"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. …

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jakarta Govt Initiates Non-Cash Transaction System

Jakarta Globe, SP/Deti Mega Purnamasari, December 24, 2013

The Jakarta administration and the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding on a non-cash transaction (NCT) system for the city that is hoped to help prevent instances of corruption among city officials.

Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo, the head of the Jakarta chapter of the BPK, Blucer Rajaguguk, and Eko Budi Wiyono, the president director of Bank DKI, signed the agreement.

“The NTC represents the turning over of a new leaf for the BPK and Jakarta,” Hadi Poernomo, the head of the BPK, said at the signing. “The Jakarta government already has records on all of the financial transactions conducted under its authority in the city. All offices of the Jakarta administration will have to abide [by the new system].”

Hadi said that the application of the system meant that corruption among the ranks of city officials could be reduced. He added that Jakarta will consequently also see its revenues rise.

He said that the system involved online cash transactions, and added that since the system could be centrally supervised, it provided no space for corruption.

Meanwhile, the Jakarta governor said that he will benefit from the system since he will be able to check, in real time, any transaction conducted in any of the city’s offices.

“With the application of the NCT system, the most important thing is that each transaction regarding the city budget, through Bank DKI, can be monitored in real time,” Joko said.

Joko said he was now able to directly check on revenues, bank deposits and money movement occurring in the city’s various government offices.

“The BPK will also be able to monitor the flow of money within the Jakarta government,” he said.

Joko said that although the MoU was only signed on Tuesday, the NCT system had actually already been operating for four days.

Related Article:

Indonesia’s civil service has long been regarded as inefficient, sapping at least a
 third of the annual state budget just to cover workers’ salaries. (JG Photo/Dana

Saturday, December 21, 2013

House Approves New Civil Service Bill

Jakarta Globe, Anastrasia Winanti & Carlos Paath, December 21, 2013

Indonesia’s civil service has long been regarded as inefficient, sapping at least a
 third of the annual state budget just to cover workers’ salaries. (JG Photo/Dana

The House of Representatives on Friday passed the civil service bill, designed to ensure that public servants perform to high standards, or else face dismissal.

“The law on the administrative reform is a benchmark for the long history of administrative reform in this country,” Azwar Abubakar, the administrative reform minister, said on Friday.

The new civil service law is set to replace the 1999 and 1974 laws on the civil service.

Azwar said with the new law, public servants would be judged on merit and competence. He said it would minimize the potential of corrupt practices commonly occurring among public servants.

The law will set performance targets for state institutions, and public servants who fail to perform over a three-year period will face dismissal.

Andrinof Chaniago, a public policy expert from the University of Indonesia, said while the newly passed law had been drafted well to accommodate a clean bureaucracy, it was crucial for the government to ensure it was enforced properly.

“Substantially, the law was very well written — the content should be sufficient to reform a messy bureaucracy — but it is the implementation of the law that I am afraid of, too many experiences have taught us that weak implementation will ruin everything,” he said.

Andrinof said the key to successful implementation was ensuring that the public knew their rights and obligations.

“Take some of the most important points and launch an aggressive campaign to inform the public, especially the parts that stipulate their rights as citizens. Only then can they be involved in monitoring the implementation of the law,” he said.

Andrinof said the government should also explain the new law to public servants on a continuous basis to prevent misunderstandings. Most new laws fail to work properly, he said, due to poor public awareness and participation in upholding them.

The government has announced a plan to add 17,000 new state employees by the end of this year.

Andrinof said rather than increasing the number of public servants, the government should trim the number as they have become a burden on the state budget.

The Indonesian civil service has long been regarded as corrupt and inefficient, sapping at least a third of the total state budget every year just to cover the salaries of government workers.

To reduce the bloat, the government instated a moratorium on the recruiting of new public servants in September 2011, but lifted it in December last year.

In October 2011, a month after the moratorium went into force, the country had 4.64 million civil servants, according to the Civil Service Administration Board.

At the end of 2012, after it was lifted, the number was down slightly to 4.46 million as a result of older bureaucrats retiring and no new ones being brought in.

Eko Prasojo, the deputy minister for state administrative reform, previously said it would take five years before the benefits of ongoing reforms in the bureaucracy would become apparent, given the mismanagement in the current system.

The government has drafted a master plan for bureaucracy reform composed of nine elements, including improving the structure of the bureaucracy; improving the quantity, distribution and quality of civil servants; and ensuring a transparent selection process and system of merit-based promotion.

