"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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Thursday, May 31, 2012

IMF chief Christine Lagarde pays NO TAX on her £300,000 salary (despite attacking Greece for dodging payment)

Daily Mail, 29 May 2012

  • Questioned about Greek crisis head of IMF said country can help itself collectively 'by paying all their tax'
  • Suggests that IMF's money would be better spent on African children than on people in Athens
  • Lagarde takes home £298,675-a-year untaxed
  • Receives further tax-free allowance package of £52,000
  
Laughing all the way to the bank:
 IMF managing director Christine Lagarde
 criticised beleagured Greeks for not
 paying taxes, while she earns a tax-free
salary herself
The head of the International Monetary Fund who controversially proposed that struggling Greeks should pay taxes contributes nothing herself to the public purse.

Christine Lagarde openly criticised citizens of the ailing EU country in an interview last week, but it has now emerged that the former French lawyer takes home every penny of her own £298,675 a year salary.

In addition the IMF managing director also receives a tax-free allowance package of £52,000 a year.

Ms Lagarde told the Guardian that she believes children in Niger with little schooling deserve the fund's money more than people in Athens.

She continued: 'Do you know what? As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time.

'All these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax.'

She added: 'I think they should also help themselves collectively. By all paying their tax.'

Lagarde also criticised Greek citizens 'who are trying to escape tax,' and said the country needs to club together to make more of an effort to solve its economic problems.

Her comments came as the IMF increases the pressure on the Eurozone nation and makes it clear it will not be softening the terms of the nation's austerity package that is deeply unpopular with the country's electorate.

More...

The former French finance minister took over from disgraced countryman Dominique Strauss-Kahn in June last year with strong support including the British, U.S., Chinese and German governments and is now a year into her five-year term.

At the time the former French president Nicolas Sarkozy described her appointment as 'a victory for France.'

Others were less impressed however, with Oxfam labeling the decision 'farcical' because of what it judged to be a lack of transparency in the appointment process.

Imposing: The headquarters of the IMF in Washington is where representatives
 of 184 countries aim to work together to foster global monetary cooperation
and secure financial stability

Mr Strauss-Kahn had been forced to step down under a media storm after he was charged with sexually assaulting a New York hotel maid - the charges were later dropped.

Lagarde, 56, who began her career at Chicago-based law firm Baker & McKenzie, earns more than US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron who both pay taxes.

Mr Obama earns around £255,000 a year while Mr Cameron receives a salary of £142,000 for running the country.

Lagarde's salary could also go up in a few weeks as her contract entitles her to a pay rise on July 1 every year.

Lagarde does not pay tax in line with other international organisations such as the United Nations where workers are entitled to a similar tax break.

It comes under article 34 of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations which declares that diplomatic agents are 'exempt from all dues and taxes, personal or real, national, regional or municipal.'

Contributors: Christine Lagarde earns more than both Barack Obama, left,
and David Cameron, right

Annual pay for UN workers start at between £29,000 to £51,000 with senior salaries range between £61,000 and £80,000 although this figure varies depending on where an employee is based.

A UN worker based in Geneva could expect to see their base salary increased by 106 per cent while even in Juba, the relatively poor capital of South Sudan, a UN worker could anticipate a 53.2 per cent top up of their salary.

Additional perks include rent subsidies and travel expenses, as well as subsidised medical insurance.

Frustration at the luxury, tax-free lifestyles of international public service workers is not a new issue, the argument dates back to the moment the IMF was created at the Bretton Woods economic conference in 1944.

British representatives felt salaries put forward by U.S. delegates were huge, but they were overruled.

The counter argument suggested by those who work for the organisation is that the whopping salaries are required to attract the best people from the well paid private sector.

However, studies have found that in fact most senior employees are already working in government positions.


Related Article:


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

China and Japan will start direct currency trading

Deutsche Welle, 29 May 2012



For the first time, China is going to let a major unit other than the dollar swap with its national currency. Beijing and Tokyo have agreed to start direct trading within days, with no bucks involved.

The two Asian economic powerhouses, China and Japan, will begin direct trading of their currencies from June 1, the governments in Beijing and Tokyo confirmed on Tuesday. The US dollar as an intermediary currency will no longer be used in bilateral operations.

