Indonesia

Tsunami Warning Released After Quake

Indonesian authorities issued a tsunami warning after a 6.6 magnitude quake hit the area.

The earthquake was centered 57 km under the seabed some 234 km northwest of Ternate’s town, the capital of province of North Maluku.

US Geological Survey put the quake at a magnitude of 7.4.  

Indonesia was worst hit by 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that left 168,000 people in the Aceh province dead.


Bali Restaurants drop Chicken and Duck from Menu List amid Bird Flu Scare

Bali Restaurant IndonesiaKuta (Indonesia): According to an official, some of Bali’s eating houses have taken chicken and duck off the food menu after two Indonesian women died out of bird flu in the last two weeks.

While Indonesia has reported 84 deaths from bird flu till this month. Now, functionaries fear that the two deaths from bird flu in Bali could hit tourism industry business.


Maruti Wins Victory Over Its Indonesian Rivals

Maruti Udyog LtdNew Delhi: Maruti Udyog Ltd is ready to turn into big in the Indonesian small car market.

In the existing fiscal, the company has been capable of capturing around 60 per cent of the small car market in Indonesia with an export order worth 12,000 units, 1,000 units above what the company had told in June.


Another Case Of Bird Flu Death In Indonesia; Toll Rises To 91

Jakarta: A health ministry representative said that an Indonesian man from Riau region on Sumatra Island has died of bird flu.

The recent death takes the country’s death toll from the bird flu ailment to 91.

Lili Sulistyowati, health ministry spokeswoman said that it was not clear if the 31-year-old man who passed away on Tuesday had been in contact with ailing fowl, which is the most usual way of getting the infection.

Another representative at the government department’s bird flu centre told that the man, who had been suffering from coughing, fever and breathing troubles, expired while being shifted from a local hospital in Duri region to a hospital in Pekanbaru.


WHO investigation of Deadly Bird Flu Virus in Indonesia & Pakistan

Bird Flu Chicken Pakistan Indonesia

Jakarta: Six members of a family hospitalized with bird flu symptoms, are now cleared, an Indonesian health official said. The six Indonesians from a small village in Banten province had been suffering from high fever after more than a dozen sick ducks died in their backyard.

Nyoman Kandun, director-general of communicable disease control at Indonesia’s health ministry, said that the laboratory tests in two sets indicated that the six patients admitted to hospital in Jakarta did not have any H5N1 virus.


Deadly Bird Flu Killed an Indonesian Woman

Woman dies from Bird Flu in IndonesiaJakarta: An Indonesian woman, 24, has died of deadly bird flu on the Christmas Day, according to the health officials. It has taken the total number of bird flu deaths in Indonesia to 94.

Muhammad Nadhirin, an official with ministry’s bird flu information centre, said, “The woman died on Christmas Day early in the morning and tested positive for bird flu.”

“She bought a live chicken in the market and slaughtered the chicken there before taking it home. But we’re still investigating the cause,” he added.


Bali bomber feeling so "beautiful" on the eve of his execution

Former Islamic preacher, MukhlasJakarta, Jan 5: A former Islamic preacher in his late 40s, Mukhlas, has showed no remorse for helping to organise the 2002 Bali bombings, and has written from his Indonesian jail that he feels so "beautiful" on the eve of his execution.

Mukhlas posted a 10-page statement on the internet exhorting Muslims to show their support for him by turning out in mass numbers for his burial, and said that "no words can describe how good the feeling is" before execution.


Former Indonesian President Suharto's condition very critical

Former Indonesian president SuhartoJakarta, Jan.8: Former Indonesian president Suharto, who was rushed to hospital in critical condition last week, deteriorated on Tuesday as doctors tried to avert multiple organ failure.

The medical team said there was little room for optimism.

Suharto, 86, is admitted to Pertamina Hospital, one of Jakarta's top medical centres since Friday, where a team of 40 doctors is treating him for heart, lung and kidney problems.


Nalco signs MoU with Indonesian Government

India's National Aluminium Co Ltd (Nalco) has announced that the company has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indonesian government to set up a 500,000 tonne smelter and a 1,250 megawatt captive power plant in Indonesia.

The state-owned company plans to invest around $3.4 billion in this greenfield project, to be built in two phases.

In the first phase, Nalco plans to build the smelter with an annual capacity of 250,000 tonnes and the coal-fired power plant with the capacity to generate 750 megawatts of electricity.

B.L. Bagra, Finance Director, Nalco told that the PSU will double the smelter capacity to 500,000 tonnes and add another 500 MW to the power plant in the second stage.


Bali bombers execution delayed after they win case review

Amrozi Main accused of Bali BlastBali (Indonesia), Feb. 4: Three death row Bali bombers have won the right for their case to be reviewed, in a move likely to delay their impending executions.

The bombers had been due to be executed in 2006, but their executions were halted after they applied for a judicial review of their cases.

The earlier request for a judicial review was rejected, and the men had faced imminent execution.

The men played key roles in the twin nightclub bombings in Kuta, Bali, on October 12, 2002, which killed 202 people including 88 Australians, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. (ANI)


Indonesia sets parliamentary elections date

Indonesia sets parliamentary elections dateJakarta - Indonesian authorities set April 5, 2009, for local and national legislative elections, local media reports said Sunday.

Election commission chairman Abdul Hafiz Anshary said political parties have to register before May 12, and the commission will then announce the parties that qualify for the elections on July 5, the Jakarta Post reported.

According to Home Affairs Minister Mardiyanto, more than 154.7 million of the country's 224 million population are eligible voters, 4.5 per cent more than voted in 2004 when the country held its first-ever direct presidential vote.


Muslim swimsuit lets Indonesian women jump in the pool

Muslim SwimsuitJakarta - Sonya Chaterina loved swimming as a child, but the fun stopped when she reached puberty.

"Then we to had to cover our arms, legs and our hair," said the Indonesian Muslim. "A bathing suit was from then on no longer an option. I was very disappointed."

For millions of Muslim women like Chaterina swimming is more complicated than just jumping into the water. Though most Indonesians practice a tolerant form of the religion, which sometimes incorporates Hindu and animist beliefs, women are still obliged as Muslims to cover their bodies, leaving only their face and palms of their hands exposed.


Indonesian police officers grilled in illegal logging case

IndonesiaJakarta- More than a dozen senior police officers have been grilled for their alleged roles in illegal logging in West Kalimantan province on the Indonesian portion of Borneo island, local media reports said Wednesday.

National police chief General Sutanto had vowed to take legal action against any police officer involved in illegal logging or log smuggling in the country.

"We want to deal with illegal logging activities conclusively. Whoever is suspected to be involved will be investigated," the state-run Antara news agency quoted Sutanto as saying.


Indonesian lawmaker arrested on bribery charges

Indonesian lawmaker arrested on bribery chargesJakarta - An Indonesian lawmaker was arrested Wednesday after he was caught red-handed at a Jakarta luxury hotel receiving a bribe worth nearly 200,000 dollars, lawmakers and anti-corruption watchdog officials said.

Al-Amin Nasution, a member of the House of Representative (DPR) from the Muslim-based United development Party, along with four other persons, were arrested by Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) authorities early Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Jakarta.


Indonesia to acquire three Russian-made jet fighters

Jakarta- Russian Jet FighterIndonesia will receive three Russian-made Sukhoi jet fighters later this year to back up the country's existing warplanes, a senior military official said Wednesday.

Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Subandrio said the three Sukhoi fighter planes from Russia are expected to arrive in the country before the National Armed Forces Day on October 5.

Subandrio, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, said the three Sukhoi Su-30 jet fighters would become part of the Air Force's Sukhoi Squadron V based in Makassar, South Sulawesi.


Chastity belts required for Indonesian masseuses

Chastity BeltJakarta- In an attempt to stop prostitution at massage parlours, a city administration in Indonesia's East Java province has issued an order obliging masseuses to wear locked chastity belts, local media reports said Thursday.

But the new requirement has sparked controversy with Indonesia's State Minister for Women's Empowerment, Meutia Hatta, who opposed the policy on grounds that it insults women.


Indonesia's Rajawali Group, Cambodia agree to set up airline

Jakarta/Phnom Penh - Indonesia's Rajawali Group has signed off with the Cambodian government to develop a new Cambodian national airline, but details were still being worked out, a Cambodian aviation official said Friday.

The secretary-general of Cambodia's Secretariat of Civil Aviation, Chea Oun, said the announcement was only a first step and many more details needed to be worked out, including the new airline's name.

"The real work is only just beginning. We need to work closely with our new partner now to work out all the details," Oun said by telephone. "A lot of things are still undecided."


Two Taiwanese arrested in Indonesia over drugs trafficking

IndonesiaJakarta  - Indonesian authorities have arrested two Taiwanese nationals for trying to smuggle nearly seven kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine into the country, local media reports said Sunday.

The two, identified as Kuo Ting Liu, 23, and Huang Yu Lum, 26, were arrested on Friday by custom officers at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International airport, soon after they arrived on a China Airlines flight from Hong Kong, the state-run Antara news agency reported.


Helicopter window falls on top of home

Helicopter windowJakarta  -  A fragment of a rear window of helicopter belonging to Indonesia's West Java police fell on a house roof, but caused no injury, a local media report said Sunday.

The accident occurred Saturday in West Java capital of Bandung when the window fragment fell onto the home while officers were distributing flyers calling for the West Java gubernatorial election, The Jakarta Post reported.

"This is purely accidental, as everything was checked and in order prior to take off," said Dade Achmad, spokesman for the West Java police headquarters. (dpa)


Bali bombers won't seek clemency, executions may be soon

Three Bali bombers - Imam Samudra, Amrozi and Alu Ghufron, alias MukhlasBali, Indonesia - Three Indonesian Muslim militants on death row for the 2002 Bali bomb attacks may be executed soon, after declining to seek presidential clemency, a prosecutor said Monday.

The head of the Bali's prosecutors office, I Dewa Putu Alit Adnyana, said he had been informed the three Bali bombers - Imam Samudra, Amrozi and Alu Ghufron, alias Mukhlas - had sent a letter to the Denpasar District Court saying "they will not ask for clemency."


Underwear-clad robbers steal thousands of dollars in Indonesia

Jakarta  - A group of eight robbers wearing nothing but their underwear robbed an Indonesian businessman's house in West Java's Banten province and stole cash and valuables worth more than 54,000 dollars, a local media report said Tuesday.

The incident took place early on Monday when the robbers entered a house in Banten's Tanggerang district, just west of Jakarta, The Jakarta Post reported.

Three of the robbers broke into the bedroom where two house maids were asleep. While the three robbers tied the two maids with the bed-sheets, five others went to the second floor of the house.

The house's owner, Sudojo, 60, was not at home while his wife, Catrin, 55, was sleeping when the incident took place.


Residents flee homes after volcano in eastern Indonesia erupts

IndonesiaJakarta - Hundreds of residents were evacuated after the Mount Egon volcano on the eastern Indonesian island of Flores erupted but no casualties were reported, officials said Wednesday.

The 1,704-metre Mount Egon erupted late Tuesday, and its ash column rose 4,000 metres above its crater, said Hendrasto, an expert at the Directorate of Volcanology.