Other programs include developing an online system for public administration and registration services, dubbed an e-government; simplifying the procedures for businesses applying for permits; requiring civil servants to submit wealth reports; improving the benefits for civil servants and ensuring efficiency in the use of facilities and infrastructure.

The government has committed to improving the quality of bureaucracy by 2025, part of its goal in maintaining economic growth at above 6 percent per year.

Eko said that should Indonesia fail to improve the quality of its bureaucracy, investment would dwindle and public trust would deteriorate.

A poor-quality bureaucracy is often identified as a hurdle to foreign investment in Indonesia. More than a decade of decentralization has shifted many responsibilities to underskilled local governments.

The government is also seeking to ensure civil servants are placed based on competency and to establish supervisory bodies for state institutions, as well as to restructure government ministries and institutions and improve budget efficiency, as well as integrity enforcement.

Eko said the problems in the bureaucracy were complex as they involved a huge number of people, and changing attitudes and mind-sets would not be easy.

He said the success of the bureaucratic reform effort could be gauged through public satisfaction and corruption perception indices.

The government is aiming for a public satisfaction score of 85.5 by 2014, on a scale of 0 to 100. It was 76.6 last year.

Minister Grilled Over Hambalang

Jakarta Globe, Novianti Setuningsih, December 21, 2013

The unfinished construction of Hambalang sports complex in Sentul, West Java.
(JG Photo/Jurnasyanto Sukarno)

The Corruption Eradication Commission on Friday summoned Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto for questioning in connection to a graft case involving the Hambalang sports center in Bogor, West Java.

“I came to the antigraft agency to provide information on the procedures involved in the submission of Hambalang’s multi-years contract,” Djoko said, adding that he left a copy of the report with the antigraft body known as the KPK.

Djoko was questioned for three hours about the procedures for the project, initially slated for one year, to receive multi-years funding.

It is reported that there was a deviation in the multi-years contract involving the required technical recommendation from the Public Works Ministry.

In his indictment, Deddy Kusdinar, a former Sports Ministry official charged with corruption in the awarding of the Rp 2.5 trillion ($207.5 million) contract to build the Hambalang sports center, stated that the commissioner of Metaphora Solusi Global (MSG), Muhammad Arifin, bribed several public officials Rp 135 million to complete the requirements.

Djoko insisted that he had no did not give the technical recommendations needed for the multi-years contract.

In a report submitted last October, the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) listed six instances of irregularities, or non-compliance of prevailing regulations and conditions, which resulted in a total of Rp 471 million in losses to the state — up from the initial estimate of Rp 243 billion — in the construction project.

The alleged graft came to light after politician Anas Urbaningrum was accused of having received kickbacks from the winning contractors and channeling them toward his ultimately successful bid to become the Democratic Party chief in 2010.

Anas and a fellow Democrat, Andi Mallarangeng, the sports minister at the time, have both been charged in the case.

Deddy’s indictment alleges that Andi asked for Rp 45 billion in bribes for the Hambalang project.

Andi, currently in the KPK’s custody, has consistently maintained that he played no part in the scandal, although it was during his term as minister that the budget for the project ballooned from Rp 300 billion to Rp 2.5 trillion.

KPK investigators have also questioned several other Democratic Party officials in the case.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Indonesia, Malaysia in Push for Wire-Tap Agreement

Jakarta Globe, Ezra Sihite, December 20, 2013

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, left, talks to his Indonesian counterpart
 President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, right, during their meet in Jakarta, on
Dec. 19, 2013. (EPA Photo/Bagus Indahono)

Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to push for an anti-wiretapping agreement within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, at the next group summit, in Myanmar in April 2014.

After a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Thursday, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told a joint press conference that Malaysia had agreed to support Indonesia’s proposal for an Asean agreement to reject illegal spying practices within the region.

“I think mutual trust and mutual respect are key in international relations. That’s why I am happy the prime minister agrees with the proposed anti-spying agreement that I will table at the next Asean summit,” he said.

While Yudhoyono did not specify what countries he was referring to the proposal comes in the wake of allegations that he, his wife and key officials were wiretapped by Australia in 2009.

Indonesia-Australia relations plummeted to their lowest depths since the 1990s after Jakarta recalled its ambassador in Canberra. The ambassador has yet to return to his post.

For his part, Najib said Malaysia was ready to support Indonesia during the Asean summit, underlining that spying was unethical among friends and neighbors.

“If Indonesia proposes it then Malaysia with provide strong support,” he said.