"The move is to promote bilateral trade, facilitate the use of the yuan and the yen in international trade settlements and lower the cost of conversion," the China Foreign Exchange Trade System said on Tuesday.

China's central bank said it would support what it viewed as an important step in strengthening bilateral cooperation and developing financial markets. The direct currency trading decision came on the back of preparatory talks between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda last December.

Hedging against risks

Chinawill set a daily rate based on dealer quotes, with trade allowed to move within a 3.0-percent band above or below that figure. This compares with a 1.0-percent band of variance fixed to yuan-dollar trading. No fixed rates will be set in Tokyo trading, though.

"From June 1, the yen-yuan exchange rate will be constantly indicated in both markets, facilitating full-fledged exchange trading," Japan's Finance Minister Jun Azumi told reporters in Tokyo. "By not using the dollar as an intermediate currency, we can lower transaction costs and reduce settlement risks at financial institutions," Azumi added.

Chinais Japan's largest trading partner, with bilateral trade valued at $345 billion (275 billion euros). At present, an estimated 60 percent of commerce between China and Japan is settled in US dollars.

hg/mll (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
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Sunday, May 27, 2012

In growing Africa, where is Indonesia?

The Jakarta Post, by Veeramalla Anjaiah,  Jakarta, Fri, 05/25/2012

Alice Mageza: (JP/P.J. Leo)

Many people in Indonesia still consider Africa a backward continent, the epitome of extreme poverty, hunger, disease, drought, civil war and dictatorships. But now Africa, once known as the “dark continent”, is shining and full of surprises.

“Africa, which has long been stigmatized by its negative image as an area rife with disease, famine and civil war, has now been transformed into a region of rapid economic development,” Riyadi, an official from the Foreign Ministry’s directorate of African affairs, said at a seminar recently.

A similar view was echoed by the dean of the diplomatic corps, Zimbabwean Ambassador to Indonesia Alice Mageza, in connection with the celebration of Africa Day, whose theme is “Boosting Intra-African Trade”, on Friday.

 “It is remarkable to note that despite a global economic slowdown, African countries’ average growth rate reached 5 to 6 percent in 2011, some even posted double-digit growth rates,” Ambassador Mageza, who is also the dean of the Group of African Ambassadors, told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

Africa Day is celebrated by all Africans every May 25, symbolizing the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963. In July 2002, the OAU transformed into the African Union (AU) , which has currently 54 members. Morocco, a North African country and one of the founders of the OAU, is not a member of the AU but African solidarity has not diminished in Morocco.

“Moroccan diplomacy has always worked in order to place the issue of African development as central to international concerns,” Moroccan Ambassador to Indonesia Mohamed Majdi, told the Post on Thursday.

Africa is not only promising but some countries are actually booming and the rapid economic growth is poised to continue in 2012.

According to the EconomyWatch website, six of the world’s 12 fastest growing economies in 2012 will be from Africa: Niger, Angola, Liberia, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Zambia.

Despite old problems of poverty and underdevelopment, democracy is blossoming in Africa and gender equality is improving, particularly in Rwanda where women lawmakers outnumber men. Africans have more mobile phones than Europeans or Americans. Foreign investors are flocking to Africa. And the list goes on.

But the question is where is Indonesia in this fast-growing Africa?

Indonesia has a good image among Africa’s 54 countries, including the new nation of South Sudan, thanks to Jakarta’s leading role in organizing the Bandung Conference in 1955 to boost solidarity among Asian and African countries and liberate both continents from colonialism. In 2005, Jakarta hosted the Asian-African Summit (AAS), which yielded the historic Declaration on the New Asian African-Strategic Partnership (NAASP).

Though there has been an increase in trade and investments since 2005, Indonesia, the biggest economy in Southeast Asia, lags behind its Asian peers like China, India, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia.

Indonesia’s exports to Africa reached US$5.56 billion in 2011, while imports touched $3.99 billion. Overall trade surged to $9.55 billion in 2011, a huge jump from the $4.76 billion in 2009.