Several hundred residents from the Egon Gahar village about 1.8 kilometre from the volcano's crater evacuated to avoid a possible hit by volcanic debris, said Jasinta, spokeswoman for the East Nusa Tenggara government.


Indonesian police officers sacked over illegal logging

IndonesiaJakarta - The police chief in West Kalimantan province on the Indonesian part of Borneo island has been removed in connection with rampant illegal logging activity, a police spokesman said Wednesday.

National police spokesman Inspector General Abubakar Nataprawira said Brigadier General Zainal Abidin Ishak had been replaced and transferred to National Police headquarters in Jakarta

Nataprawira said along with Ishak, the chief of West Kalimantan's Ketapang district police was also transferred to the capital in connection with the illegal logging activity.


Call to ban Islamic splinter group sparks controversy

Jakarta  - A call for the Indonesian government to ban a splinter group of Islam, which believes its founder is a prophet after Mohammed, sparked controversy with Muslim scholars saying it could trigger fresh attacks on the group, local media reports said Thursday.

The government-appointed Coordinating Board for Monitoring Mystical Beliefs in Society (Bakor Pakem), on Wednesday recommended the sect Ahmadiyah be banned from propagating its teachings.

Board chairman Wisnu Subroto, who is also deputy attorney general for intelligence, said a three-month evaluation against 55 Ahmadiyah communities across the country found the sect failed to commit to the 12 points of its public declaration signed in January.


Extinct Javan elephants may have been found in Borneo, group say

Jakarta - Borneo's mysterious pygmy elephant may be the last survivors of the Javan elephants race thought to have become extinct centuries ago, the environmental group WWF said Thursday.

Researchers said the origins of the pygmy elephants, found in a range extending from the north-east of the island into the heart of Borneo, have long been shrouded in mystery.

Scientists solved part of the mystery in 2003 after DNA tests ruled out the possibility that the Borneo elephants were from Sumatra or mainland Asia, where the other Asian subspecies are found, the WWF said in its publication.


Indonesia detains lawmaker, deputy governor in graft case

IndonesiaJakarta  - Indonesia's anti-corruption watchdog has arrested a lawmaker and deputy governor for their alleged involvement in the misappropriation of about 11 million dollars of central bank funds, media reports said Friday.

Legislator Hamka Yamdu and Anthony Zeidra Abidin, the deputy governor of Riau province in eastern Sumatra, were brought to detention centres in Jakarta Thursday after hours of questioning, the Kompas newspaper reported.

Yamdu and Abidin were named suspects last week by the Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission, or KPK, in the case.


Fire guts six homes, kills three kids in Indonesia's Kalimantan

Jakarta - Indonesia's KalimantanA fire gutted several houses in a residential area in Central Kalimantan province, killing three children and seriously injuring their mother, local media reports said Saturday.

The fire broke out at about 11 pm on Friday in Banjarmasin, the capital of Central Kalimantan province on the Indonesian portion of Borneo island, the state-run Antara news agency reported.


Thousands of Muslims demand ban on "heretical" Islam

IndonesiaJakarta  - Thousands of Indonesian Muslim militants demanded an immediate ban of an Islamic splinter group Sunday, accusing it of heresy for revering the sect's founder as a prophet after Mohammed.

The protestors came from several Islamic organizations including the hardline Islamic Defender Front, Hizbut Thahrir and the Islamic Community Forum, witnesses said.

They carried banners reading "The ban of Ahmadiyah is a fixed price," and postcards of Ahmadiyah founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad with his face crossed out.

"We demand the government outlaw Ahmadiyah's teachings immediately," said protest leader Awith Mashuri.


Alert levels raised for Indonesia's Krakatau, Mount Ibu volcanoes

IndonesiaJakarta  - Indonesian authorities on Tuesday raised the alert status for the offspring of the Krakatoa volcano in the Strait of Sunda, and Mount Ibu in eastern province of North Maluku, after both showed increased activity.

Anak Krakatau, or the "Child of Krakatoa," in the Sunda Straits between Java and Sumatra, and Ibu on the Halmahera island of the North Maluku province, have began spewing ash and sending out volcanic tremors in recent days. Volcanology experts raised the alert status to level two.


Four tourists, pilot hurt in helicopter's emergency landing on Bali

IndonesiaBali Island, Indonesia - A helicopter carrying tourists made an emergency landing on the Indonesian island of Bali Wednesday, injuring all five people on board, officials said.

The Bell 206 operated by Air Bali with four American tourists and an Indonesian pilot on board came down in the Lebih beach area of the Gianyar district in the island's south-east, Bali police spokesman AS Reniban said.

Reniban denied reports that the helicopter crashed and said the five on board suffered minor injuries.


Indonesia arrests fourth man linked to East Timor attack

IndonesiaJakarta - Indonesia has arrested a fourth East Timor rebel believed linked to assassination attempts against the president and prime minister of the fledgling nation, national police chief General Sutanto said Thursday.

General Sutanto, who like many Indonesians goes only by one name, said the four East Timorese nationals were arrested separately near the Indonesia-East Timor border.


Two Taiwanese arrested in Indonesia for drugs trafficking

IndonesiaJakarta  - Indonesian authorities arrested two Taiwanese nationals for trying to smuggle more than 7 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine into the country, local media reports said Saturday.

The two, identified as Tseng Huang Lung, 44, and Tsen Wen Ho, 35, were arrested Friday by customs officers at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, soon after they arrived on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong, The Jakarta Post reported.


Philippine, Indonesian police vow closer cooperation

Manila  - Philippine and Indonesian police have vowed closer cooperation to fight transnational crime and terrorism, a senior Filipino police official said Saturday.

Deputy Director General Emmanuel Carta said police officials from the two countries agreed to exchange more information and conduct joint training programmes to boost the fight against international crime and terrorism.

Both the Philippines and Indonesia have suffered deadly terrorist attacks conducted by Islamic militants, such as the Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayyaf rebel groups.

Carta said the agreement for closer cooperation was reached during a joint committee meeting in Bali, Indonesia held earlier in the week.


Five suspects named for torching Indonesian sect's mosque

Jakarta - Indonesian police on Tuesday named five suspects linked to burning a mosque belonging to the Islamic splinter group Ahmadiyah, which has been branded heretical by most Muslims.

"The five people had been named suspects after police questioning eight persons in connection with the incident," said West Java's Sukabumi district police chief Guntor Gaffar.

About 300 people set fire early Monday to a mosque belonging to Ahmadiyah sect in West Java district of Sukabumi, heavily damaging a school building inside the group's compound.

No casualties were reported in the latest vandalism against the Ahmadiyah sect in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.


East Timor premier, Indonesian president seek closer ties

Jakarta - East Timor Prime Minister Xanana GusmaoEast Timor Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao met Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Tuesday in Jakarta to discuss development and bilateral cooperation.

The two leaders witnessed the signing of bilateral agreements on trade, technical cooperation on small and medium-sized industries and technical cooperation in drug and food safety.

"We believe that this cooperation and friendship can give benefit and advantage for our two countries," Gusmao said.


Bali bomber Amrozi plans to take second wife while on death row

Jakarta  - Amrozi, one of three Islamic militants on death row for the 2002 Bali bombings, plans to take a second wife next month in a ceremony at his Indonesian prison, his defence lawyer said Wednesday.

Along with his brother Ali Ghufron, alias Mukhlas, and Imam Samudra, Amrozi faces death by firing squad for their role in the two nightclub bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign visitors.

Achmad Michdan, one of the three men's defence attorneys, said Amrozi, known as the "smiling assassin," was scheduled to take a second wife on May 10 at Batu prison on Nusakambangan island, off the southern coast of central Java.


Punj Lloyd arm bags order worth Euro 52 million

Indian engineering and construction company, Punj Lloyd Limited has informed that PT Punj Lloyd Indonesia and Punj Lloyd Pte Ltd, Singapore, wholly owned subsidiaries of the Company have been awarded an EPC project for 2x30 MW Coal Power Plant in Kalimantan Island, Indonesia for a consolidated value of Euro 52 Million (approx Rs 330 crores) by PT Makmur Sejahtera Wisesa, Indonesia.

PT Punj Lloyd Indonesia has been awarded the Construction Services Contract and Punj Lloyd Pte Ltd has been awarded the Equipment Supplies Contract.


Thousands hit the streets to mark May Day in Indonesia

Jakarta - Thousands of workers marched through the streets of several Indonesian cities on Thursday to mark International Labour Day, demanding higher wages and opposing the so-called outsourcing practices in the country.

In the capital Jakarta, more than 15,000 police officers were deployed, backed by water cannons, to monitor thousands of protestors from a number of labour organizations marching through the city's streets, said Jakarta city police spokesman I Ketut Untung Yoga Ana.

Security forces were on heightened alert because of rioting and vandalism that broke out in Jakarta during Labour Day rallies two years ago.


India's Reliance Power buys three coal mines in Indonesia

India's Reliance Power LtdNew Delhi - India's Reliance Power Ltd said Friday that it has acquired three coal mines in Indonesia with total reserves of 2 billion tons.

The company did not give any financial details about the transaction.

The acquisition was carried out by its wholly owned subsidiary Reliance Coal Resources Pvt Ltd, the PTI news agency reported.

The company acquired a 100-per-cent interest in the Srivijaya Bintangtiga Energy, Bryayan Bintangtiga Energy and Sugico Pendragon Energy mines in South Sumatra province, which are spread over an area of 40,000 hectares, the report said.


Vietnam deports five Indonesians for robbing bank customers

Hanoi - Vietnam has deported five Indonesian men who are accused of following customers home from banks to rob them, an official with the Indonesian embassy in Hanoi said Friday.

The five men, aged 26 to 53, were placed on a Thursday afternoon flight from Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport to Indonesia, according to An Ninh Thu Do (Capital Security), the newspaper of the Hanoi Police Department.

"They were not accused of robbery, but they were accused of intent to steal," said Herianda Latief, head of the Indonesian embassy's consular section.

According to the newspaper, gang leader Andy Trisaputra and his four accomplices were brought in by police last week after attempting to rob a Vietnamese man coming out of a bank.


Reliance Power’s unit acquires three coal mines in Indonesia

Reliance Power

Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group's (ADAG) flagship company Reliance Power has informed that Reliance Coal Resources Pvt. Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the company, has entered into an agreement to acquire 100 per cent interest in three coal mines in Indonesia.

However, the company did not give any further details about the transaction. The company has recently acquired three coal assets with coal reserves of about 2 billion tonnes in the Musi Rawas region of South Sumathra in Indonesia.

Reliance Power is the second large domestic power company to acquire coal mines in Indonesia.


Indonesia deports four rebels wanted over East Timor attacks

Bali, Indonesia  - Amid tight security, Indonesia extradited Monday four rebels wanted in East Timor over armed attacks against the half-island's president and prime minister in February.

The four, identified as Jose Gomes, 28, Digio Lay Carvalho, 26, Ismail Sansao Monis Soares, 26, and Tito Tilman, 25, were wearing red T-shirts and handcuffed, when they arrived at Bali's Ngurah Rai International airport aboard a chartered plane from Jakarta, under armed police escort.