However, the proposal could stall as Singapore, a member of Asean, has been accused of helping Australia and US in spying on both Indonesia and Malaysia.

Both Malaysia and Indonesia have filed formal protests to the Singaporean government.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s proposal gained a strong momentum after the UN General Assembly on Wednesday called for an end to excessive electronic surveillance and expressed concern at the impact such scrutiny, including spying on foreign states and the mass collection of personal data, may have on human rights.

The call was included in a resolution drafted by Germany and Brazil, and which the 193-member General Assembly adopted by consensus.

The United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand — known as the Five Eyes surveillance alliance — supported the resolution after language that had initially suggested foreign spying could be a human rights violation was weakened to appease them.

The resolution notes “that while concerns about public security may justify the gathering and protection of certain sensitive information, states must ensure full compliance with their obligations under international human rights law.”

It calls on nations to review procedures, practises and legislation on communications surveillance and “to establish or maintain existing independent, effective domestic oversight mechanisms capable of ensuring transparency, as appropriate, and accountability for State surveillance of communications, their interception and collection of personal data.”

Back in Jakarta, Yudhoyono and Najib took time to watch Indonesia defeat Malaysia for a spot in the Southeast Asia Games football final in Myanmar.

Additional reporting from AFP

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Star Indonesian Wine Dealer Guilty in US Fraud Trial

Jakarta Globe – AFP, December 19, 2013

The entrance to the Federal Court building in NEw York on Dec.
10, 2013. (AFP Photo/Stan Honda)

Star wine dealer Rudy Kurniawan was found guilty of fraud in a US court Wednesday for manufacturing fake vintage wine, in a stunning fall from grace that could see him jailed for 40 years.

A jury took less than two hours to return a guilty verdict on two counts of wire and postal fraud against the 37-year-old, once considered one of the top five wine collectors in the world.

The Indonesian-born Kurniawan, who for years lived a jet-set lifestyle with all the trappings of a millionaire, sat impassive in the Manhattan courtroom as the verdict was read out.

Prosecutors described him as “a prolific wine counterfeiter” and an arch liar motivated by greed, a man who made millions of dollars selling bogus vintages blended in his kitchen laboratory.

The defense portrayed an outsider who desperately wanted to fit into the richer, older world of rare wine collectors.

In custody since his arrest in March 2012, he will be sentenced on April 24.

The court heard how Kurniawan rose rapidly to the top of his profession thanks to his exceptional palate, capable of identifying and memorizing the world’s finest wines so popular with tycoons.

But prosecutors said his penchant for fast cars, designer watches and contemporary art collections was built on an elaborate and years-long lie.

They said he sold at auction and direct to collectors more than 1,000 fake bottles blended in his kitchen or “magic cellar” to masquerade as vintage wines worth thousands of dollars.

“This was an operation on a massive scale,” said prosecutor Joseph Facciponti, summing up at the end of the seven-day trial.

“He sold wine to victims all over the world. For a while the magic worked and he sold his fake wines for millions of dollars, but there was no magic, only the defendant’s lies,” he said. “Why did he tell all his lies? Because of greed, that’s what this case is about, the defendant’s lies and his greed.”

In 2006, two auctions in New York that offered Kurniawan wine fetched $35 million.

In the first auction, clients purchased 39 lots that contained counterfeit wines for a total of nearly $1.3 million, wine expert Michael Egan had told the trial.

He said he had examined 1,433 counterfeit wines since 2006 from seven clients, of which 75 percent were from Kurniawan.

Thousands of labels for the finest Burgundy and Bordeaux wines were found in the home that Kurniawan shared with his Chinese mother in Arcadia, on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

There were full bottles waiting to be labeled. Investigators also found intricate formulae on how to concoct vintage–tasting wine by blending a mixture of far cheaper wines.

The allegations against Kurniawan surfaced over an April 2008 auction in New York where he had offered 97 purported bottles of Domaine Ponsot for sale for between $440,500 and $602,000.

But French expert Laurent Ponsot, of the acclaimed Domaine Ponsot winery, became suspicious and flew to New York to ensure that auction house Acker Merrall & Condit withdrew the lot.

After allegedly trying to sell more dubious wine at auction in London via an intermediary in 2012, Kurniawan was arrested.

“He wanted to be part of the club,” defense lawyer Jerome Mooney had argued before the court.

In buying thousands of bottles of great vintage wine each year, it was inevitable that there would be fakes among them, given the rampant availability of counterfeit wine, he had argued.

