in the interest of Asian countries to have the IMF continue playing an “active role” in the region and complement regional financing arrangements such as the Chiang Mai Initiative, he said.                      

Capacity Diminished    

“Where a crisis is largely regional in nature, contagion can be rapid and the capacity of a regional safety net can be diminished,” Menon said. “Global safety nets may well be necessary as a complement in situations like these.”    

Swap agreements have been used to increase currency liquidity during emergencies. The US Federal Reserve and other central banks established swap lines in December 2007 to boost dollar liquidity. The use of the swaps peaked at $583.1 billion in December 2008, with deals encompassing 14 other central banks. The swap arrangements were revived in May 2010 when the debt crisis in Europe worsened.   

With Asia continuing to lead global growth and being the recipient of capital inflows as investors seek higher returns, Standard Chartered’s Hui said it’s timely for officials to boost regional safety nets.    

“When the emergency does hit, you always wish you have more rather than less,” Hui said.

Bloomberg

Chevron executives banned from leaving RI

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Wed, 03/28/2012

The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) banned seven suspects in a corruption case that has implicated US-based energy company PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia from traveling outside the country.

The suspects comprised five executives of Chevron and two executives of contractor companies, PT Green Planet Indonesia and PT Sumigita Jaya, which carried out Chevron’s environmental remediation project allegedly causing US$270 million in state losses.

AGO spokesman Ado Toegarisman said that the measure was taken because his office needed the suspects’ testimony.

“The travel ban request will be sent to the Immigration Directorate,” he said as quoted by kontan.co.id on Wednesday.

Chevron’s vice president for government policy and public affairs, Yanto Sianipar, said that his company had yet to receive information regarding the travel ban, however, “We will comply with the ruling,” Yanto said.

The AGO accused the company of appointing unqualified companies to carry out the project between 2003 and 2011 and considered the project fictitious. Chevron, however, dismissed the allegations, saying that the company had complied with the government’s regulation in every process of the project and had submitted the project report and evaluation to upstream oil and gas regulator BPMigas and the Environment Ministry. 


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A logo of Chevron Pacific Indonesia.
(Antara Photo) 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Royal Bank of Scotland to Shut Down Indonesian Equities Division in Asian Asset Sell Off

Jakarta Globe, Vikram Subhedar and Saeed Azhar, Reuters, March 20, 2012

Related articles

Hong Kong/ Singapore. Royal Bank of Scotland is closing its equity capital market and corporate finance units in South Korea and cash equities businesses in Indonesia, Korea and Singapore in the latest move to cut the size of its struggling investment bank.

The decision sheds light on the British lender’s recent agreement with CIMB Group Holdings for the sale of Asian assets, signalling that Malaysia’s second-biggest bank is eyeing RBS’s Hong Kong, India and Australian businesses to boost its investment banking presence in Asia. The plan is in line with Chief Executive Nazir Razak’s ambitions to make CIMB a leading Asian financial services firm.

CIMB has in recent years significantly boosted its presence in Southeast Asia through banking and brokerage assets acquisitions in Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. CIMB said earlier this month that it had entered into exclusive talks with RBS to acquire some of its Asia-Pacific cash equities and investment banking businesses. 

“The main idea behind the acquisition is for CIMB to secure a presence beyond ASEAN,” said Chris Eng, head of research at Malaysian broker OSK. “The main markets that will benefit them from RBS are places they don’t have, such as Hong Kong, Australia and Northeast Asia.”

An RBS spokeswoman said 70 employees would be impacted by the closure of the units and that it would work closely with CIMB to conclude the deal for the other Asian units. 

“For commercial reasons, we have agreed with CIMB that the cash equities, ECM and corporate finance businesses in Korea and cash equities in Indonesia and Singapore will not ultimately transfer as part of the sale,” RBS said. “We have therefore made the decision to initiate steps to wind down these businesses commencing today.” 