Officers from the Indonesian national police handed them over to East Timor's Attorney General Longuinos Monteiro at Bali airport before their final flight to Dili to face charges over the February 11 attacks.


British man falls from high-rise apartment building in Jakarta

Jakarta - A British man fell to his death Monday from a high-rise apartment building in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, a police official said.

Police senior commissioner Choirul Anwar, chief of South Jakarta's police office, said Alexander Smith fell down to the 5th floor from the 21th floor of the Rasuna Apartment building in the Kuningan sub-district of South Jakarta at about 12:30 pm.

Anwar was quoted as saying by detik. com online news portal that Smith, about 30 years old, had been working as a journalist for a company he identified as Asia Work International.

An investigation was underway to determine whether Smith's death was a suicide or the result of foul play, he said.


Indonesia considers quitting OPEC

Indonesia considers quitting OPECJakarta  - Indonesia, OPEC's only member in the Asia-Pacific, is considering quitting the cartel because the country has become a net oil importer, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Tuesday.

"Indonesia at this stage is no longer an oil exporter," Yudhoyono said in opening remarks at a conference attended by provincial governors and regency heads.


12 Indonesian gold miners killed, nine missing in landslide

Jakarta  - At least 12 illegal gold miners were killed in a landslide in Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua while nine other people were missing and feared dead, police and local media reports said Tuesday.

The accident took place late Monday when more than 20 locals were working in the remote Timika district at an illegal mining camp near the Grasberg gold and copper mine, the world's largest gold mine, operated by PT Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of the US-based Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc.


Indonesia to send aid to cyclone victims in Myanmar

Jakarta - Indonesia has decided to provide relief aid worth 1 million dollars to Myanmar to help victims of a cyclone that swept through the country, killing more than 22,500 and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and destitute, local media reports said Wednesday.

"The tragedy reminded President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of the December 2004 deadly tsunami in Aceh," presidential spokesman Di Patti Djalal said.

Djalal was referring to the massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake that triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in 14 Indian Ocean countries, claiming 177,000 people in Indonesia's Aceh province, which lies on the northern tip of Sumatra.


Fire kills four on Indonesia's Bali island

Bali, Indonesia - Four people were burned to death when a fire gutted two shop-houses on the Indonesian resort island of Bali Thursday morning.

Another person was seriously injured after jumping from the second-floor to escape the blaze in Bali's Badung business centre.

The fire broke out at 6 am (2200 GMT Wednesday) and extinguished immediately after at least 11 fire trucks were deployed.

Witnesses said the bodies of four people of the same family, including a 6-year-old boy, were discovered on the second floor.

Local police officers, with the help of firefighters, evacuated the bodies and brought them to Denpasar's Sanglah general hospital for autopsies.


Rights group slams Indonesia, China for protecting Myanmar junta

Bangkok - Indonesia's move to block a resolution in the United Nations' Security Council over Myanmar's cyclone crisis was "unbelievable and unacceptable," Sunai Phasuk, a representative of rights group Human Rights Watch, said Saturday.

Indonesia has no excuse for its cynical tactics because it received massive lifesaving international help after the tsunami disaster in December 2004, said the New York-based agency's international representative.

Myanmar's deeply suspicious military regime has refused to allow most foreign aid workers to distribute aid in the crisis zones despite estimates that hundreds of thousands of people are homeless and in need of food, medicine and shelter.


Fire ravages Buddhist shrine, kills seven in North Sumatra

Jakarta - A fire razed a Buddhist shrine in the Indonesian province of North Sumatra, killing seven people and injuring seven others, local media reports said Monday.

The accident took place early on Sunday when the fire gutted the Buddhist Avalo Kitesvara shrine in North Sumatra's Pematang Siantar district, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

Commissioner Shafwan Khayat, chief of the Siantar's district police was quoted as saying that the fire broke out at about 1 am Sunday in a prayer hall on the shrine's second floor.

The raging flames immediately spread to adjoining rooms on the same floor, and eventually reached the third floor, Khayat was quoted as saying.


Thousands rally against fuel price hikes in Indonesia

Jakarta  - Anti-government rallies were held in several of Indonesia's big cities on Monday, protesting against a government plan to raise fuel prices and cut subsidies.

At the capital's main roundabout, several thousand students, activists and housewives began a march to the presidential palace, causing heavy traffic jams along Jakarta's main thoroughfares.

"This (fuel prices hike) will only add to the misery of destitute people. The fuel price hike will cause the prices of other basic needs to increase," shouted Edi Saidi, the protest coordinator from the Urban Poor Consortium.

"We call on the government to cancel its plans to raise the fuel prices," Saidi said.


Jindal Stainless inks JV pact with Indonesian firm PT Antam Tbk

Jindal Stainless inks JV pact with Indonesian firm PT Antam Tbk

Stainless steel maker Jindal Stainless has informed that the company has signed a joint venture agreement with Indonesian mining major PT Antam Tbk to develop a nickel smelting and stainless steel plant in South East Sulawesi (Indonesia).

The total investment is estimated at about US$ 700 million (about Rs 841.48 crore), which will be funded with an optimum mix of debt and equity.


Protests mount against fuel price hikes in Indonesia

Jakarta  - Hundreds of angry students took to the streets in a number of Indonesian cities for a second day on Tuesday to protest against a government plan to raise fuel prices and cut off subsidies.

In the East Java district of Bojonegoro, dozens of university students clashed with police officers. A policeman was injured in the scuffle and two protestors were detained, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

In Malang city of East Java, student protestors briefly took hostage a truck carrying fuel, while in the adjacent district of Madiun, angry demonstrators forced their way into a local state-run radio station, demanding the operator air their voice of objection against the fuel price hikes.


Millions of Indonesian poor to receive fuel subsidies

Jakarta - Anti-government rallies didn't abate Thursday as the Indonesian government was set to pay the equivalent of 1.55 billion dollars cash to about 19.1 million impoverished families to help them cope with the impact of planned fuel price hikes.

Sporadic protests continue to sweep through more than a dozen cities across the vast archipelago nation for a fourth-straight day, opposing the government's plan to cut subsidies and raise domestic fuel prices.

In the central Java capital of Semarang, dozens of student protestors marched to a regional state-run radio station, demanding a live broadcast of their opposition against the fuel price hikes, Elshinta private radio station reported.


Indonesian ferry with hundreds aboard catches fire

Indonesian ferry with hundreds aboard catches fireJakarta  - A ferry carrying more than 700 people caught fire in rough seas off the Central Kalimantan province of the Indonesian portion of Borneo Island, but there were no immediate reports of casualties, officials and local media reports said.

The Dharma Kencana ferry with 712 people on board, was en route from the Central Java port of Semarang to Sampit port in central Kalimantan when it caught fire at about 12:45 pm (0545 GMT), said the chief of the East Kotawaringin district, Adjunct Senior Commissioner Djihartono.


Governor seeks to speed up Java-Sumatra bridge construction

Jakarta  - An Indonesian governor pushing the construction of what would be the world's longest road and railway bridge said he hopes work could begin next year on the structure that would link the islands of Java and Sumatra, a news agency reported Monday.

"Hopefully, the initial step can be implemented in early January 2009," the state-run Antara agency quoted Lampung Governor Syachruddin ZP as saying.

A memorandum of understanding for the 29-kilometre bridge across the Sunda Straits was signed in 2007 between the governors of western Java's Banten province and southern Sumatra's Lampung province and representatives of a consortium that is to construct the bridge.


Anti-government protests mark anniversary of Suharto's downfall

Jakarta  - Marking the 10th anniversary of the late president Suharto's downfall, thousands of angry Indonesians took to the streets in cities across the country on Wednesday, venting their rage at a government plan to cut fuel subsidies and increase prices hike.

Amid continued fuel shortages in various cities on the main islands of Java and Sumatra, protestors demanded President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono step down because of his failure to improve the economy.

In the Indonesian capital, around 15,000 students, youths and activists were scheduled to take part in protest rallies at several locations, with the presidential palace the main target, said a Jakarta city police officer.


Mount Semeru volcano in Indonesia's East Java heats up

Jakarta - Indonesian authorities on Thursday urged residents living around the slopes of Mount Semeru in Indonesia's crowded East Java province to keep their distance from the active volcano, which appears to be heating up.

Vulcanologists upgraded the alert status of Mount Semeru volcano to level three, one level below a full state of alert, after the 3,676-metre-high volcano on Wednesday sent hot lava as much as 3,000 metres down its slopes.

Villagers and farmers were urged "not to conduct activity at a radius of 4 kilometres from the crater, especially around the south-east of the volcano's slopes," said Surono, head of Indonesia's Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation at the directorate general of volcanology.


6.7 magnitude earthquake rattles eastern Indonesia

Jakarta - An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale shook parts of eastern Indonesia early Saturday, but there were no immediate reports of damages or casualties.

The quake's epicentre was in the Maluku province, 194 kilometres north-west of Saumlaki regency, according to an official report from the Jakarta meteorology and geophysics agency.

The quake was 72 kilometres beneath the ocean, which was quite deep for the area, so there was no tsunami potential, the report said.

In December 2004, a 9.1-magnitude quake triggered tsunamis that struck nine countries. The waves killed some 177,000 people in Indonesia's Aceh province alone. (dpa)


Indonesia hikes fuel prices 30 per cent, gives subsidies to poor

Jakarta - FuelPetrol prices in Indonesia rose by almost 30 per cent on Saturday under a government plan to safeguard the state budget.

Officials also began offering fuel subsidies to the poor to help offset the price hike.

"Considering the rising global fuel price and the heavy burden of subsidies on the budget, we have decided to raise the fuel price," energy minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said in Jakarta on Friday.


Indonesian president defends fuel price hikes amid protests

Indonesian president defends fuel price hikes amid protestsJakarta  - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono defended his unpopular move to raise domestic fuel prices Monday, as anti-government rallies continued in the world's fourth most-populous country.

Yudhoyono told a forum of regional investors that Friday's decision to reduce oil subsidies and raise fuel prices an average of 28.7 per cent was necessary to avoid an economic meltdown.


Indonesia hails US move to lift travel warning

Jakarta - Indonesia on Monday welcomed the decision by the US government to lift its eight-year travel warning for the country and Washington's assessment that security had improved in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

"We have long waited for such a decision," presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said. "Hopefully, this decision would help boost the number of tourist visitors from the United States to Indonesia."

"Many US and world figures have paid a visit to Indonesia. They have proven themselves that Indonesia is a peaceful country," Djalal said, adding, "Threats of terrorism can happen anywhere, any time and attack whosoever."


Protestors clash with police in Indonesia over fuel prices

Jakarta  - Hundreds of students clashed with police Tuesday in protests against fuel prices, the latest in a series of demonstrations opposing the government's move to cut subsidies.

Students threw rocks at riot police in two eastern Indonesian cities, prompting the officers to charge back using batons.

No one was reported injured in the clashes but at least two demonstrators were detained in South Sulawesi capital of Makassar after more than 30 students hurled stones at police.

Another clash between students and policemen also took place in East Java capital of Surabaya, where angry protesters demanding the resignations of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Elshinta radio reported.