“Should he be doing that?” said Mooney. “Probably not. He was not doing it to defraud people.”

Agence France-Presse

Sunday, December 15, 2013

KPK Arrests Prosecutor, Businesswoman in Latest Graft Raid

Jakarta Globe, Rizky Amelia & Fitri Pikong, December 15, 2013

The Corruption Eradication Commission’s (KPK) current office building on Jalan
 HR Rasuna Said in South Jakarta is seen in this Sept. 9, 2012 file photo. (JG
Photo/Afriadi Hikmal)

Jakarta/Mataram. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has named a prosecutor and a businesswoman as suspects after they were caught conducting an alleged bribery transaction in a hotel in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara.

The arrest was made on Saturday evening at the Senggigi resort in Central Lombok.

The suspects have been identified as Subri, the head of the prosecutors’ office in the Central Lombok subdistrict of Praya and businesswoman Lusita Ari Razak. They were caught with cash totaling Rp 213 million ($17,600).

“The money consists of … $100 bills totaling $16,400 and rupiah notes totaling Rp 23 million,” KPK deputy chief Bambang Widjojanto said during a press conference in Jakarta on Sunday afternoon.

He added that Lusita allegedly handed over the money to Subri in connection to a land dispute in Central Lombok.

Information gathered by the Jakarta Globe in Mataram found that KPK investigators had been in Lombok for two weeks prior to making the arrest.

Officers with the commission raided Subri’s office in Praya following the arrest.

The alleged bribery, according to sources, is probably related to a dispute and document forgery case concerning a plot of land in Selong Belanak, Central Lombok. The case previously led to the detention of another businessman named Along in April, who is allegedly a rival of Lusita in the dispute.

Sex, lies and beef: racy scandal hits Indonesia's Islamic parties

The West Australian – AFP, December 15, 2013

Sex, lies and beef: racy scandal hits
Indonesia s Islamic parties (AFP)
Jakarta (AFP) - Clandestine hotel room sex, money laundering and huge bribes to import beef evokes a seedy, criminal underworld rather than conservative politicians in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

But they all feature in a racy scandal that has shattered the clean image of Indonesia's biggest Islamic party and could further damage already-unpopular Muslim parties at national polls next year.

"The scandal... has given Islamic parties as a whole a bad image," said Umar S. Bakry, from pollster Lembaga Survei Nasional.

The controversy that has shocked the country peaked last week when an anti-corruption court sentenced the disgraced former president of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) to 16 years in jail.

Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq was found guilty of bribery and money laundering after accepting kickbacks from firm Indoguna Utama in return for pressing the PKS-controlled agriculture ministry to increase the company's beef import quota.

Two executives from the company had earlier been jailed over the case, dubbed "Beefgate" by local media, which has given blanket coverage to a scandal of enormous proportions even by the standards of graft-ridden Indonesia.

Ishaaq, who resigned as president of ruling coalition member PKS when the scandal emerged, has said he will appeal the guilty verdict against him.

During their probe, anti-graft investigators uncovered juicy details that tarnished the clean, pious image the PKS has sought to cultivate.

They seized six cars from Ishaaq and prosecutors accused the 52-year-old of trying to hide his marriage to one of his three wives, whom he wed last year when she was still a teenager.

But an arguably bigger figure in the scandal is Luthfi's close aide Ahmad Fathanah, jailed for 14 years in November, who was a key middleman in efforts to get Indoguna's quota increased.

His arrest in January kicked the scandal off in dramatic fashion -- anti-corruption agents caught the married man in a raid in a Jakarta hotel with a naked college student.

Fathanah had just collected bribe money and the student later admitted he paid her for sex.

He was found to have laundered his bribe money by giving gifts, including cars and diamonds, to 45 women, including an adult magazine model and several celebrities.

The PKS plays down the scandal and insists it is still on track for a strong result at legislative elections in April.

But independent polls in recent months show the party is receiving far below the almost eight percent it garnered at elections in 2009, and there is much public anger towards it.

"PKS is such an absolute disgrace, anyone who votes for or supports this party must be either totally delusional or incapable of independent thought," said a recent comment on the website of the Jakarta Globe newspaper.

"Beefgate" has scotched the party's recent efforts to reinvent itself by moving away from a purist Islamic agenda and presenting itself as a clean organisation as others were battered by graft allegations -- President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party in particular.

And the controversy risks affecting all Indonesia's Islamic parties, which were already struggling, analysts warn.