A significant chunk of RBS’ operations are in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and India. It has offices in 11 countries across the region, including China. North Asia is a lucrative market for brokers as a recent study by Greenwich Associates showed that of the Asian equity commissions paid by institutions to brokers, approximately 42 percent originated with trades of Hong Kong and Chinese stocks, compared with 41 percent recorded in 2010.  

South Korea is a distant second with a 14 percent share of Asian equity commission payments, followed closely by India at 13 percent. Southeast Asia accounts for a small portion of commissions although allocations have increased in 2011 from 2010, the report said. But it is unlikely to be easy sailing for CIMB in Hong Kong, where Wall Street and European banks control a sizeable portion of the cash equities and investment banking business. The deal with CIMB came after an auction for the sale of Asian assets of RBS attracted interest from firms including Bank of China and Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group. 

RBS has halved the size of its investment bank as part of a major retreat since its 2008 taxpayer bailout, and has been forced by the British government and lower profitability across the industry to extend the retreat further. Earlier this year, the bank had said it would exit its cash equities, corporate broking, equity capital markets and mergers and acquisitions businesses globally.         

Reuters

Monday, March 19, 2012

Indonesian Acts in 'Giving Back to Society'

The New York Times, by Liz Gooch, March 18, 2012

SINGAPORE — “You have to give people the bait, not the fish,” said Tahir, the founder of a vast Indonesia-based business empire. “The fish, you can finish it in a week. But you give them the bait — the talent, the education — they can use this for their whole life.”

Mr Tahir, ST (Photo: Desmond Foo) 
It is this philosophy that has guided the philanthropic endeavors of Mr. Tahir, who goes by one name, and whom Forbes named the 15th-richest Indonesian last year. His beneficiaries include universities in Indonesia, Singapore, China and the United States.

Mr. Tahir, founder of the Mayapada Group, whose interests include banking, property, hospitals and media, has poured millions of dollars into universities, often in funding for needy students and most recently medical research.

While there is a growing culture of giving to higher education institutions in Asia, Mr. Tahir takes a more hands-on approach than many other donors.

Mr. Tahir, who came from a humble background, is now seeking to impart what he has learned on his way to becoming a tycoon whose net worth Forbes estimates at $1.4 billion. He is also the first Southeast Asian to sit on the board of trustees of the University of California, Berkeley.

Mr. Tahir, born in the Indonesian city of Surabaya in 1952, says his family struggled financially during his early years, when his parents ran a pedicab business, leasing the three-wheel vehicles out to drivers.

By the time Mr. Tahir had finished high school, his family could afford to send him to university, although his academic career would feature a few false starts. First, he tried civil engineering at a university in Surabaya but only lasted a semester. Then he went to Taiwan, where he had been accepted into medical school, but he only stayed a month before his father fell ill and he returned home.

At the age of 20, Mr. Tahir found his calling at the business school at Nanyang University in Singapore. Every month he would return to Surabaya with products from Singapore department stores — women’s clothing, children’s bicycles — and capitalize on Indonesians’ desire for imported goods to help fund his schooling.

He returned to the classroom at 35, completing a master’s degree in finance through an overseas program offered by Golden Gate University at Singapore Management University. Mr. Tahir said his belief in the importance of education had only grown over the years.

“The strength of a family, or the country or an organization or business entity does not just purely depend on the current management but more it depends on how you prepare the future generations to take over,” he said in an interview in Singapore.

Mr. Tahir, who serves as the deputy chairman on the board of trustees at Pancasila University in Jakarta, has donated about 30 billion rupiah, or $3.27 million, to 10 state universities in Indonesia, mostly in the form of scholarships for needy students.

He is planning to donate 10,000 laptops to underprivileged Indonesian high school students who rank in the top 5 percent academically, at a cost he estimates at $3 million.

“We see around us so many needy students,” he said. “They lost the opportunity to go to school. I think that inspired me. We have to pay more attention to education.”