World's rarest rhinos make first appearance on video in Indonesia

World's rarest rhinos make first appearance on video in IndonesiaJakarta - The world's rarest rhinoceros has been captured on videotape by specially designed video cameras in the jungles of Indonesia's Java, an international environmental group said Thursday.

The female rhino, which was accompanied by a calf, promptly charged the camera, sending it flying in Ujung Kulon National Park in western tip of Java island, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said in a statement.


Indonesian mud-flow victims mark second anniversary with prayer

Jakarta - Thousands of Indonesians left homeless by an out-of-control mud flow caused by an industrial accident marked the disaster's second anniversary Thursday with a prayer for immediate compensation from the government and company.

Thousands of residents from more than 10 affected villages in Sidoardjo in East Java province took part in the service at a dyke near their submerged homes.

Thirteen people were killed and more than 50,000 displaced since the Indonesian company PT Lapindo Brantas hit an underground mud volcano while drilling a gas well at a depth of 3,000 metres on May 29, 2006.


Indonesian capital prepares for extreme tidal waves

Indonesian capital prepares for extreme tidal wavesJakarta - The Indonesian capital Jakarta is in a state of alert anticipating a high tide that will likely hit the city next week, causing floods in parts of the city, officials said on Friday.

"We are aware of the situation and have built up higher retaining walls and put sand bags in areas that will likely be hit by the tidal wave," said Wisnu Subagio head of Jakarta's office of public works.

He said that most likely north Jakarta and the highway to the airport would be affected. Last year November waters reached roof-high levels in the hardest-hit areas.


Tropical forests in Indonesia and Malaysia being axed in favour of palm oil

London, June 2: A report in New Scientist has determined that tropical forests in Indonesia and Malaysia are being axed in favour of palm oil.

Between 1990 and 2005 palm plantations rocketed by 1.87 million hectares in Malaysia and by more than 3 million hectares in Indonesia.

With the help of data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Lian Pin Koh at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and David Wilcove of Princeton University in the US, found that more than half the palm plantations came at the expense of forests.

These include the largely pristine, intact forest in Indonesia and previously logged forest in Malaysia.

The rest of the expansion covered pre-existing cropland.


Indonesian president condemns attack by Muslim hardliners

Jakarta  - Indonesian president condemns attack by Muslim hardliners Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono condemned Monday a violent attack by Muslim hardliners against interfaith activists and is urging legal action be taken and the perpetrators brought to justice.

"I strongly condemn the act of violence by a certain group of people. I called legal action to be taken against the perpetrators and brought them to justice," Yudhoyono said, adding that the violence has "tarnished our country's reputation."


Pressure mounts to outlaw radical Indonesian Muslim group

Jakarta - Pressure mounted Tuesday for the Indonesian government to outlaw the Muslim hardline group Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) following a violent attack over the weekend by followers against interfaith supporters.

In east Java provinces, hundreds of Nahdlatul Ulama supporters - Indonesia's largest Islamic organization - rallied demanding that the government disband the FPI. In a similar protest Monday in Jogjakarta, central Java, one person was injured during a scuffle with supporters of the hardliner group.

Indonesian police have identified five FPI activists as suspects in Sunday's attacks on participants in a religious tolerance rally in the capital, leaving nearly 30 people injured.


Indonesian police detain radical Muslims over attack

Jakarta  - Indonesian police arrested at least 59 Muslim hardliners Wednesday for their alleged involvement in a violent attack over the weekend against a rally by interfaith supporters.

Indonesia's national police spokesman, Inspector General Abubakar Nataprawira said that some 59 members of Muslim hardliner group Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), had been detained for questioning in connection with Sunday's violent attack.

"Fifty nine people, including Habib Rizieq Shihab, were taken to the Jakarta police headquarters for questioning," Nataprawira said, referring to the hardliner group's chairman.


Parts of Indonesian capital inundated by exceptional tide

Jakarta - Some parts of Indonesian capital Jakarta were inundated by seawater that rose more than 2 metres overnight, caused by an extremely high tide, local officials said Wednesday.

"The water was more than 2 metres higher than usual last night and we predict it will get higher tonight," Jakara governor Fauzi Bowo was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency Antara.

North Jakarta was the area most affected by the tidal wave. Floods swamped some homes in the area with 20 centimeters of water. The peak of the flooding hit around 9 pm Tuesday.


Nalco Plans Expansion

India’s second largest producer of aluminium National Aluminium Co Ltd Nalco Plans Expansion(Nalco) has decided to invest around Rs 400 billion in greenfield and brownfield expansion projects by the next five years.

The company’s growth plans includes establishment of a 500,000-tonne smelter and a 1,250 mw captive power plant in Indonesia at a cost of Rs 140 billion.

Nalco is also planning to set up a smelter and power plant in South Africa with a total investment of around Rs 160 billion plus a 310,000-tonne smelter in Iran.


6.1 magnitude quake jolts eastern Indonesia

6.1 magnitude quake jolts eastern IndonesiaJakarta  - An earthquake registering 6.1 on the Richter scale struck the eastern Indonesian islands Sunday morning, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damages, the Indonesian seismological agency said.

The quake struck at 5:23 am Jakarta time (2223 GMT Saturday) with an epicentre was about 68 kilometres north-east of Ruteng, a district town on Flores island, said officials at Indonesia's National Meteorology and Geophysics Agency.


Indonesian Muslim rally calls for ban on a deviant sect

Jakarta  - Thousands of Indonesian Muslims staged a peaceful but noisy protest outside presidential palace on Monday, calling for the government to immediately ban the minority Ahmadiyah sect that the country's top cleric called "deviant."

Members of Islamic organizations around the capital Jakarta and nearby areas, including hardliner groups the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Hizbut Tahrir, also demanded the police released FPI chairman Habib Rizieq from jail.

"This peaceful action is again to remind the government to immediately finish its homework, disbanding Ahmadiyah which have clearly proven to besmirch Islamic teachings," said Muhammad Al-Khaththath, secretary-general of the Islamic Forum.


Controversy engulfs government decree on "deviant" Islamic sect

Jakarta - Restrictions imposed against a minority Muslim sect have provoked discontent in Indonesia with human rights groups on Wednesday denouncing the decree and hardliner groups demanding Ahmadiyah be outlawed.

"The decree ran counter to the constitution, which guarantee the basic rights of citizen," said Taufik Basari from the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation. "Given these considerations, we demand the government reverse the decree."

Usman Hamid - the coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence, a human rights group - said the order could be interpreted many ways and it "could lead to further conflicts in the future."


Australian pledges cooperation with neighbouring Indonesia

Jakarta  - Indonesia and Australia signed on Friday a new forest carbon partnership aimed to fight climate change in the region, and the two agreed to improve bilateral ties as well as security cooperation.

"We have signed Australia-Indonesia Forest Carbon Partnership as a concrete example of cooperation between the two countries in fighting climate change in the forestry field," Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told a joint press conference after he held talks with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Other issues discussed, include trade and investment, cooperation on education, tourism as well as defence and security, Yudhoyono said.


Malnutrition claims more children's lives in eastern Indonesia

Jakarta - The death toll from malnutrition in the eastern Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara rose to 23 this week while thousands of other lives were in danger, local officials and media reports said Tuesday.

At least 114 other children have been treated at hospitals in a number of districts in the province, said Stefanus Bria, head of the East Nusa Tenggara's provincial health office.

"Twenty-three children, mostly under the age of 5, have died since January this year with tens of thousands of cases of malnutrition-related complications recorded across the province's 20 regencies," Stefanus said.


Indonesian parliament passes Islamic banking bill into law

Jakarta - The Indonesian parliament on Tuesday passed a Sharia or Islamic banking bill into law, paving the way for the government to ensure legal certainty in running the sharia banking industry in the world's most-populous Muslim country.

All but one of the 10-factions at the House of Representatives (DPR) favoured the passage of the bill into law, with only the Peace and Prosperity Party rejecting it, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

Economists say the long-awaited law will strengthen the regulatory environment and pave the way for further growth of Indonesia's market for Islamic finance.


Indonesia awaits delivery of six Russian-made helicopters

Jakarta - Indonesia will soon receive six Russian-made Mi-35 fighting helicopters to improve the country's existing armaments, the country's state-run media report said Wednesday.

Army Chief of Staff General Agustadi Sasongko Purnomo said the six combat helicopters would be delivered in stages starting June to October this year.

"Our test team returned from Russia on Monday. They went to Russia to check the helicopters' final preparedness," Agustadi was quoted as saying by the state-run Antara news agency.

In 2003, Indonesia had purchased two similar type of Mi-35 helicopters from Russia.


Indonesian Muslim rally against a deviant sect

Indonesian Muslim rally against a deviant sectJakarta  - Thousands of Indonesian Muslims rallied outside the presidential palace Wednesday, demanding for an immediate ban of a minority sect that the country's top cleric has branded "deviant."

Around 5,000 activists from a number of Islamic organizations, including hardliner groups the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Hizbut Tahrir, also demanded the police released FPI chairman Habib Rizieq from custody.


Indonesian Muslim rally against a deviant sect

Jakarta - Thousands of Indonesian Muslims rallied outside the presidential palace Wednesday, demanding for an immediate ban of a minority sect that the country's top cleric has branded "deviant."

Around 5,000 activists from a number of Islamic organizations, including hardliner groups the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Hizbut Tahrir, also demanded the police released FPI chairman Habib Rizieq from custody.

Waving and banners, saying: "Disbanding Ahmadiyah is a fix price," and many posters with the pictures of both Rizieq and Munarman, another radical activist who claimed responsibility in the attack against a religion tolerance rally on June 1.


Indonesia plans forest fire management cooperation with Japan

Jakarta  - The Indonesian government has set aside the equivalent of more than 40,000 dollars this year for cooperation with Japan in forest fire management, a senior Forestry Ministry official said Wednesday.

"Through the cooperation, we hope Japan will grant more than 500 million yen [4.63 million yen]," said Soni Partono, director for forest fire management at the directorate general of forest protection and natural conservation. "Last year, Japan gave us 300 million yen for the cooperation."

Indonesia and Japan have long cooperated in the field and last year's grant was for training on how to prevent forest fires, the state-run Antara news agency quoted Partono as saying.


Basel hazardous waste conference opens in Bali

IndonesiaBali, Indonesia  - Representatives from 170 countries kicked off their five-day informal meeting on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Monday, to discuss how to manage the trans-boundary traffic of hazardous waste.

Indonesia's Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar opened the conference, which will focus on the impacts of hazardous waste on human health and livelihoods in terms of the UN's millennium development goals, conference organizers said.

Witoelar said Indonesia's long coastline - the second longest coastal line in the world - made it particular vulnerable to the illegal dumping of toxic waste under the Basel Convention.


Boat carrying Indonesian illegals capsizes in Malaysian waters

Kuala Lumpur - Five people died and seven more are missing after a boat, believed to be ferrying illegal Indonesian migrants, capsized in waters off Malaysia's southern Johor state, reports said Wednesday.

Two survivors who were picked up by local police on a beach early Tuesday told authorities their boat was carrying 14 people from Batam, Indonesia, when it capsized, said district acting police chief Mohammad Shamsuddin.

"The small boat they were in was probably hit by strong waves as they were approaching land and capsized," Mohammad was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times daily.