The five main Islamic parties, including the PKS, won a combined total of more than 25 percent at the 2009 legislative elections. They range from moderate groups to more extreme ones that want to introduce Islamic Sharia laws.

While the parties expected their share of the vote to continue the same downward trend of recent years, the PKS scandal means the fall is likely to be steeper and swifter, said Bakry from the Lembaga Survei Nasional.

He cited a recent LSN survey in which 42.8 percent of respondents said they expected the groups' popularity to fall and only 21.6 percent said they expected them to win more votes.

It is just another sad chapter in the history of political Islam in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

Islamic parties have seen their support erode gradually in recent years due to their own shortcomings and the greater appeal of the major, secular-nationalist parties, such the Democratic Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle.

Experts point to poor organisation, infighting, previous corruption scandals, and a feeling among even conservative Muslims there is no longer an obligation to vote for a party describing itself as "Islamic".

"Years ago if you were a pious Muslim you voted for an Islamic party but now it's not the case," said Greg Fealy, an Indonesia expert at the Australian National University.

Most voters, he added, now opted for parties with a solid track record of running the country.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Japan, China Ties ‘Critical’ for Asia: Indonesia

Jakarta Globe – AFP, December 13, 2013

Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (L) shakes hands with Japan’s
 Prime Minister Shizo Abe after delivering a speech at his lecture event in Tokyo
 December 13, 2013. Yudhoyono is in Japan to attend summit meetings between
Japanese and Asean leaders. (Reuters Photo/Toru Hanai)

Tokyo. A working relationship between Tokyo and Beijing, embroiled in a bitter territorial row, is “critical” for the region, the president of Southeast Asia’s largest economy said Friday.

Indonesia’s Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said China needed “an open line of communication to avoid miscalculation” in its various sovereignty disputes, including that with Japan over a chain of islands in the East China Sea.

Speaking in Tokyo, where he is due to attend a special summit hosted by Japan, Yudhoyono said disagreements in Northeast Asia are “pertinent” for the rest of the continent.

“In particular, it must be said that good relations between China and Japan are critical to the future of our region,” he said.

“When the border negotiations are still ongoing, having an open line of communication is crucial to avoid miscalculation that may occur in and around the disputed area,” he added, without naming a specific location.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is meeting leaders of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) this weekend to mark the 40th anniversary of ties.

The summit is set to be dominated by the parlous state of relations between Japan and China, with Tokyo expected to try to rally support in its dispute with Beijing.

It comes weeks after China’s declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over an area of the East China Sea, including the disputed islands, a move that ratcheted up an already-tense situation.

Beijing said planes entering the zone must obey its orders and provide a flight plan to Chinese authorities, or face unspecified “defensive emergency measures”.

Indonesia, the largest economy in Asean, is not entangled in a territorial dispute with China, but four other members of the bloc have overlapping claims in the South China Sea.

“Indonesia is deeply concerned at the prospect of the disputes erupting into open conflicts, which will have adverse impacts on all countries in the region,” he said, speaking to a policy forum of the Japan Institute of International Affairs.

Some observers have said Beijing’s ADIZ over the East China Sea is a precursor to a similar zone over the South China Sea, which it claims almost in its entirety.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have competing claims to parts of the sea, and Manila and Hanoi have in recent years repeatedly accused China of becoming more aggressive.

Abe is expected to discuss the border disputes with the Asean leaders.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Indonesia ‘In No Rush’ to Restore Australia Ties Over Spying

Jakarta Globe, December 8, 2013

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott, left, is welcomed by Indonesia’s
 President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as he arrives for the ABAC Dialogue with
 Leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Nusa Dua,
Bali in this Oct. 7, 2013 file photo. (Reuters Photo/Romeo Gacad)

The office of the Indonesian president suggested on Sunday that it was reluctant to immediately “normalize” the country’s strained bilateral relations with Australia after Prime Minister Tony Abbot said in a radio interview that the country would continue to gather intelligence on Indonesia.

Teuku Faizasyah, the Indonesian presidential spokesman for foreign affairs, said there was a “different nuance” to Abbott’s statement that contrasted with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s comments a day earlier during her meeting in Jakarta with Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa. Marty said after the meeting he was reassured Australia would cease targeted surveillance of Indonesian officials.

“We need to further study PM Abbott’s statement because it seems to have a different nuance to that of Foreign Minister Bishop,” Faizasyah said on Sunday.

“We won’t be in a rush to normalize the bilateral relations until we’re convinced that Australia sincerely wishes to move the relationship forward.”