Mr. Tahir said he “owed” Indonesia because the country had given him the “chance to make a living, to feed my children and now I have a little bit of achievement.”

“So taking from society, giving back to society — I think this is a very core principle of the Eastern values,” he said.

Mr. Tahir’s largest donation to date has been to the National University of Singapore. He donated 30 million Singapore dollars, or about $24 million, this year for medical research. Mr. Tahir, a Singapore permanent resident, said he had an “emotional relationship” with the university because it was akin to his alma mater and because his son is an alumnus. (Nanyang University merged with the University of Singapore to form the National University of Singapore.)

“The Singapore education system is good, so a lot of Indonesians come to study in Singapore from primary school up to university level,” he said.

Mr. Tahir has also made donations to several universities in China and two in the United States. Last year, Mr. Tahir, whose three daughters attended the University of California, Berkeley, donated $1 million to the Haas School of Business there to provide scholarships to international M.B.A. students primarily from Asia. Mr. Tahir was appointed to Berkeley’s board of trustees in 2007.

 “Dr. Tahir was an obvious choice for the U.C. Berkeley Foundation Board of Trustees because of his connection and passion for Berkeley and for his many personal strengths as an ambassador for the university in Asia,” Scott Biddy, vice chancellor for university relations at Berkeley, said by email.

Tan Chorh Chuan, president of the National University of Singapore, said the number of alumni making donations to the university had grown recently, with more than 6,700 alumni contributing in the 2010 financial year, a 9 percent increase from the previous year.

“While the culture of giving to universities here is not as well established as in the U.S., it is gaining traction in recent years,” Mr. Tan said in an e-mail. “We are working hard to engage our alumni, supporters and friends on the critical value and impact of N.U.S.’s work — in education, research and service — to Singapore, Asia and beyond.”

Chua Beng Hwee, executive director for the Council for Advancement and Support for Education Asia Pacific, said that while Asian philanthropists had long been donating to various causes, including higher education, the trend was increasing.

“With Asia growing to be a global center of wealth, coupled with increasing geographical mobility, we are witnessing an enhanced philanthropic awareness towards giving to higher education in Asian countries,” she said.

Ms. Chua said Asian institutions were becoming more competitive, placing greater emphasis on research, adopting a global outlook and climbing up the global varsity rankings.

“With more and more leaders and philanthropists, or their children, having studied at or having some form of relationship with Asian universities, it is no surprise that increasingly more are giving to these institutions,” she said. “An interesting observation is that the Asian way of giving is based very much on relationships and gratitude.”

Universities must work more closely with the private sector, Mr. Tahir said, so that business leaders are inspired to help. He added that public universities must also raise professors’ salaries to ensure that talented faculty members are not lured to the private sector.

He does not let governments off the hook, saying that countries like Indonesia must allocate more public funds to universities.

Mr. Tahir, who describes himself as a “devoted Christian,” said he considered his contribution as “a passion.”

“I like to see people get help,” he said. “I like to see people advance their study and become good in society and even better for the country.”


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Friday, March 16, 2012

Seven Suspects Named in Chevron Indonesia Graft Case

Jakarta Globe, March 16, 2012

A logo of Chevron Pacific Indonesia. (Antara Photo) 
    
Related articles
  
The Attorney General’s Office has named seven suspects in a graft case involving a Chevron Pacific Indonesia environmental project believed to have caused the state $270 million in losses.

“The seven suspects consist of five people from the company [Chevron] and two others,” the deputy attorney general for special crimes, Andhi Nirwanto, said in Jakarta on Friday.

He said the case was centered on Chevron’s bioremediation project, aimed at normalizing the condition of soil contaminated by waste from oil drilling activities.

The project, which took place in Sumatra and lasted from 2003 to 2011, cost $270 million.

“We’ve found traces of corruption there upon investigation. We’ll probe further into the case starting this week,” Andhi added.