He said the two did not have travel documents.


Sumatran tiger kills Indonesian farmer

Jakarta  - A wild tiger attacked and mauled a farmer to death Thursday in Indonesia's Aceh province on the northern end of Sumatra, a local media report said.

The state-run Antara news agency reported that the incident took place on Thursday morning when the victim, identified as Herman, 33, along with his neighbour Khairuddin, 36, were walking to his plantation about 3 kilometres from his residence in southern Aceh district of Tapaktuan.

Razali, head of the Simpang Village, was quoted as saying that residents founded the body of Herman with deep wounds on his head and stomach.

A series of attacks by tigers in Sumatra in recent months has sparked fear among residents living in nearby forests.


Indonesia set to execute two Nigerians for drug smuggling

Jakarta, IndonesiaJakarta - Indonesia plans to carry out its first executions for drug offenses in four years Thursday night when two Nigerians found guilty of smuggling heroin into the country are to go in front of a firing squad, officials said.


India-born US millionaire gets 11 years for abuse of Indonesian maids

Washington, June 27: India-born US millionaire Varsha Sabhnani, who along with her husband, was convicted of enslaving and torturing two Indonesian women, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison and fined 25,000 dollars.

Varsha, 46, was seen wiping out tears while talking to two of her four children and husband Mahender Sabhnani, who is due to be sentenced later. Mahender (51) was also seen crying as the judge pronounced the sentence.

The trial provided a glimpse into a growing US problem of domestic workers exploited in slave-like conditions.

The victims testified that they were beaten with brooms and umbrellas, slashed with knives, and forced to climb stairs and take freezing showers as punishment.


Indonesian air force plane missing with 18 people on board

Jakarta  - A Casa airplane belonging to the Indonesian Air Force with 18 people on board was missing and presumed crashed in thick jungle in West Java province, officials said Friday.

Air Force spokesman Chaeruddin Ray said three among 18 people on board the Casa C-212 aircraft were foreigners and their fate remained unknown.

Officials from Indonesia's national search and rescue agency said the plane disappeared from radar screens at 3:03 pm on Thursday around Mount Salak, about 40 kilometres south of Jakarta. They said dense jungle and mountainous terrain were hampering the search.


Basel hazardous waste conference ends on Indonesia's Bali island

IndonesiaBali, Indonesia - Representatives from 170 countries concluded a five-day informal meeting on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Friday, vowing to fight the illegal trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste and promote the safe and environmentally sound management of waste within each country.

A declaration issued at the end of the five-day informal conference agreed to further promote international, regional, and inter-agency cooperation, coordination and planning, while sharing the technology needed to tackle hazardous wastes issues.


Two Indonesian men convicted of organ trading

Singapore - Two Indonesian men were convicted of organ trading Friday by a Singapore court.

The pair were due to be sentenced next week, a Ministry of Health statement said.

Each pleaded guilty to a charge of organ trading and making a false declaration.

Organ trading often involves the exploitation of "poor and socially disadvantaged donors who are unable to make an informed medical choice and suffer potential medical risks," the ministry's statement said.

The Indonesians face a penalty of up to 12 months in prison or a fine of 10,000 Singapore dollars (7,462 US dollars) or both. (dpa)


Evacuation of bodies underway from crashed Indonesian plane

Evacuation of bodies underway from crashed Indonesian planeJakarta  - Evacuation was underway for the 18 bodies, including three foreigners, from an Indonesian military plane that crashed in the West Java jungle, officials and local media reports said Saturday.

But foggy weather and steep terrain in the Mount Salak area were hampering the joint rescue teams comprised of hundreds of military and police officers and local residents, officials said.


Indonesian gets 18 months for stealing ancient Buddhist statues

Jakarta - An Indonesian district court on Monday sentenced a museum curator to 18 months in prison for his role in stealing ancient Buddhist statues and selling them to a local businessman while using replicas to cover up the theft.

Central Java's Solo district court found Darmodipuro, alias Suhadi, or Mbah Hadi, guilty of violating the country's cultural preservation laws for stealing and trading six ancient Buddhist statues belonging to the Surakarta Museum.

Presiding judge Ganjar Susilo said in his ruling that Darmodiputro, 69, as the museum's curator, ought to be held responsible for taking care and protecting the museum's collection, and "not stealing and selling them," detik. com online news service reported.


Indonesian police raid nets terror suspects, explosives

Jakarta - Indonesian police have captured several terrorist suspects, including a Singaporean, and seized dozens of assembled bombs and a cache of explosives, officials and local media reports said Thursday. 

The nine terrorist suspects, believed to be members of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a regional terrorist network linked to al-Qaeda, were arrested during various raids since June 28 at several locations in South Sumatra province. The latest arrest took place on Tuesday in the provincial capital of Palembang, national police spokesman Abubakar Nataprawira told reporters on late Wednesday. 

A Singaporean, identified as Alim, alias Omar or Taslim, was among the detained men, who was arrested last Saturday in South Sumatra district of Sekayu. 


Indonesian stocks drop 3.86 per cent

Jakarta  - The Indonesian stock market plunged 3.86 per cent Thursday, sparked by falls of regional and international markets, including further drops on Wall Street.

The Indonesia Composite Index closed at 2,286.611, dropping by 91.863 points from the previous day's close.

Dealers said the sharp fall was triggered mainly by foreign concerns, particularly the weakness of the US market. (dpa)


Two Indonesian diplomats injured in suicide bombing in Kabul

Jakarta - Indonesia condemned a suicide bombing attack Monday outside the Indian embassy in Kabul, killing 44 people and wounding around 147 others, including two Indonesian diplomats, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

"The Indonesian government condemned the suicide bomb attack outside the Indian embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday," said a statement issued by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry Affairs.

"The Indonesian government convey a deepest condolences to the family of the victims, and hope that the perpetrators behind the attack can be captured immediately and brought to justice," the statement said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah confirmed that two Indonesian diplomats were injured in the attack.


Indonesia at risk of renewed religious unrest, group says

Jakarta - Indonesia is at risk of fresh religious unrest as hardline Muslim groups gain greater influence over government policy, a published report said Tuesday.

The International Crisis Group (ICG), a Brussels-based think-tank, said radical Islamic groups are enjoying a level of influence disproportionate to the support they have in the wider community.

A recent government decree restricting the activities of the controversial minority Islamic sect Ahmadiyah was the result of five years of lobbying, said the report.


Sumatran tiger takes up residence at oil company's office

Jakarta - A Sumatran tiger entered an office of an oil company in Riau province and has remained there for the last 12 hours, local media reports said Wednesday. 

The tiger, an endangered species in Indonesia, came through the front door and entered an office of PT Bumi Siak oil company in Siak district of Riau province in eastern Sumatra on Tuesday evening, the state-run Antara news agency reported. 

An office employee, who identified himself only as Darman, was about to leave the office on Tuesday evening when the tiger suddenly appeared and went into one of the offices, he said. 

"The tiger is still in the office room but we don't have the courage to approach it," Darman said. 

The Sumatran tiger is believed to be the last remaining sub-species of tiger i


Bali bombers say they are ready to die

Jakarta - Three Indonesian Muslim militants on death row for the 2002 Bali bombings reaffirmed their readiness Thursday to die provided the execution is done in accordance to the Islamic laws, their lawyers said.

"In principle it (the planned execution) is no problem, as long as it has strong legal basis," Achmad Michdan, one of the three men's defence attorneys, said on his way to Nusakambangan island, off the southern coast of central Java, where the three convicts are incarcerated.


Indonesia behind East Timor atrocities

Sydney- Indonesia is set to own up about arming pro-Jakarta militias that brought death and destruction to East Timor both before and after the 1999 United Nations-supervised referendum that gave the tiny half-island its independence, a leaked report said Friday.

The acknowledgement that officials and army officers engaged in an "organized campaign of violence" is contained in a report prepared by a commission set up by both the Indonesian and East Timor governments that was leaked to The Sydney Morning Herald.

It says Indonesia should take "institutional responsibility" for the murder, rape, torture, arson and forced deportations that followed the independence vote.


Moderate earthquake strikes Indonesia's West Java

Jakarta-  A 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia's West Java province Friday afternoon, but there were no immediate reports of injury or structural damage, meteorologists said.

The quake struck at 1:51 pm (0651 GMT) at a depth of 11 kilometres, and occured at about 236 kilometres south-west of West Java district of Tasikmalaya, the National Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said.

An official at the agency said there were no reports of injury and damage following the quake, the latest to rock the world's vast archipelago nation in recent days.

Indonesia is located along the Pacific volcanic belt known as the "Ring of Fire," where earthquakes and volcanoes are common. (dpa)


Indonesia, Brazil agrees to improve ethanol research

Jakarta - Indonesia and Brazil agreed on Saturday to further boost cooperation in ethanol production.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his Brazil counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva witnesses the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on bio-ethanol production and technique.

In a joint press conference, Yudhoyono said Indonesia will sent an delegation to Brazil to attend the bio-ethanol conference in November.

"Brazil has succeeded on developing bio-ethanol and we can learn from them," Yudhoyono said. "I will send a forceful delegation to attend the Bio-ethanol International Conference in November. We will also send our university students to learn agriculture and alternative energy."


Indonesia kicks off a nine-month election campaign

Jakarta - Indonesia kicked off Saturday a lengthy nine-month election campaign for next year's parliamentary elections with a call to all political parties eligible to run in the upcoming polls to commit to peaceful rallies.

Thirty-four parties are eligible to take part in the campaign for the legislative elections on April 9, 2009, to vie for places in Indonesia's 682-member parliament. Candidates for the Regional Representatives' Council are also invited to take part in the campaign.

In the last general elections held in 2004, a total of 24 political parties contested the election.

The political parties can then start "selling" their missions and visions to win over voters' hearts and minds from Sunday until April 5, 2009.


Indonesia to protest Yale University environment report

Jakarta - Indonesia will lodge a formal protest against Yale University for its environmental performance index (EPI) report, which ranked Indonesia one of the world's least environmentally friendly countries, a local news report said Monday.

The Jakarta Post reported that Amanda Katili, the State Ministry for the Environment's special expert on climate change, was scheduled to fly to the United States Monday to present the newest forestry data in an attempt to refute the EPI report.

State Minister of the Environment Rachmat Witoelar was quoted as saying the report was unfair. "It is absurd because all the data is invalid," he said.


Indonesian president says he regrets 1999 violence in East Timor

Bali, Indonesia - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed regret Tuesday but stopped short of apologizing for the violence that accompanied East Timor's UN-sponsored independence vote in 1999.

"We convey very deep regret of what happened in the past that has caused the loss of lives and property," Yudhoyono said after receiving a report of a truth inquiry which blames Jakarta for crimes against humanity during East Timor's independence vote nearly a decade ago.

"The government of Indonesia will immediately study and follow up the finding," he said.


Dozens arrested in Papua province for flying separatist flags

Jakarta - Indonesian police have detained 41 people in the country's easternmost province of Papua for allegedly hoisting separatist flags, a media report said Sunday. 

Papua police spokesman Senior Commissioner Agus Rianto said that the arrests took place Saturday in Papua's Fakfak district. All 41 are former political prisoners, he said. 