These trade figures are far below the figures of China and India, who gained maximum benefit from the NAASP. For example, China’s trade with Africa in 2011 jumped to $160 billion, a 16-fold surge from a mere $10.6 billion in 2000. India’s trade with Africa was valued at $62 billion in 2011.

Only a few Indonesian firms like Indorama, Indofood, Wika, Garuda Food, Medco and Bakrie Group had invested in several African countries. But their investments are small in nature.

The time has come for Indonesia and its businesses to focus more on this rising Africa, which offers numerous opportunities in oil and gas, diamonds, cocoa, cotton and minerals. Most African countries need Indonesia’s prime products like palm oil, coal, coffee, rubber, tires, paper, electronics, automobiles, textiles, food, furniture and IT products.




Saturday, May 26, 2012

World Bank’s Sri Mulyani Says Asean Is Resilient To Europe Woes

Bloomberg, by Keiko Ujikane and Aika Nanao - May 25, 2012

World Bank Managing
 Director Sri Mulyani
Indrawati (Bloomberg)
Economies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are “resilient” to Europe’s sovereign debt woes, with governments having room for monetary and fiscal policy changes, World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati said.

“For countries, especially Asean countries who are very resilient to the crisis, they still have the ability to maneuver from their own policy space, whether this is on a fiscal side or a monetary side,” Sri Mulyani said in an interview in Tokyo yesterday. “That’s very important.”
 
Asian policy makers are under renewed pressure to support growth as the world grapples with the threat of a Greek exit from the euro. Greece’s political impasse has deepened the European crisis and sent Asian currencies and stockstumbling, adding to the uncertain outlook for exports and growth.

Sri Mulyani said developments in Europe will definitely affect Asia, especially East Asia, because of the region’s export-led growth model and deleveraging by European banks.

Growth in developing East Asia, which excludes Japan and India, will probably ease to 7.6 percent this year from 8.2 percent in 2011, according to a World Bank report released this week. The region’s economy will likely expand 8 percent in 2013, the report said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Keiko Ujikane in Tokyo at kujikane@bloomberg.net; Aika Nanao in Tokyo at ananao@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst at ppanckhurst@bloomberg.net

Friday, May 25, 2012

Former Social Minister to Be Released After Serving Term for Graft

Jakarta Globe, Rizky Amelia, May 25, 2012

Former Indonesian Social Minister Bachtiar Chamsyah will be a free
man soon. (Antara Photo)

Related articles

Former Indonesian Social Minister Bachtiar Chamsyah will be a free man soon.

“Bachtiar will be freed today, after the Friday prayer,” said Djufri, Bachtiar's lawyer. “He has completed his prison term.”

In March 2011, the Jakarta Anti-Corruption Court sentenced Bachtiar to serve 20 months in prison for graft in the procurement of goods for victims of natural disasters by his ministry between 2004 and 2008.

The court also ordered Bachtiar to pay a Rp 50 million ($5,750) fine or spend an additional three months in jail. The sentence was lighter than the prosecutors' demand for three years in prison and a Rp 100 million fine.

Bachtiar has long maintained that he was not guilty of the charges, which prosecutors said had caused state losses to the tune of Rp 33.7 billion. He said Amrun Daulay, the director general of social security assistance at the ministry at the time of the alleged corruption, was responsible for the procurements, but had escaped prosecution because he was a member of the ruling Democratic Party.

He was charged with bypassing the tender process by directly appointing Ladang Sutera to supply 6,000 sewing machines and Dinar Semestal to provide sarongs for victims of natural disasters.

Vatican Bank chief Tedeschi dismissed

BBC News, 24 May 2012

Related Stories 

Mr Tedeschi is under investigation
for suspected money-laundering
The director of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, has been removed from his post for dereliction of duty, the Vatican says.

The bank's board of directors unanimously passed a no-confidence vote in Mr Tedeschi, a statement said.

It said he had failed "to carry out duties of primary importance", but it did not elaborate.

In 2010 Italian police launched an investigation against Mr Tedeschi as part of a money-laundering inquiry.

Members of the board believed Mr Tedeschi's dismissal was needed to "maintain the vitality of the bank", the Vatican statement said.