He said Chevron hired Green Planet Indonesia and Sumi Gita Jaya to carry out the bioremediation project.

The two companies, however, are allegedly fictitious, and so is the project. The companies did not meet technical requirements or obtain any certificates to render them capable of waste processing.

Andhi did not disclose the seven suspects’ names, but added that the AGO had questioned Sampe L. Purba and Media Apriadi, two officials from BPMigas, the state regulator that oversees oil and gas exploration and production, as witnesses in the case.

Can You Trust Your News Media?

Jakarta Globe, Ismira Lutfia, March 16, 2012

A recent research says that the country’s broadcast stations are concentrated
 in the hands of just 12 major media holding companies in Indonesia.
(JG Photo/Jurnasyanto Sukarno)
    
   
Related articles

The increasing concentration of Indonesian media in the hands of just a dozen holding companies poses a threat to people’s right to information that is free of political and business interests, a study has warned.

“Our research shows that the market is the winner,” Shita Laksmi, a researcher from the nonprofit group Hivos Southeast Asia, said during a recent presentation of the research findings.

“Citizens and their right to information have been reduced to just consumers and their choices,” she added.

The study, carried out jointly by Hivos and the Center for Innovation, Policy and Governance, a research-based advisory group, and funded by the Ford Foundation, showed that despite the proliferation of media outlets across a broad range of platforms, a growing oligopoly in the industry was restricting people’s access to diverse information.

The research was conducted between July and December 2011 using a mix of in-depth interviews and secondary data analyses. It aimed to shine a light on the political economy of the media industry and its ownership, changes in media business patterns that have been taking place and how those factors have affected access to media content.

The 12 media groups identified in the study were MNC Group; Kompas Gramedia Group; JawaPos; Mahaka Media Group; Elang Mahkota Teknologi; CT Corp.; Visi Media Asia; Media Group; MRA Media; Femina Group; Tempo Inti Media; and BeritaSatu Media Holdings, the parent company of the Jakarta Globe.

Three of these groups are affiliated with political parties. MNC Group, which has three free-to-air television stations, a pay-TV service and numerous online and print media outlets in its portfolio, is owned by Hary Tanoesoedibjo, a senior official with the National Democrat (NasDem) Party.

The newly established NasDem Party was founded by Surya Paloh, owner of news station Metro TV and the Media Indonesia daily newspaper, both of which fall under the Media Group.

Visi Media Asia, which has two terrestrial television stations, TV One and ANTV, is owned by Aburizal Bakrie, a business tycoon and chairman of the Golkar Party.

CT Corp. is owned by businessman Chairul Tanjung, who has close ties to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, although he has no known political affiliation. His business empire extends to the banking, hospitality and property industries, and a hypermarket chain.

The study said it was apparent that citizens were being left on the periphery of the media sector despite its rapid growth, as owners turned their media into money-making commodities.

“Relying on the industrial setting in order to ensure citizens’ right to media will take us nowhere,” the study concluded.

“Citizens’ right to engage in the media sector has to be fought for, instead of being welcomed and accommodated by the industry.”

Another point raised was that despite the nature of the media as a public good, intervention by owners was common in the production of content, in keeping with their given business or political interests.

This was more evident in news reports, throwing the impartiality of the reporting into question and compromising the quality of the journalism, the study found.

Media analyst Ignatius Haryanto, who spoke at the presentation, said such intervention had given rise to news reporting that was not pertinent to public interests because it was crafted to serve the interests of the owners or their cronies.

Shita said, “The public has to understand that the news reports they see are not always true.”

She added that improving citizens’ media literacy was one way to counter the impact of such reporting, allowing the public to better filter out homogenous, interest-laden information.

The research also found that national policies had failed to regulate the media as an industry and that existing policies were incapable of mitigating the excessively profit-driven logic of media companies, thus leading to the emergence of the oligopoly.