Three of the detainees hoisted the Bintang Kejora (Morning Star) flag belonging to the Free Papua Movement (OPM) separatist group in front of the former people's self-determination vote (Pepera) office, the Jakarta Post reported. 

Agus said that police had seized the flag and several documents, written in a local dialect, as well as several bladed weapons as evidence. 


Execution looms for 3 Bali bombers after legal options fail

Execution looms for 3 Bali bombers after legal options failJakarta  - The way has been cleared for the execution of three Muslim militants convicted for their roles in the 2002 Bali bombings, Indonesian Attorney General Hendarman Supandji said Monday.

"I hope (the execution) could take place before the fasting month of Ramadan," Supandji was quoted as saying by the state-run Antara news agency.

Supandji did not specify a date or time for the execution. Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims around the world, is expected to begin in early September.


EU's ban on Indonesian airlines good for the country, VP says

Jakarta, IndonesiaJakarta - Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said Friday that the European Union's (EU's) ban on the country's airlines, imposed after a spate of air accidents that killed hundreds of people in recent years, has been good for spurring the improvement of local aviation safety.

Kalla made the statement one day after the EU decided to continue its ban on 51 Indonesian airlines, which was imposed on July 6 last year. The EU said a lot of improvements are still needed by Indonesia to fully meet with international air safety standards.


Five more bodies found in serial killer inquiry in Indonesia

Jakarta, IndonesiaJakarta - Indonesian police on Monday unearthed five more bodies buried outside the house of an alleged serial killer in east Java, bringing the number of victims to 10, police and media reports said.

Two weeks ago, the capital city police arrested Verry Idham Henyansyah after a bag of body parts was discovered on a roadside in southern Jakarta. The suitcase contained a torso, legs, a head and neck.

Henyansyah, 30, who is also known as Ryan and is a Koran recital teacher, confessed to police to have murdered and dismembered Herry Santoso on July 11.


OPEC wants Indonesia to stay member despite importing oil

JakartOrganization of the Petroleum Exporting Countriesa - The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would like Indonesia to remain a member, the president of the oil cartel said Tuesday on a visit to the country that has become an oil importer.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced in May that his country was considering quitting OPEC because its interests have come into conflict with the cartel's policies since it began importing oil in 2003.


Oil prices above 120 dollars "abnormal," OPEC president says

OPECJakarta - Crude oil prices above 120 dollars a barrel are "abnormal" but they could fall to around 78 dollars under the right circumstances, the president of OPEC said Tuesday.

"If the dollar continues to strengthen and the political situation improves, then the long-term prices will be about 78 dollars," Chakib Khelil said while on a visit to Indonesia.

He added that the market was well-supplied with oil, refuting arguments that there is a world shortage of the commodity and members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) should increase production.


Fourteen workers die in Indonesia after drinking alcohol

Drinking AlcoholJakarta - At least 14 workers, most of them Thai citizens, died of suspected alcohol poisoning after having mixed drinks during a party in Indonesia's eastern province of Papua, a police spokesman said Tuesday.

National police spokesman Sulistyo Ishak said the incident took place Sunday night in the Merauke district of Papua. The alcohol also also caused up to 90 other people to fall sick.

"Fourteen workers have died after they drank the drink. There are some Thai workers among the dead people," Ishak said, adding that the the workers mixed several types of drinks.


Indonesian president opens three-day Islamic scholars conference

Jakarta - More than 300 Muslim leaders from around the world kicked off a three-day meeting in Jakarta Wednesday to discuss the role of Islam in conflicts in Muslim-populated countries.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in his keynote remarks that Muslims throughout the world are responsible for fostering global peace through religious tolerance.

"Too much attention and energy has been spent on resolving conflicts but still not enough on preventing them," Yudhoyono said.


Indonesia to execute Bali bombers despite protest

Bali BombersJakarta - Indonesia's Attorney-General's Office (AGO) on Friday insisted it would proceed with plans to execute by firing squad three Muslim militants sentenced to death over the 2002 Bali bombings, despite their lawyers' protests that such a method amounts to "torture".

Junior Attorney-General Abdul Hakim Ritonga said the executions of of Imam Samudra, Amrozi bin Nurhasyim and Ali Ghufron were legal, based on the Supreme Court's decision to reject the bombers' first appeal.


Eight missing after ferry sinks in eastern Indonesia

Eight missing after ferry sinks in eastern IndonesiaJakarta - Rescue workers searched Sunday for eight missing people after a ferry sank in rough waters in eastern Indonesia, state media said.

Eight bodies were picked up from the sea and 48 other people survived the MV Mole ferry overturned near the Sula Islands district in North Maluku province Thursday, the state-run Antara news agency reported.


Indonesian hardline Muslims rally against "deviant" minority sect

Jakarta - Hundreds of white-clad Indonesian Muslims rallied Monday outside the presidential palace in Jakarta, demanding the government immediately outlaw a minority Islamic sect branded by the country's top clerics as "heretical."

Organized by the Islamic Forum of Ummat (FUI) - a broad coalition of fundamentalist Islamic groups in Indonesia - the protestors chanted slogans, shouted "Allahu Akbar," 
("God is Great") and unfurling banners denouncing the Ahmadiyah sect.


Six Russian-made combat helicopters arrive in Indonesia

Jakarta - Indonesia on Wednesday received six Russian-made Mi-17-V combat helicopters as part of the country's effort to improve its existing armaments.

After a lengthy process, the six fully armed combat helicopters, ordered in 2003, arrived at the Indonesian Navy's airbase in East Java at Suarabaya, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

Rear Marshal Eris Heriyanto, director-general for defence facilities at the Indonesian Defence Ministry, said after signing notes on the helicopters' delivery that the three combat choppers would be used by the army's Aviation Centre.

The helicopter procurement process was marred by a corruption scandal which caused the state to lose around 3.24 million dollars.


6.6 magnitude earthquake rattles eastern Indonesia

6.6 magnitude earthquake rattles eastern Indonesia Jakarta - An undersea earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale shook parts of eastern Indonesia on Thursday morning, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The quake struck at about 5:41 am (2241 GMT Wednesday) with its epicentre about 51 kilometres north-east of Sumbawa Island, according to an official report from the Jakarta meteorology and geophysics agency.


Indonesian medical personnel set to join Japan's work force

NursesTokyo - Indonesian nurses and care-givers planning to train and pursue a career in Japan said Friday they hoped to break down barriers of prejudice for more of their compatriots follow.

"As a group of pioneers (in this project), we are hoping to gradually change Japan's mindset so that more of our counterparts can be easily accepted to work here for a long term," Erli Ridwan, 35, said at a press conference at Tokyo's Japan Press Centre Friday.

Ridwan arrived in Japan Thursday, along with 204 other Indonesian nurses and care-givers to start working in Japan's medical sector.


13 People Hospitalized With Bird Flu Symptoms

A village in Indonesia could be under grip of bird flu. According to officials, 13 People Hospitalized With Bird Flu Symptoms13 people from a village in North Sumatra were admitted in hospital this week after complaints of fever. Bird flu surveillance team from Indonesia's health ministry visited Air Batu village to analyze possible symptoms of bird flu. Blood samples of the patients have been sent for the test of bird flu.


6.0-magnitude earthquake strikes Indonesia's West Sumatra

Indonesia EarthquakeJakarta - An undersea earthquake registering 6.0 on the Richter scale struck the western coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra Friday afternoon, but there were no reports of injuries or damage, the Indonesian seismologist agency said.

The quake struck at 1:37 pm (0637 GMT) and was centred in the Indian Ocean, 140 kilometres south-east of Mentawai island, off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia's National Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said.

While it occurred only 10 kilometres beneath the seabed, the quake did not trigger a tsunami, the agency said.


One dead in rioting in Indonesia's Papua province

Jakarta, IndonesiaJakarta - One person died from gunshot wounds Saturday after Indonesian police opened fire in an attempt to stop rioting in the country's easternmost province of Papua, media reports said.

MetroTV reported the riot broke out after police officers removed an outlawed Free Papua Movement separatist flag, raised by a group of people at the end of rally in Wamena district town of Papua's Jayawijaya regency to mark an international day of indigenous' rights.


A small plane crash kills its pilot in Indonesia's Papua

A small plane crash kills its pilot in Indonesia's PapuaJakarta - A light plane crashed in Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua, killing its pilot, media reports said Sunday.

The plane, piloted by a US national identified only as Dave with no passenger on board, was en route from Wamena to Ndundu, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

The Pilatus Porter airplane belonging to Associated Mission Aviation went down in a mountainous area in Wamena district on Saturday.


13 Villagers from Air Batu in Indonesia free from Bird Flu

13 Villagers from Air Batu in Indonesia free from Bird FluThe test results of 13 persons from Air Batu village in North Sumatra, who were recently admitted in hospital with flu like symptoms, have been found negative for bird flu.

The death of three persons and admission of these patients triggered the suspicion of bird flu in the region. Medical experts believed that these people were affected with bird flu virus.


Indonesia rejects US lawmakers' call to release Papua activists

Indonesia rejects US lawmakers' call to release Papua activists Jakarta  - Indonesia rejected a demand by a group of US congressmen for the "immediate and unconditional" release of two Papuans convicted for raising a separatist flag four years ago, a presidential spokesman said Tuesday.

Dino Patti Djalal said the foreign ministry will respond through its embassy in the United States.

"The president will not reply to the letter sent by US Congress members but the Foreign Affairs Ministry will do so through the Indonesian ambassador in Washington," Djalal told reporters.


AirAsia Indonesia launches inaugural flight to Singapore

AirAsia Indonesia launches inaugural flight to Singapore Singapore - The inaugural flight of AirAsia Indonesia landed at Singapore's Changi Airport Thursday, making it the third airline to start operations in Singapore this year.

Aboard the flight from Pekanbaru, the capital city of Riau province, was the carrier's chief executive officer, Dharmadi, who like many Indonesians uses only one name.


Indonesian economic growth forecast at 6.2 per cent in 2009

Jakarta - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono unveiled Friday a draft state budget for the fiscal year 2009, forecasting economic growth of 6.2 per cent.

In a state of the nation address ahead the August 17 independence day, Yudhoyono said the government's revenues and grants in the 2009 draft state budget would amount to 1,022.6 trillion rupiah (112.37 billion dollars), while the total expenditures were forecast at 1,222.2 trillion rupiah (134.3 billion dollars).

Yudhoyono said the 2009 budget marked a 14.3-per-cent increase compared with the 2008 revised budget, predicting a budget deficit of 1.9 per cent of GDP, which will be mostly funded from domestic sources - mainly derived from the issuance of government bonds.


Indonesian president warns terrorism remains a threat

Jakarta - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned Friday that terrorism remained a threat to the country despite various achievements in combating such attacks.

In a state of the nation address ahead the August 17 independence day, Yudhoyono said efforts to thwart and overcome transnational crime and terrorism have shown "encouraging progress."

"The security apparatus has managed to arrest, prosecute and sentence the perpetrators," Yudhoyono said, adding that police discovered a cache of home-made explosives and bombs in South Sumatra's capital of Palembang in July.