Indonesia-Australia ties plumbed the lowest depth since the 1990s in the wake of allegations that Australia had wiretapped phone conversations of Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and key officials in 2009.

The response from the Indonesian government was to suspend cooperation in areas spanning people smuggling and intelligence sharing.

Yudhoyono has hashed out new “protocols and codes of conduct” as a precondition for the relationship to resume to business as usual. Marty, however, has referred to his Thursday meeting with Bishop, which focused on the code of conduct talks, as “very constructive and open”

“There is almost no problem that cannot be resolved,“ the Indonesian foreign minister said. “Australia has declared its regret about the incident that has disrupted and hurt Indonesia’s interests.”

On Friday, though, Abbot said in an interview with Australia’s Fairfax radio that Australia would not stop collecting intelligence on Indonesia.

Asked whether Australia had agreed to stop collecting intelligence on Indonesia, Abbott replied,

“No. And [Indonesia] certainly has not agreed to stop collecting intelligence on Australia.”

Although after that he added, “But we are close friends, we are strategic partners and I certainly want Australia to be a trusted partner of Indonesia and I hope Indonesia can be a trusted partner of Australia.”

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Australia Will Still Spy on Indonesia: PM

Jakarta Globe – AFP, December 6, 2013

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott prepares for Question Time in the
 House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra on Nov. 21, 2013.
(AFP Photo/Mark Graham)

Sydney. Australia will not halt collecting intelligence on Indonesia but would work towards becoming its trusted partner, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday in the wake of damaging espionage allegations.

Reports last month that Australian spies targeted the phones of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and inner circle in 2009 sparked one of the worst diplomatic crises between the two strategic allies in years.

The two nation’s foreign ministers agreed on Thursday to establish a “hotline” and a code of conduct to restore trust, with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop expressing her regret at the situation.

Asked on Friday whether Australia had agreed to stop collecting intelligence on Indonesia, Abbott replied: “No.”

“And they certainly haven’t agreed to stop collecting intelligence on Australia,” he told Fairfax radio.

“But we are close friends, we are strategic partners and I certainly want Australia to be a trusted partner of Indonesia and I hope Indonesia can be a trusted partner of Australia.”

Jakarta had responded furiously to the espionage reports, based on documents leaked by US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden, suspending bilateral cooperation with Australia in key areas including people-smuggling.

During a visit to Jakarta on Thursday, Bishop said she and Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa had agreed to establish more open lines of communication, “a hotline, if you like”, as a first step towards resuming cooperation and “avoiding any unintended consequences.”

She also said Canberra had agreed to a six-point plan laid out by Yudhoyono last week, aimed at establishing a code of conduct to restore trust.

Canberra will not undertake “any act or use our assets or resources, including our intelligence assets, in any way to harm Indonesia,” she added.

Abbott has previously stressed the importance of the relationship with Indonesia, particularly given the strong cooperation between the countries on stopping people-smuggling.

“We are certainly very happy to have a more extensive, more formalized intelligence and security relationship because we think that is in the best interest of both countries,” he said on Friday.

Obama defends Iran deal at Hanukkah celebration

Google – AFP, 6 December

US President Barack Obama watches as Martin Weiss, a Holocaust surviver, 
lights a Menorah during a Hanukkah reception in the Grand Foyer of the White
 House December 5, 2013 in Washington (AFP, Brendan Smialowski)

Washington — President Barack Obama on Thursday defended his nuclear diplomacy with Iran before an audience of Israeli diplomats and senior members of the US Jewish community and officials.

At a White House Hanukkah reception, Obama said that it was important for the United States to test Iran's intentions, and pledged to keep working for a comprehensive deal to deprive Tehran of a nuclear weapon.

"For the first time in a decade we have halted progress of Iran's nuclear program," Obama said.

"Key parts of the program will be rolled back even though the toughest of our sanctions remain in place.

"That is good for the world, that is good for Israel," Obama said, vowing to keep striving for a final deal with Iran over the coming months that takes care of the "threat of Iran's nuclear weapons once and for all."

Obama also said however that Washington must remain vigilant and that its commitment to Israeli security would remain "iron clad" and "unshakeable."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu harshly criticized an interim nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers in Geneva last month.

Obama's critics on Capitol Hill have also questioned the president's tactics and are threatening o enact new sanctions against Iran, which the White House fears would scupper the talks.

The interim nuclear deal freezes aspects of Iran's nuclear program, in return for a modest easing of the sanctions regime that has crippled the Iranian economy.