Ignatius said that since Indonesia’s democratization, including press liberalization, began a decade ago, the development of the country’s media had been marred by a “tug-of-war” between industry players, the government, media regulators and civil society.

“This will continue to happen in the domain of media regulation, in which there are loopholes to shape the policy-making process and to tailor the policies in accordance with each group’s interests,” he said.

He cited the ongoing Constitutional Court review of an article in the 2003 Broadcasting Law, which was sought by a coalition of media activists who have challenged a provision on cross-ownership of broadcasting stations.

Yanuar Nugroho, the lead researcher in the study, said the rejuvenation of public broadcasters would be important to counter the tendency of private TV stations to churn out content that was produced merely to boost ratings.

“It would be impossible for private broadcasters to create a healthy public sphere for citizen interaction. That can only be introduced by public broadcasters,” he said.

B. Herry Priyono, a lecturer at the Driyarkara School of Philosophy, said that in addition to increasing the public’s media literacy, there also needed to be an assessment of media members’ professionalism.

“Journalism nowadays is considered merely a job instead of a commitment to deliver the people’s voice,” he said. “We need to reinvent that commitment.”

Friday, March 09, 2012

Indonesian Millionaire Arrested for Massive Wine Fraud in US

Jakarta Globe, March 09, 2012

Related articles

New York. An Indonesian millionaire who was once known as one of the world’s up-and-coming collectors and dealers of rare wines was arrested on Thursday and accused of trying to trick other wealthy buyers with more than $1.3 million worth of counterfeit bottles.

Rudy Kurniawan, 35, was arrested in Los Angeles, where he has lived in luxury for years despite a longstanding deportation order, US prosecutors said. He is charged in New York with repeatedly trying to sell sophisticated fakes of vintages that can trade for thousands of dollars per bottle.

The criminal charges follow years of increasing suspicions about Kurniawan among top wine connoisseurs. Some of his wines were pulled from a sale in 2007 after an auction house declared them to be fakes. The billionaire entrepreneur and wine investor William Koch sued Kurniawan in 2009, claiming that several bottles he’d purchased from him were phony.

Federal prosecutors in New York accused Kurniawan of engaging in “multiple fraudulent schemes” related to his wine business, including trying to sell 84 bottles of counterfeit Domaine Ponsot wine at an auction in 2008 and 78 bottles of bogus Burgundy wine from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti at an auction last February.

Prosecutors said Kurniawan also fraudulently obtained millions of dollars in loans to finance his playboy lifestyle.

“Mr. Kurniawan’s days of wine and wealth are over,” the US attorney for Manhattan, Preet Bharara, said in a statement.

One of Kurniawan’s lawyers, Henry Weissmann, didn’t immediately return a phone message on Thursday.

In a 2006 profile in the Los Angeles Times, Kurniawan boasted of buying nearly $35 million in wine that year, sometimes dropping $75,000 on a single case, and he talked of his own skill at sniffing out forgeries.

Investigators said in court papers that Kurniawan made some simple mistakes that led to his discovery. One of those bottles of Domaine Ponsot he tried to sell at auction in 2008 was passed off as having been made in 1929, even though the winemaker didn’t begin estate bottling until 1934.

Associated Press

Anticorruption to be taught in schools starting this year

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 03/09/2012

Anticorruption studies will be included in the curriculum at all levels of education starting this year, an official says.

Newly appointed Education and Cultural Ministry inspector general Haryono Umar, who is a former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) leader, said that the idea to insert anticorruption values into teaching and learning activities had been discussed since 2010. This year the ministry is finally ready to implement the plan.

The ministry, working with the KPK, has planned to conduct training-of-trainer activities at the university level next Monday, while training of trainers at the early education to high school levels will be carried out around the middle of this year.

“The materials for the training of trainers at the early education to high school levels will be completed at the end of this month,” Haryono said Friday at his office in Jakarta.