"Various achievements are very heartening to all of us, but we must continue to heighten our vigilance," he said.


Indonesia releases prisoners to commemorate independence day

Indonesia releases prisoners to commemorate independence dayJakarta - Indonesia on Sunday marked its independence day with the reduction of jail sentences to tens of thousands of prisoners including convicted Australian drug traffickers.

More than 55,000 prisoners who have completed at least one-third of their sentences were granted reductions ranging from several weeks or months.

At least 5,700 inmates will walk free, said Untung Sugiyono, director-general of correctional institutions at the Justice and Human Rights Affairs Ministry.


Three killed as bridge collapses in west Sumatra

Three killed as bridge collapses in west Sumatra Jakarta - A suspension bridge collapsed in Indonesia's west Sumatra province, killing three people and injuring 11 others, local media reports said Monday.

The accident took place on Sunday afternoon in Pakandangan village, Pesisir Selatan regency, when dozens of people were crossing the bridge on their way to pay homage at the grave of a noted Muslim leader, Sheikh Abdul Wahab.

To reach the grave, the devout have to cross a 90-metre suspension bridge.


Indonesia delays execution of three Bali bombers

Jakarta, IndonesiaJakarta - Indonesian authorities said on Wednesday they have shelved plans to execute three death-row Bali bombers before the beginning of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in September.

Attorney-General Hendarman Supandji said the delay was due to the fact that his office had not yet received formal Supreme Court confirmation that the three condemned militants had exhausted all their appeals.


Victims of Indonesian mud volcano protest for compensation

Jakarta, IndonesiaJakarta- Hundreds of homeless residents from East Java province demanded compensation for their properties destroyed by a massive mudflow caused by an industrial accident.

More than 14,000 homes, 33 schools, 65 mosques and an orphanage have been buried since May 2006 when a "mud volcano" began oozing to the surface following an oil-drilling accident in East Java district of Sidoardjo, an industrial suburb.


Indonesia issues tsunami warning after strong quake

IndonesiaJakarta - Indonesia issued a tsunami warning Tuesday after a powerful earthquake struck parts of the western tip of Java and southern Sumatra province of Lampung, seismologists said.

The quake, measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale, struck under the Indian Ocean at about 10:07 am (0307 GMT), occurred at a depth of 20 kilometres, Indonesia's National Meterology and Geophysics Agency said in a short message.

The quake was located at about 125-kilometres north-west of Ujungkulon in the south-western tip of Java, about 630 kilometres south-west of Jakarta.


Muslim hardliners demand government ban "deviant" sect

Muslim hardliners demand government ban "deviant" sectJakarta - Thousands of Indonesian Muslim hardliners took to the streets of Jakarta Wednesday to demand the government immediately outlaw a minority Islamic sect branded "deviant" by top clerics.

Activists from the Islamic Defenders Front protested against the Ahmadiyah sect in front of the presidential palace and demanded the release of their leader Habib Rizieq Shihab from custody.


Indonesian Muslim militant on trial over attack on tolerance rally

Jakarta - An Indonesian Islamist hardliner went on trial amid tight security Friday over an attack on a rally for religious tolerance in June in which dozens of people were injured.

Government prosecutors charged Munarman, who, like many Indonesians, goes by one name, of committing harassment and destruction of property belonging to supporters of the interfaith rally.

Munarman, who is in custody, faces a seven-year sentence if found guilty in the attack that shocked moderate Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.

Members of the Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI), many clad in Islamic robes and headscarves, were caught on video attacking men, woman and children with bamboo sticks at the June 1 demonstration in Jakarta.


Indonesia seizes money from Suharto's youngest son

Jakarta, IndonesiaJakarta - The Indonesian government seized more than 133 million dollars from a company run by the youngest son of late dictator Suharto, local media reports said Saturday.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyanu Indrawati said state-run Bank Mandiri was ordered to seize 1.225 trillion rupiah (133.5 million dollars) from accounts of Timor Putra Nasional, a controversial car company owned by Hutomo Mandala Putra, better known as "Tommy Suharto," the Jakarta Post reported.

"(The transfer) is an effort to help secure state assets," Indrawati was quoted as saying.


Millions of Indonesian Muslims start fasting

Millions of Indonesian Muslims start fasting Jakarta - Millions of Muslims in Indonesia - the world's most populous Muslim country - on Monday begin fasting for the holy month of Ramadan, local media reported.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs announced the government's decision on Sunday evening that Monday is start of the fasting month of Ramadan after a meeting with leaders of Islamic organizations in the country, including the two largest ones, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah.


Minority Islamic sect banned in Indonesian province

Minority Islamic sect banned in Indonesian province Jakarta - Caving in to pressure from hardline Muslim groups, the provincial government of South Sumatra banned a minority Islamic sect branded "heretical" by the country's top clerics, media reports said Tuesday.

Acting Governor Mahyudin NS announced Monday that his administration had decided to prohibit the Ahmadiyah movement in the province on the grounds that it was "not compatible with Islamic teachings."


"Seasonal beggars" flock to Indonesian cities for Ramadan

"Seasonal beggars" flock to Indonesian cities for RamadanJakarta - Ramadan is prime time for Muslims to give charitable donations, so it's not surprising the Islamic holy month is the most lucrative season for beggars.

Beggars, including many old people and women with young children, have been flocking to Jakarta for the beginning of Ramadan in early September.


Orangutans under threat of extinction in Indonesia

Orangutans under threat of extinction in IndonesiaOrangutans under threat of extinction in IndonesiaJakarta, September 6 : A news report by Jakarta Post has suggested that the population of Orangutans in Kalimantan or Borneo Island of Indonesia remained under threat of extinction, despite claims by palm oil firms of applying eco-friendly work practices.

Deforestation for palm oil plantation was blamed for the killing the protected apes, particularly those living outside conservation areas, according to Novi Hardianto, the habitat program manager of the Center for Orangutan Protection (COP).


Missing Polish diver feared dead in eastern Indonesian sea

Jakarta - Search teams failed to find any sign of a Polish tourist who went missing eight days ago while scuba diving off the easternmost Indonesian province of Papua, local media reports said Sunday.

Kemal Abbas, chief of the Cenderawasih Bay National Park, said Robert Zsupuru, along with 10 other Polish tourists, left for the Auri Islands, near Matas Island off the Papua province August 27.

"On their third day, all of them went diving, but since then Robert has not been found," Kemal was quoted as saying by The Jakarta Post.

According to the search teams, Robert had most likely run out of oxygen while diving at a depth of greater than 80 meters, the newspaper reported.


Moderate quake strikes Indonesia's Sumatra, kills one

Orangutans under threat of extinction in IndonesiaOrangutans under threat of extinction in IndonesiaJakarta - A shallow 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia's Sumatra island Tuesday, leaving one woman dead and 20 people injured, geologists and media reports said.

The quake hit at 10:07 am (0307 GMT) and was centred 51 kilometres south-west of Tebingtinggi in Bengkulu province, or about 64 kilometres north-west of Lahat in South Sumatra province, the Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said via text message.

The quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometres, it said.


Landslide, floods kill 11 in Indonesia

Landslide, floods kill 11 in IndonesiaJakarta - At least 11 people were killed in a landslide and floods that swept through villages in two Indonesian provinces, local media reports said Wednesday.

In South Kalimantan province on the Indonesian portion of Borneo island, heavy floods have inundated thousands of homes in a number of districts for the past three weeks and claimed the lives of at least seven people, the state-run Antara news agency reported.


Australia to provide food assistance for children in Indonesia

Jakarta - Australia announced Wednesday it will provide 50 billion rupiah (5.36 million dollars) to help improve food security and reduce malnutrition among children in eastern Indonesia, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said.

The contribution was announced by Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Bill Farmer, while visiting a clinic in Kupang, West Timor, the WFP said in a press statement.

"It is with pleasure that I announce that from 2008-10 Australia is providing the WFP with a further 50 billion rupiah (6.5 million Australian dollars)," the statement quoted Farmer as saying.


Indonesia issues tsunami warning after powerful quake

Indonesia issues tsunami warning after powerful quake Jakarta - Indonesia issued a tsunami warning Thursday after a powerful earthquake struck the eastern province of North Maluku, seismologists said.

The quake, measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, struck about 7 am (0000 GMT), with its epicentre on the sea about 122 kilometres north- west of Ternate, the provincial capital on North Maluku. It occurred at a depth of 10 kilometres, Indonesia's National Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said in a short message.


Tsunami warning lifted in Indonesia

Jakarta - Tsunami warning lifted in Indonesia Indonesian authorities lifted a tsunami warning after tidal waves did not materialize following a powerful earthquake that struck the eastern province of North Maluku on Thursday morning.

An official at Indonesia's National Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) said that a tsunami warning had been lifted, more than 40 minutes after the 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck the Halmahera Island at about 7 am (0000 GMT).


Indonesia lifts tsunami warning after powerful quake

Indonesia lifts tsunami warning after powerful quakeJakarta - A powerful earthquake struck islands in the eastern Indonesian province of North Maluku Thursday, briefly triggering a tsunami warning and causing residents to flee their homes in panic, seismologists and officials said.

The tsunami alert was cancelled about 40 minutes later after no tidal waves materialized, seismologists said. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.


Malaysians top foreign home buyers in Singapore

Singapore - Malaysians overtook Indonesians as the top foreign buyers of private homes in Singapore in the second quarter, a property consultancy said Thursday.

According to DTZ, Malaysians accounted for 19 per cent of the overall purchases by foreigners, who bought a total of 913 private homes, up 3 per cent from the previous quarter.

Indonesia followed with a 17-per-cent share. Chinese and Indian citizens each accounted for 11 per cent of the foreign buyers while purchases from UK nationals accounted for 9 per cent.

The Indonesians were found to favour the prime districts, DTZ senior director Chua Chor Hoon said.


Truck plunges into ravine, kills 10 in Indonesia

Truck plunges into ravine, kills 10 in Indonesia Jakarta - A truck packed with 42 people plunged into a ravine in the eastern Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara, killing 10 people and injuring dozens of others, a local media report said Thursday.

The accident took place on Wednesday when a truck, which was used to carry passengers, overturned and plunged into a ravine in East Manggarai district on Flores Island, about 1,700 kilometres east of Jakarta, the online news portal Kompas. com said.


Indonesian police investigate blasts near US-run gold mine

Jakarta - Indonesian police said Friday they were investigating two suspected bomb blasts near a mine operated by US mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc in the country's easternmost province Papua.

Company spokesman Mindo Pangaribuan said no one was injured in the blasts, took place early riday and that operations were not affected.

"Investigation is still underway," Papua police chief Bagus Eko Danto, was quoted as saying by the state-run Antara news agency, adding that a team of investigators, including members of the country's elite anti-terror unit were rushed to the scene.


6.1-magnitude earthquake strikes eastern Indonesia

6.1-magnitude earthquake strikes eastern IndonesiaJakarta - A 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck Saturday morning in eastern Indonesia's Maluku islands, seismologists said.

The quake struck at 7:04 am Jakarta time (0004 GMT) at a depth of 72 kilometres, about 97 kilometres north-east of Ambon, capital of Maluku province, Indonesia's National Meteorological and Geophysics Agency (BMG) said.