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Thursday, December 05, 2013

Australia Foreign Minister Airs Regret on Indonesia Spy Row, Agrees to ‘Hotline’

Jakarta Globe – AFP, December 5, 2013

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, left, shakes hands with her Indonesian
 counterpart Marty Natalegawa at the latter’s office in Jakarta, on Dec. 5, 2013.
(Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

Australia’s foreign minister Thursday expressed regret over a spying row with Indonesia during talks in Jakarta aimed at repairing strained ties, agreeing to establish a “hotline” and code of conduct to restore trust.

Reports last month that Australian spies tried to tap the phones of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and several top officials in 2009 sparked one of the worst diplomatic crises between the two strategic allies in years.

“Obviously we regret the events that led to this situation. We regret the hurt caused to President Yudhoyono and to the Indonesian people,” Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said after a meeting with her Indonesian counterpart.

Jakarta had responded furiously to the espionage reports, based on documents leaked by US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden, suspending bilateral co-operations with Australia in key areas including over people-smuggling.

Bishop said she and Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa had agreed to establish more open lines of communication, “a hotline, if you like,” as a first step towards resuming cooperation and “avoiding any unintended consequences.”

She also said Canberra had agreed to a six-point plan laid out by Yudhoyono last week, aimed at establishing a code of conduct to restore trust.

“We note the steps set out by President Yudhoyono that must be taken in order to normalize the relationship and of course we agree to adhere to those steps,” Bishop said.

Canberra will not undertake “any act or use our asset or resources, including our intelligence assets, in any way to harm Indonesia,” she added.

Natalegawa said the suspension in cooperation would remain in place until the code of conduct was finalized, but said that the meeting with Bishop was “constructive” and that Yudhoyono was “pleased by the progress made today.”

“I did not share any specific deadline [with Australia], except I remind [them] once again we have the six steps to go through. We are now at step one,” he said.

Bishop will also visit China, where relations are likewise on edge after Canberra’s criticism of Beijing’s new air defense identification zone, which covers East China Sea islands disputed with Japan.

Agence France-Presse
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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Australian Foreign Minister Off to Indonesia, China After Spy Row

Jakarta Globe – AFP, December 4, 2013

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop speaks at a press conference at the
Bali Democracy forum in Nusa Dua, on Nov. 8, 2013. (AFP Photo/Sonny Tumbelaka)

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will hold talks with Indonesia on Thursday to help repair ties strained by a spying row and draw up a code of ethics to govern relations.

The nation’s top diplomat will also visit China, where relations are likewise on edge after Canberra’s criticism of Beijing’s newly-declared air defense identification zone.

“The minister will lead a high level delegation to Jakarta for broad-ranging discussions about the bilateral relationship, following President [Susilo Bambang] Yudhoyono’s recent statement,” her office said.

Reports last month that Australian spies tried to tap the phones of Yudhoyono, his wife and his inner circle in 2009 sparked one of the worst diplomatic crises between the two strategic allies in years.

Jakarta reacted furiously, ending cooperation on military exercises and in the key area of people-smuggling while recalling its ambassador from Canberra.

Tensions calmed after Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott sent Yudhoyono a letter of explanation, with the two leaders agreeing that top-level envoys would discuss protocols and a code of ethics to govern relations that were “clear, fair and abided to”.

Abbott has also suggested a security roundtable to build trust.

While Bishop will meet with her counterpart Marty Natalegawa, Australian Defense Minister David Johnston admitted the damage would not be immediately repaired.

“It will take some time for current issues in bilateral relations to be worked through, but they will be resolved in time,” Johnston said.

“As defense minister I will do my best to contribute to that by being a frequent visitor to Indonesia. Building trust is essential and that can only be done through personal contact and mutual respect.”

From Jakarta, Bishop will travel to China, primarily for the annual Foreign and Strategic Dialogue with counterpart Wang Yi, which will focus on a bilateral agenda and regional and global issues of common concern.

The visit comes after Beijing reacted angrily last month to Bishop summoning its ambassador to voice opposition to the East China Sea air zone, with China demanding Australia correct its “mistake” immediately.

Canberra refused, proclaiming a right to speak out where Australian interests were concerned.

Agence France-Presse

Monday, December 02, 2013

Unilever Slammed for ‘Poverty-Exploitation’ Advert

Jakarta Globe, SP/Yoseph A. Kelen, December 2, 2013

A still from a Lifebuoy commercial highlighting poverty in East Nusa Tenggara.
(Screen grab from Youtube)

Kupang. East Nusa Tenggara Governor Frans Lebu Raya has lashed out at Unilever Indonesia, claiming that a television advertisement for its Lifebuoy soap brand gives a false portrayal of the extent of poverty in the province.