The board will now look for a new director to restore relations with the international financial community, "based on mutual respect for accepted international banking standards".

Mr Tedeschi declined to comment on his dismissal. He told journalists: "I'd rather say nothing, otherwise I'd say ugly things."

The Vatican Bank, known officially as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), was created during World War II to administer accounts held by religious orders, cardinals, bishops and priests.

It lost £250m in a scandal involving the collapse of one of Italy's biggest private banks - the Banco Ambrosiano - in 1982, with which it had close ties.

'Misunderstanding'

The Vatican Bank has been headed by Mr Tedeschi, 62, a trained economist, since 2009.

When Mr Tedeschi was placed under investigation in 2010, the Vatican said it was "perplexed and astonished", and expressed full confidence in Mr Tedeschi.

It said the matter was the result of a misunderstanding, and that none of its employees were involved in any wrongdoing.

As part of the inquiry, Italian tax police seized 23m euros ($29m, £18.4m) that the Vatican Bank had tried to transfer from a small Italian bank called Credito Artigianato.

A month later, the Vatican set up a new financial authority to combat money laundering and make its financial operations more transparent, ahead of an EU deadline.

Paolo Gabriele (bottom left) sees more of the
 Pope on a daily basis than most cardinals


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Indonesia Set to Cap Bank Owners’ Stakes: Sources

Jakarta Globe, Reuters, Rachel Armstrong and Janeman Latul, May 24, 2012

DBS wants to expand in Indonesia, and Bank Danamon
might be the way to do it. (Reuters Photo)
              
Related articles

Singapore/Jakarta. Indonesia’s central bank is set to limit the maximum stake a single shareholder can take in the country’s banks to below 50 percent, a move that could scupper Singapore-based DBS Group’s $7.3 billion bid for Bank Danamon.

DBS’s acquisition plans were thrown into limbo late last month when the Indonesian central bank said it would not approve the deal until it had published a long-awaited set of rules on bank ownership. Bank Indonesia did not disclose details of the rules at the time.

According to sources with direct knowledge of the plan, Bank Indonesia is expected to reduce the single-shareholder threshold from the current 99 percent to a level below 50 percent. That would likely ruin DBS’s plan to buy the 67.4 percent stake held by Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings in Indonesia’s Danamon, unless it negotiates an exemption.

The central bank is also expected to set out differing ownership rules depending on whether the shareholder is another financial institution, a non-financial institution or a family. Family shareholdings are expected to be given the lowest threshold, but all are expected to be under 50 percent. 

Those rules could also force several other large shareholders to sell down their stakes in Indonesian banks, including the Hartono family which holds a 47.6 percent stake in Bank Central Asia.

“There is some concern about local banks being taken over by foreigners, but that’s not the only concern that Bank Indonesia has. BI wants to change the rules so that shareholders can act as a check and balance against each other,” said Bono Daru-Adji, a partner at Assegaf Hamzah and Partners law firm in Jakarta.     

Bank Indonesia believes banning majority shareholders will prevent a controlling owner from abusing a bank’s operations for their own financial gain. 

Parallels in Southeast Asia

Restrictions on bank ownership already exist in other Southeast Asian nations. Malaysia caps foreign ownership of local banks at 30 percent. And in Singapore no single investor can own an interest of 5 percent or more of the voting shares of a domestic bank without the approval of the finance minister.

The Indonesian central bank has been mulling these rules for two years, but DBS’s swoop on Danamon is likely to have pushed it to finally get the rules in place.  One source said the planned new ownership thresholds suggest “on a government-to-government level there is a stand-off between Singapore and Indonesia.”

The rules are expected to be announced in June with the central bank’s board of governors set to hold a meeting on them next week.  They are expected to apply to domestic and foreign investors, although government-owned banks are unlikely to be affected. 

What has added to the confusion over the DBS-Danamon deal is that DBS is yet to publish a formal acquisition plan in the Indonesian press, a step required by law in order for such a deal to go ahead.

“It’s fair for BI to say they don’t know there is an acquisition of Danamon by DBS because currently there hasn’t been any acquisition plan announced in the newspaper yet as required by BI regulation and Indonesian company laws,” Assegaf Hamzah’s Adji said.