Haryono was inaugurated as the inspector general by Education and Cultural Minister Mohammad Nuh on Friday, kompas.com reported. (swd)

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

President asks businesspersons not to merely make profit

Antara News, Wed, March 7 2012

Related News

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Wednesday appealed to businesspersons to not only make profit but also prioritize social interests while doing business.

President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono. (ANTARA)
 
"Don`t make as much profit as possible at the cost of social interests," he said when inaugurating the head office of publicly-listed pharmaceutical product manufacturer PT Tempo Scan Pacific Tbk in South Jakarta on Wednesday.

The President said he did not object to businesspersons making profit, which according to him is one of ethics in the business world.

Profit will make companies stronger so they will have no reason to lay off their employees. The employees will lead an increasingly prosperous life if they are well paid as a result of the companies` improving profit, he said.

Yudhoyono said the improving profit of the companies must be followed by an effort to promote their workers` living standards.

In doing so, the companies must be able to produce low-cost goods or services, particularly for low-income people, while at the same time try to promote their employees` living standards, he said.

On the occasion, the President also asked national companies that have expanded their businesses abroad to continuously give priority to national interests.

The companies must always pay attention to the nation`s image by marketing products of national character, he said.

The President said he has instructed the concerned ministers to provide incentives to companies that employ workers in large numbers.

After inaugurating the head office of PT Tempo Scan Pacific Tbk, President Yudhoyono will attend the first plenary session of the National Energy Council later in the day.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Peres to tell AIPAC: Israel not 'rushing into war' with Iran

The Israeli president will also thank Obama for the assistance he has given Israel during the three-and-a-half years of his presidency.

Haaretz, by Barak Ravid, 4 Mar 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Shimon Peres will meet with President Barack Obama in the U.S. capital on Sunday. Peres will also tell delegates of pro-Israel lobby AIPAC that Israel is not rushing into a war with Iran.

President Shimon Peres (Photo: GPO)
Ahead of his meeting with the American leader, Peres will deliver a speech to AIPAC in which he will express his support for, and faith in, the friendship between Israel and the United States. He will also thank Obama for the political and security assistance he has given Israel during the three-and-a-half years of his presidency to date. 

Sources close to Peres told Haaretz on Saturady that the Israeli president's speech will focus mainly on the debt that Israel owes the U.S., the American people and Obama for the close ties between the two countries.

Peres will tell delegates attending the AIPAC conference that Israel should "get back to the basics" of the Israeli-American relationship, and that "sometimes it does no harm to say 'Thank you'." Peres will conclude his speech by saying he is "confident that the United States will always stand by Israel."

Peres will also dedicate a large portion of his speech to Iran, telling delegates that "Israel is not rushing into war. We are a country that always seeks out peace and peace is always our preferred option, but our enemies should make no mistakes. We have fought six wars that were forced upon us and we have won them all. If another war is forced upon us, we will fight it and we will win it."

Peres will also talk about the importance of renewing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Peace, he will say, is not just in Israel's interest, it is "a moral duty for the Jewish people."

Immediately after Peres' speech, Obama will take to the podium. The American leader is not expected to unveil any new initiative on the Iranian issue. Instead, he will reiterate a message he has been relaying for several months - that the United States will not allow the Islamic Republic to become a nuclear-armed power. Obama is expected to focus on the series of measures that his administration has taken to tighten security cooperation with Israel.

Sources close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, do not believe that Obama's speech will include anything dramatic on the Iranian issue, but, rather, that it will stress the severity of the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran and the United States' commitment to thwarting Tehran's aspirations on this front.

Netanyahu, who began his North America trip on Friday in Canada, told the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, that the international community should not allow what he called "Iran's relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons" to succeed.