“It makes it seem that without Lifebuoy soap, the children of NTT will not be able to celebrate their fifth birthday,” Frans said in Kupang, the provincial capital, over the weekend, referring to East Nusa Tenggara by its acronym.

“As the governor, I am offended by this ad. Honestly, [you] may help the people of NTT, but don’t exploit poverty for business interests,” Frans said, adding that he had instructed the provincial secretary to tell Lifebuoy to drop the ad.

The governor said the ad, in which residents of the village of Bitobe are depicted as not understanding the importance of good hygiene and sanitation, exaggerated the local level of poverty.

The ad said poor hygiene resulted in the deaths of one in four children under the age of five in NTT from diarrhea.

Unilever says the ad, titled “NTT can do five years,” is a pilot project aimed at improving the infant mortality rate.

The ad has also received a negative response from some NTT residents, who have labeled it demeaning and have launched a petition to have it dropped.

“We are disturbed by Lifebuoy’s ad, because for us it doesn’t depict the real conditions in NTT,” said Buche Brikmar, the head of the provincial chapter of Garda Bangsa, a community empowerment organization.

“We think it’s a form of poverty exploitation for business interests. The ad makes it look like if you buy Lifebuoy soap, you automatically save children’s lives and help them to reach their fifth birthday.

“This is obviously an image built for a product,” Buche added.

Heribertus Naif, the provincial director of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), who was among those who initiated the petition to get the ad dropped, urged the provincial administration to stop the campaign.

“Is it really true that all NTT children die before they reach the age of five? Can Lifebuoy help me celebrate my 33rd birthday? We demand the KPI [Indonesian Broadcasting Commission] to immediately stop the ad and repair NTT’s sullied reputation,” Heribertus said.

Adina Tontey, senior brand manager of Lifebuoy at Unilever, said the company did not intend to demean the people of NTT.

“The ad depicted the real conditions in Bitobe village, in Central Amfoang subdistrict in Kupang,” she said.

“[It] was intended to prevent the death of infants in NTT in the future. According to data from the NTT health office, the infant mortality rate was 71 out of 1,000 births and diarrhea was the main cause.”

Adina said the company had also raised Rp 700 million ($63,300) to be donated to help the Bitobe villagers.

Adina also agreed to meet with those calling for the ad campaign to be dropped.

A nationwide survey carried out by the Health Ministry in 2010 found that 29.4 percent of children aged under five in East Nusa Tenggara were undernourished and 58.4 percent suffered from stunting due to poor nutrition experienced by mothers during pregnancy. The figures were the worst in Indonesia.

According to the Health Ministry survey, 17.9 percent of children under five are underweight nationwide, a decrease of 31 percent since 1989.

Fifteen percent is the widely recognized indication of a nutrition emergency.

A separate study conducted by World Vision International in 2009 found that 44.2 percent of children in NTT’s North Timor Tengah district were undernourished and 57 percent were stunted.

Dogels Maradesa, the maternal child health and nutrition coordinator at WVI’s North Timor Tengah office, said access to proper nutrition had always been a serious problem in the region.

“Much of the land is dry, while the soil is rocky and contains limestone,” he said.

With their land yielding poor harvests, villagers have turned to slash-and-burn forest clearing to open up new land, in the process damaging the ground’s ability to retain water and thus aggravating the chronic water crisis in the region.

“There have been a lot of initiatives here, but what we need is an integrated approach, because NGOs and the government have been working separately on programs that often overlap one another,” Dogels said.

A UN report released in September noted that while the government had made great strides toward ending malnutrition among children under five, the pace of progress was slowing and there was a danger that Indonesia could miss the target of slashing the rate by two-thirds by 2015 under the Millennium Development Goals.

In NTT’s South Oenenu village, the lack of knowledge about nutrition has led to mothers often feeding their babies and toddlers only rice porridge and salt.

“Many mothers in South Oenenu don’t realize that their children are undernourished because they don’t appear to be sick,” said Fridliukonas, the WVI facilitator in South Oenenu. “But actually more than 30 percent of children under five years old in this village are undernourished.”

Changing bad habits in the village was a tall order, he said, because the villagers preferred to spend money buying processed foods and snacks rather than nutritious food for their children.