When this matter was raised during a regulation conference in Singapore last week, DBS’s corporate secretary, Linda Hoon, said the plan is in the process of being drawn up and that the lender has taken extensive legal advice on the matter. However, she added at the event that there are concerns new regulation could prove an obstacle.

“The bank is still concerned about changes that could come from BI and Bapepam (the capital markets regulator),” she said.  

A spokeswoman for DBS said the bank is still awaiting BI’s formal announcement on the new rules. 

Wider Impact

Danamon shares soared more than 50 percent when the DBS deal was first announced, but its shares have fallen 16 percent from that peak given the ongoing uncertainty. Were DBS to abandon its acquisition plans, Temasek would still be forced to eventually sell down its stake in Danamon in order to comply with the new rules. 

Worries about the new rules, though, stretch beyond DBS and Danamon. New regulation is not expected to affect state-controlled lenders such as Bank Mandiri, but a score of banks, which already have foreign controlling shareholders, could see enforced divestment.  This would include CIMB Niaga, controlled by Malaysia’s CIMB Group, and Bank Internasional Indonesia which is controlled by Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank) . 

That would fuel concerns that Indonesia is becoming increasingly hostile to foreign investment, given recent proposals that limit foreign ownership in mining companies to 49 percent.  Bank Indonesia deputy governor Muliaman D. Hadad told reporters on Wednesday that the bank is aware of the concerns.

“We have heard some concerns, we pay attention to those, though we cannot disclose yet what it’s going to be. We have calculated, there will be a long time for adjustment,” he said.

Russia pays tribute to US budget

Pravda, 21.05.2012

There are many elementary things that recieve no attention at all, although they can be extremely important. If you take a Russian banknote in your hands, you will see that it says: "Note of the Bank of Russia." If you take a look at Soviet banknotes, you will see that they say: "State Treasury Note." It means that it is not the Russian state that makes the money that all Russians use in their everyday lives today. This is a consequence of 1991 - the time when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Modern-day bank notes are made in today's Russia on the base of the Constitution, as well as on the base of the laws about the Central Bank. The production volumes of today's banknotes in Russia are proportionate to the volume of the purchased virtual foreign currency. In other words, in order to pay, let's say, a note of 100 rubles to a cashier in a supermarket, the Russian economy has paid the United States of America the face value of this note.

If we add the structure of the Russian reserves, the general systems of balance of payments, the crediting mechanism - i.e. the elements of economic sovereignty, which Russia does not have, - then we will see that today, Russia pays nearly $200-300 billion to the US. This amount corresponds to the taxes, which Russian tax-payers pay - without customs payments.

Conditionally, every Russian citizen pays two taxes. One of them goes to the Russian budget, and the other one - in the same amount - goes to the American budget. Russia spends this money on the inflation mechanism, because this money is withdrawn from the economy. Therefore, Russia will never solve the inflation problem until it solves the problem of the Central Bank. Hungary tried to do it, for example, but was punished for it.

Russia is not alone here, of course. America defeated many countries of the world. The above is not a specific problem of Russia. That is why the USA consumes a half of the world's GDP because they collect tribute from everyone, not just Russia. 

Sergey Fyodorov

State Duma deputy
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Indonesia forest moratorium won't meet climate pledge - Norway

Reuters, Jakarta, Tue May 22, 2012

(Reuters) - Indonesia's progress in reforming its forestry sector will not be sufficient to meet its pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2020, Norway's environment minister said on Tuesday.

Indonesia imposed a two-year moratorium on clearing forest last May under a $1 billion climate deal with Norway aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation, despite resistance from some government departments and from resource firms looking to expand in the archipelago.

Norway has been impressed by what Indonesia has achieved in terms of transparency in the forest sector and by a change towards being more pro-environment in policy debates around land use, said its environment minister, Bård Vegar Solhjell.

However, deforestation continues in areas not covered by the moratorium as well as illegally in the country's carbon-rich tropical forests and peatlands. Permits to clear land are often given out by local governors and there is a lack of central government enforcement.