Binyamin Netanyahu said to Barack Obama: 'When it comes
 to security, Israel has the sovereign right to make its own 
decisions.' Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images


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Shimon Peres urges Israelis to rally against extremism



(Religions – Zionism - March 1, 2012 - Matthew Channelled by Suzanne Ward)

9. It can be no other way—simply, this is the physics that governs life in this universe. As Earth continues apace into successively higher planes, nothing with low vibrations in any form—physical bodies, subversive plans, theft, dishonesty, unjust laws and imprisonment, bigotry, cruel customs and deeds—can survive.

10. Moving on, no, it will not be quite like religions being “totally discarded and replaced by universal laws in the Golden Age.” When the truths come forth that science and spirit are one and the same and that religious dogmas were originated by early leaders of church and state to control the masses, people whose consciousness has risen beyond the constraints of third density will adhere to the spiritual aspects of their respective religions and the devised, controlling aspects will fall by the wayside.

11. One of the truths to come forth is that Zionism, which by dark intent has been made synonymous with Judaism, actually is a bellicose political movement within the Illuminati, and its aim for more than six decades has been to create conflict and instability in the entire Middle East. Zionists, who have wielded powerful influence within and behind major governments and their military forces, do NOT represent the Jewish peoples in Israel or anywhere else. And, like all other Illuminati factions, they have been committed to that cabal’s goal of global domination.

12. Although Semites are of diverse national origins and religions, the Zionists have been successful in convincing many that “anti-Semitic” is exclusively prejudice against the Jewish peoples and opposition to Israel’s right to defend itself from its “enemies.” By means of that blatant distortion, they obtained not only world sympathy, but also massive defense funding from Israel’s allies, most especially the United States, all of which served to increase the Illuminati’s vast profits from their industrial-military machine.

13. In addition to controlling the masses through dogmatic teachings, religions have served the dark purpose of divisiveness to such an extent that it resulted in centuries of trauma and bloodshed. Witness the Crusades, wars between Catholics and Protestants, pogroms against Jews, executions of “blasphemous” individuals who refused to “recant.”  (Read More …)

Friday, March 02, 2012

New Chief Justice Says Courts Need Better Integrity, Security

Jakarta Globe, March 02, 2012

New Supreme Court chief justice Hatta Ali, left, being congratulated by his
predecessor Harifin A. Tumpa on Thursday. (Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)
 
           
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Indonesia’s newest Supreme Court chief has promised to improve the integrity of the country’s judges.

Hatta Ali, who was recently installed as the new Supreme Court chief justice, made his pledge a day after an attack at the Bandung Anti-Corruption Court sent ripples of concern through the judicial system.

Hatta said his primary focus would be on solving cases and improving the caliber of judges.

“I want men of justice to stop playing with cases. No more trading cases,” he said, admitting that it would not be easy to keep an eye on every judge in the country but insisting he was upbeat about their prospects.

The new chief justice said the growing backlog of Supreme Court cases would be cleared but also pointed to a diminishing pile, which he called a sign of the court’s improving performance.

Hatta took his oath as the new Supreme Court chief on Thursday before President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in a ceremony attended by cabinet ministers and other top officials.

Asked to comment about the United States’ offer to help secure Indonesia’s courts, Hatta said there was nothing wrong with accepting the offer as long as there was no hidden agenda.

“We will also consider it if other countries make the same offer because our courts do need security. In the West, they have [metal] detectors and some have bullet-proof [glass],” he said.

He also urged his peers to lower their suspicions about the offer of foreign aid, saying he was convinced that improved security would not compromise the courts’ independence because judges had been taught not to tolerate any outside intervention.

Poor security in the nation’s courts leapt to the public’s attention after a man apparently furious at corruption by civil servants launched a violent assault on a graft suspect in Bandung on Wednesday.

The 40-year-old man, whom police identified as D.S., lashed out at a prosecutor who had been charged with graft.

The prosecutor, Sistoyo, was on his way out of the courtroom when he was approached by D.S. The man slashed Sistoyo with a blade that he had concealed inside a newspaper, yelling “Traitor!”