"We know that the moratorium itself is not sufficient to reach the climate mitigation pledged, or to stop deforestation in the speed that is necessary," Solhjell told Reuters in an interview.

It was the first time Norway indicated the moratorium may not be sufficient.

Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed up to the Norway deal and moratorium as part of his pledge to slash emissions this decade, but there have been few other policy steps to curb emissions in the fast-growing G20 economy.

"It's a very progressive pledge but it's also very challenging to actually put it into place," said Solhjell.

The country is attracting increasing foreign investment in manufacturing industries such as steel, cement and power that are all heavy emitters of greenhouse gases, while sales of energy-guzzling SUV cars, mobile phones and flights are surging.

Higher energy demand from power use, mainly produced from coal, will boost carbon emissions. Indonesia does not provide annual emissions data, though the World Bank rated it as the world's third largest emitter in 2005 because of deforestation.

SELLING PERMITS

The $1 billion Norway has promised under the deal is contingent on policy change and proven emissions reductions from the forestry sector. The forestry ministry makes billions of dollars from selling permits to use forests each year.

Only months after Yudhoyono signed the forest moratorium, the former governor of the country's westernmost Aceh province breached the ban by issuing a permit to a palm oil firm to develop carbon-rich peatland.

The permit prompted legal action from environmental groups and investigations by the police and several government bodies, making the case a test of the country's commitment to halt deforestation in the world's largest exporter of palm oil.

After the investigation, the government said on Monday that the permit was issued to palm oil firm Kallista Alam without following proper procedures, and that it would protect the strip of peatland in Aceh.

The forest, home to endangered orangutans, was partly cleared by burning even before the permit was issued, said Mas Achmad Santosa, a government official.

"The case of Kallista Alam in Aceh is the typical problem we are facing ... some parts have been turned to palm oil plantations, some have been burned, and it turned out the permit does not exist," said Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, who is in charge of overseeing forestry sector reform.

(The story was corrected in para 6 to make clear Norway's view on moratorium not being sufficient.)

(Reporting by Olivia Rondonuwu; Editing by Neil Chatterjee and Robert Birsel)




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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Freedom of Indonesian journalists under threat

Deutsche Welle, 16 May 2012



The democratic country's Press Law guarantees freedom of expression, but Indonesia's journalists are often threatened with violence, especially when they are reporting on corruption.

When the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters without Borders published its Global Freedom of the Press rankings for 2011 earlier this year, a whole series of letters of complaints arrived at the organization's headquarters from Indonesian journalists who felt their professional reputation had been attacked.

Indonesia had slumped 29 places in the Global Freedom of the Press rankings, down to 146, from 117 in 2010. However, this had nothing to do with the quality of Indonesian journalism, but everything to do with the increasing cases of intimidation and violence, including kidnapping and killing, against journalists.

"It is clear that the violence has a huge impact in terms of the score of the country in the index," Benjamin Ismail, the head of the Asia-Pacific desk at Reporters Without Borders, told Deutsche Welle. He added that there had been many incidences of violence against journalists conducting research on people in high places.

Guaranteed in law but not reality

Even though, freedom of the press is guaranteed by Article 4 of Indonesia's 1999 Press Law and Article 18 says those who prevent journalists from working can be handed a maximum jail sentence of two years and/or fined up to 42,000 euros, the reality is very different. 

Eko Maryadi is worried about the
future of press freedom
Two journalists have been killed this year already - in Aceh and West Papua. "In the past five years, we have recorded 12 cases of murdered journalists in Indonesia. Only one case has been investigated. The killer was sent to jail," Eko Maryadi, the head of the Alliance of Independent Journalists in Indonesia, told DW.

According to the New-York based Committee for the Protection of Journalists in Indonesia, most of the murdered journalists were reporting about rampant corruption.

'Envelope journalism'

However, the profession itself is not free of corruption. Amplop, or "envelope," journalism is not uncommon in Indonesia, with journalists accepting bribes to report favorably about private individuals, companies or state officials. Maryadi, who believes "envelope journalism" poses one of the biggest threats to free and independent reporting, blamed the fact that journalists tend to be underpaid.

He named media mogul Hary Tanoesoedibjo as an example of the problems that arise when media conglomerates and politics come together. The owner of three of Indonesia's national television stations joined the newly-established Nasdem Party last fall. "Not one day goes by when Nasdem is not a topic," complained Maryadi.

For his part, Budiman Tanuredjo from Indonesia's leading daily newspaper Kompas said he did not feel pressure on a daily basis, but he thought that there is still a "long long way to go because we face so many problems." 

Indonesia's leading magazines
warn their reporters to be careful
"We tell our reporters to be careful when they are writing about companies with big names," he explained.

Ismail, from Reporters Without Borders, also said that detrimental influence could also come from abroad. "We have observed that justice is influenced by external actors, such as extremist groups, or even foreign powers like China," he said.

Last September, a local radio station in Riau province, Radio Era Baru (New Era Radio) was forcibly shut down by military police and local police officials. Ismail told DW that the station had been critical of human rights violations in China.

Author: Gero Simone / act
Editor: Gregg Benzow
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Yudhoyono Tells North Korea’s Kim Yong Nam to Be Transparent on Satellite Issue

Jakarta Globe, Arientha Primanita & Antara, May 15, 2012

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono welcomed North Korea’s President
 of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, Kim Yong Nam at the
 Presidential Palace on Tuesday. The leaders conducted bilateral meetings to
increase cooperation between the two countries. (Antara Photo)
               
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President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono underlined the importance of dialogue and communication to solve the problems in the Korean peninsula when he met with North Korea’s Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly Kim Yong Nam on Tuesday in Jakarta.

“Yudhoyono underlined that for whatever the problem is, misunderstandings should be avoided through dialogue and communication,” Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa said on Tuesday in a press conference regarding the visit.

Marty said Kim Yong Nam had explained to Yudhoyono that there were misconceptions about the launch of its communications satellite.

“In response to that information, Yudhoyono underlined that all parties should communicate to avoid misunderstandings,” he said. “Indonesia thinks there should be transparency and communication related to all problems in the Korean peninsula.”

Marty said the two leaders did not further discuss the satellite launch or human rights violations.

North Korea launched what they insisted was a satellite in early April, but the US and its allies said it was a barely disguised missile test.

Regarding the UN’s resolution concerning North Korea’s satellite launch, Marty said Indonesia respected it but did not consider isolating the country a solution.

“Indonesia respects the UN resolution on North Korea,” he said. “But aside from the resolution, we want to establish communication, we are not justifying what happened in North Korea, but we see the possibility to fix it with communication instead of isolation.”

Indonesia is one of the few countries that maintains good relations between the two Koreas. It has repeatedly sought to assist international efforts to establish peace in the Korean peninsula, but has so far not been involved in formal discussions.

“Our relations are good and have a long history. The visit of your Excellency President Kim this time marks a new milestone in efforts to enhance our cooperation and the partnership between the two countries in the future,” Yudhoyono said.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Planet, People and Profits: What It Means to Go Green

Jakarta Globe, Catriona Richards, May 15, 2012

Leaders in green businesses like Shinta Widjaja Kamdani of Kadin, left,
and Felia Salim of Bank BNI, second from right, attend the Sustainable
Business Awards ceremony last week. (JG Photo)
         
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Many corporate leaders believe that going green is an expensive business. They think they have to make money before they start spending money on the environment. But what these leaders don’t realize is that sustainable business is just good business.

The inaugural Indonesian Sustainable Business Awards, supported by the Jakarta Globe, were presented in South Jakarta on Wednesday to recognize the progress businesses here have made in developing sustainable initiatives.

The first of its kind in Indonesia, the awards program was established by international consultancy firms Climate Business and Global Initiatives, and was also supported by Indonesia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin).

The winners, from small-medium enterprises to big businesses, showed that for them, making money does not have to cost the Earth. In fact, since implementing sustainability initiatives, many of these companies found that their businesses improved.

United Tractors, the heavy equipment unit of Astra International, emerged as the overall winner for its focus on the environment, corporate social responsibility and management of human resources.

“Our concept of sustainability begins with the company philosophy that United Tractors is here for Indonesia,” said sustainability director Edhie Sarwono.

For United Tractors, a well-managed sustainability division, along with outreach programs that communicate the company’s vision for a green future to its employees and host communities, has paid for itself in improving productivity.

So why is it that so many companies are reluctant to think long-term about the impact of their business on the Earth?

Green Sense and Cents

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Bank BNI Vice President Director Felia Salim said that for her company, going green just made sense.

“We are in the business of supporting sustainable businesses,” Felia said. “So for us, sustainability makes good business sense.”

As an intermediary for businesses, Bank BNI found that by implementing sustainable initiatives, it has been able to attract clients with similar goals. In this way, aiming toward sustainability has not cost the company, but brought it more business.

New clients may only be a short-term benefit, but in the long-term, all businesses will need to start thinking about sustainability sooner or later.

“Companies cannot afford to not look at sustainability,” said Shinta Widjaja Kamdani, Kadin’s chairwoman for the environment and climate change.

Shinta said that realistically it’s time for Indonesia to catch up with the rest of the world when it comes to sustainable business practice.

Since 1992, big businesses from around the world have shown their commitment to environmentally friendly practices through their membership of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Speaking at the event, Tony Boatman from sustainability consultancy firm The Indela said that it is in every company’s interest to share their experience with green initiatives.

“We’re on the same planet, so it’s actually not a competitive thing. Business will need to transform,” he said.

Just last year, Kadin established the Indonesian Business Council for Sustainable Development, a body for Indonesian companies to share the best practices green initiatives.

“I think in Indonesia the idea of how to become a sustainable business is still in an early stage,” Shinta said. “There has to be a breakthrough if we want this happening faster.”

What Does Green Mean?

Going green basically means trying to reduce a business’ impact on the natural environment. The idea is to develop a sustainable business that makes the most of the resources at hand, without depleting those resources completely.

But it’s not just about the environment. A sustainable business thinks about its impact on employees and the community as well.

In business, this is referred to meeting the “triple bottom line,” comprised of planet, people and profits. The aim is to develop all three, without compromising one for another.

“You can be as green as you like, but if the workforce isn’t happy then business is going nowhere,” said Alex MacGillivray, executive director of Climate Business.

Planet, people and profits may sound like a lot for a company to focus on, but MacGillivray said that in fact, the three cannot be separated.

“You can’t sort of pull out the green stuff and say, ‘Well that’s something different,’ it’s very integrated into the way the company’s run,” he said. “Sustainable business is very much part of being a well-run company.”

Green It Like You Mean It

The first thing to know about going green in business is that you have to be sincerely committed to it.

Studies have shown that while most consumers are willing to pay a little extra for products that they know are environmentally friendly, they are not prepared to fork out if they don’t believe the hype.

When businesses treat sustainability initiatives as something to tack onto their portfolio, rather than a whole-hearted effort to clean up their act, consumers are unlikely to buy it.

“Sustainable businesses, if they do it well, will have an advantage,” MacGillivray said. “But if a company has a sustainability program because they think they should do, or because the CEO or the CEO’s wife, thinks it’s a good idea or because they’re following the latest trend, actually they could lose money.”

The key, he said, is good marketing to make sure that the consumer understands the company’s intentions in switching to a green product or business model.

Another important factor is to make sure that the cost of that change is not passed on to the consumer in the form of a green premium.

Consumers may say in surveys that they are willing to pay more, but when it comes to the crunch, many will still choose the cheaper option.

“If you really believe in this stuff then you have to find a way of making it affordable so that it’s not a dilemma for a customer,” MacGillivray said. “It has to be a no-brainer for the consumer so that they can do what they’d prefer to do, but they don’t have to decide on price.”

The real challenge for Indonesia is not just to produce green products, but to make them affordable for the country’s majority low-income population.

The growing middle class may be developing an awareness about making ecological sustainable choices, but for the rest of the country, price is always the clincher. Businesses that are serious about making an impact here will put low-income earners first by developing products and services that provide a future for this market.

“Markets move faster than the government can introduce regulations,” said Felia from BNI. “Markets and consumers also have to push.”


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