An official at BMG office in Ambon, who identified himself only as Amien, said there were no immediate reports of injury and damage from the quake, which struck in the sea off the Seram Island of southern Maluku.


6-magnitude earthquake strikes off East Timor

6-magnitude earthquake strikes off East TimorJakarta - An undersea earthquake registering 6.0 on the Richter scale struck Sunday morning off East Timor, but there were no reports of injury or damage, Indonesian seismological officials said.

The quake struck at 7 am Sunday Jakarta time (0000 GMT), about 159 kilometres south-east of Dili, the capital of East Timor, according to the National Meteorology and Geophysics Agency.

The event was centred only 10 kilometres beneath the seabed but did not trigger a tsunami, the agency said.


Indonesian stock market drops 4.7 per cent

Jakarta - Indonesian stock market plunged by 4.7 per cent Monday, sparked by falls of regional and international markets due to concerns about the US financial sector.

The Indonesia Composite Index closed at 1,719.254 points, or down 84.808 points, or 4.7 per cent.

Dealers said the sharp decrease was triggered by fells of the regional markets due to concerns about the US financial sector. (dpa)


6.3-magnitude earthquake strikes off East Timor

Jakarta, IndonesiaJakarta- An undersea earthquake registering 6.3 on the Richter scale struck early Tuesday evening off East Timor, but there were no reports of injury or damage, Indonesian seismological officials said.

The quake struck at 6:15 pm Jakarta time (1115 GMT), about 163 kilometres south-east of Dili, the capital of East Timor, according to Indonesia's National Meteorology and Geophysics Agency.

The event was centred about 30 kilometres beneath the seabed but did not trigger a tsunami, the agency said.


Report: Indonesian ID card found on body of East Timor rebel leader

Dili - Slain East Timor rebel leader Alfredo Reinado had an Indonesian
citizenship card in his pocket when he was shot on February 11 during
an attack on the president, media reports said Wednesday.

Reinado, a former commander of the military police in Dili until he
left his post and took up arms against the state in 2006, led a handful
of rebels to the president's home in Dili, where he was shot dead by
presidential guards.

However, his men continued the shootout and 30 minutes later President
Jose Ramos-Horta was shot twice as he walked toward his home.

According to the autopsy report, the card was found during the autopsy the afternoon of February 11, reported The Timor Post.


Indonesian lawmakers delay passage of controversial porn bill

Indonesian lawmakers delay passage of controversial porn bill Sydney, September 19 : Microsoft has axed American comedian Jerry Seinfeld from its 300million-dollar ad campaign to spruce up Windows Vista''s image just two weeks since the first ad aired, and roped in a host of celebrities, including author Deepak Chopra.

Actress Eva Longoria and singer Pharrell Williams are also said to have been hired for the campaign.

The company has revealed that it was always the plan that only the first two ads would feature Seinfeld, who was paid 10million dollars to be part of the campaign.


Indonesian stocks up more than 5 per cent

Jakarta - Indonesia's stock market rose by more than 5 per cent Friday, sparked by regional rebounds following overnight gains on Wall Street and signs that US authorities might take new measures to help the troubled financial sector.

The Indonesia Composite Index closed at 1,891.732 points, a gain of 104.05 points, or 5.82 per cent.

Dealers said the sharp increase was triggered by rebounds of regional markets after overnight gains on Wall Street sparked by hopes of a rescue plan for the US financial sector. (dpa)


Aboriginal rock art puts First Fleet in its place

Sydney - A wall of Aboriginal rock art paintings replete with images of aeroplanes, bicycles, guns and steamships blasted open the notion that interaction between Australia's indigenous population and the rest of the world began with the British takeover and the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, scientists said Saturday.

"This rock art dismantles the popular identity of Australia being a nation first visited by the British," Griffith University archaeologist Paul Tacon said.

The panoply of 1,500 pictures, some dating back 15,000 years and the most recent done in the 1940s, detail extensive contact with Bugis traders from the Indonesian port city of Macassar in Sulawesi, now called Ujung Pandang.


China Airlines hit by turbulent, seven injured

China Airlines hit by turbulent, seven injuredJakarta - At least seven people were injured when turbulence hit a Boeing 747-400 jetliner belonging to China Airlines on Saturday en route from Taipei to Indonesia's Bali island, an airport official said.

A spokesman for the Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport named Dimyati said the CAL-687 jet carrying 357 people dropped drastically to about 25,000-feet altitude from 35,000 feet, jolting passengers.


Thai government, Muslims agree to end conflict

Thai government, Muslims agree to end conflictJakarta - Two-days of talks between the Thai government and representatives from Thailand's Muslim south hosted by Indonesia have achieved some progress in an attempt to end years of conflict that have claimed the lives of thousands of people, media reports said Monday.

The talks are being mediated by Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla as the presidential palace in Bogor, about 60 kilometres south of Jakarta, the presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said.


Indonesia to boost security ahead of Eid al-Fitr holiday

Jakarta - Indonesia will boost security nationwide ahead of Eid al-Fitr, the celebrations marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, when tens of millions of people will be traveling across the country, officials said Tuesday.

Inspector General Imam Haryatna, chief of the security department at Indonesia's National Police, said as many as 98,000 police officers would be deployed across the country for security operations. Nationwide, there are around 200,000 national police officers.


Indonesia arrests 18 suspected rebels in Papua province

Indonesia arrests 18 suspected rebels in Papua province Jakarta - Indonesian police have arrested 18 suspected rebels in the country's easternmost province of Papua for hoisting a separatist flag, officials said Tuesday.

The detainees allegedly raised the "Bintang Kejora," or "Morning Star" flag on a street outside the office of the independent Papuan Customary Council in Papua's Timika Kwamki Baru sub-district, about 100 meters from a police precinct station.


Millions of Indonesians head home for the holidays

Jakarta - Going home for Eid al-Fitr is seen as an obligation for Muslims, but when you live in Indonesia - the world's fourth most-populous nation which is also the world's most-populous Muslim country - the journey can be a logistical nightmare.

The obstacles do not daunt millions of Muslims who have just completed the Ramadan month of fasting - during which they are barred from eating, drinking or having sex from dawn to dusk - and are now ready to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, or what the locals call Lebaran.

"Going home for Eid al-Fitr celebration is quite an exhaustive journey. But we're happy," claims Sungkono, the father of three. "It's an occasion of double joy - and a double headache."


Bus collides with minivan, kills eight in Indonesia's Java

Bus collides with minivan, kills eight in Indonesia's Java Jakarta - At least eight people were killed and five others injured when a passenger bus collided Friday with minivan on Java's northern coastal highway, media reports said.

The accident took place at about 2:30 am (1930 GMT Thursday) in the West Java district of Subang, about 70-kilometres east of Jakarta, when the west-bound bus collided with a packed minivan, the state-run Antara news agency reported.


Indonesian ferry with dozens aboard catches fire, kills seven

Jakarta - A ferry carrying some 60 people caught fire Friday in rough seas off the eastern Indonesian island on Maluku province, killing seven people and injuring five others, media reports said.

The Usaha Baru motorized ferry was en route from Ambon port of Tagalaya to three other small islands on Maluku province when it caught fire on Friday morning, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

Port officials said that the fire engulfed the ferry after sailing about four hours, panicking all people as they jumped off into the rough sea for safety.

Officials quoted survivors as saying the fire broke out from the ferry's engine room.


Indonesia finds 12 food products containing melamine

Jakarta - Indonesia's Food and Drug Monitoring Agency has confirmed melamine had been detected in 12 food products from China, including cookies, candies and drinks, the health ministry and media reports said Saturday.

Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said the country's Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) had found that 12 out of 19 China-based dairy products on sale in the country tested positive for melamine.

Among the poisonous ingredient melamine were found in Oreo stick wafer and M&Ms, Snickers and Guozhen formula milk, she said.


Indonesian president to seek re-election

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang YudhoyonoJakarta - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he would run for a second term in next year's presidential election, so that he could press on with economic and political reforms, media reports said Monday.

"God willing, I will run again for president in 2009," Yudhoyono was quoted as saying by the state-run Antara news agency. He said he wanted to be re-elected so that he could finish the reforms he started.


Bomb found in shopping centre in eastern Indonesia town

SulawesiJakarta - A bomb was discovered in a shopping centre Tuesday in the eastern Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi, once the centre of religious conflicts which claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people, media reports said.

Two boys found the bomb in a clothing store, wrapped in a plastic bag and hidden under the seat of a vendor. A local bomb squad secured the area and detonated the device.

The Jakarta Post quoted Palu district police chief AB Sitinjak as saying the package consisted of cable, detonator, cellphone casing and a light bulb.


Holiday accidents kill at least 427 people in Indonesia

Jakarta (dpa) - Holiday accidents kill at least 427 people in Indonesia At least 427 people were killed and more than 1,400 others injured in traffic accidents across the country during this year's Eid al-Fitr holiday season, marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, media reports said Sunday.

National police spokesman Abubakar Nataprawira said the figures were tabulated from reports between September 25 and October 4, with a total of 970 accidents involving 1,258 vehicles.


Indonesia's central bank: Global crisis to slow local growth

Indonesia's central bank: Global crisis to slow local growth Jakarta  - Indonesia's central bank predicted the financial crisis that is rippling out from the United States to the rest of the world would shackle Indonesia's economic growth and cause a credit shortage for local business players, media reports said Monday.

"The shortage of global liquidity will be felt as a result of this crisis," said .Boediono, governor of Bank Indonesia.

"We must be prepared to face this over the next six months to one year," The Jakarta Post quoted Boediono as saying.


Indonesian stocks plunge 10 per cent

Jakarta  - The Indonesian stock market plunged by 10.02 per cent Monday, sparked by falls of regional and international markets as investors feared the US bail-out would fail to resolve the financial crisis.

The Indonesia Composite Index closed at 1,646.74, falling 183.77 points, or 10.02 per cent.

Dealers said the sharp drop was triggered by the falls of other markets and by scepticism that the US bail-out would resolve the financial crisis brought on by the US subprime real estate scandal and the implosion of the credit market. (dpa)


Indonesia disputes Guinness forest report as "slanderous"

Jakarta - Indonesia disputes Guinness forest report as "slanderous" Indonesia's environment minister called a Guinness World Records report "slanderous" for marking the nation's deforestation rate as the world's highest and claimed it used obsolete data, a media report said Tuesday.

The Jakarta Post reported that Indonesia has entered the Guinness Book for the second consecutive year as the nation with the highest rate of deforestation, with its forests clearing at the rate of about 52 square kilometres per day, or 300 football fields each hour.


Indonesian volcano heats up on Sulawesi island

Indonesian volcano heats up on Sulawesi island Jakarta - Government authorities warned climbers and residents to stay away from Mount Soputan volcano on Indonesia's Sulawesi island after it spewed smoke and flames from its crater, officials said Tuesday.

Volcanologists upgraded the alert status to the third of four levels after the 1,783-metre Soputan erupted Monday morning, sending smoke up to 1,000 metres into the sky and blanketing ash nearby.


Indonesia's central bank raises key interest rate

Jakarta - Indonesia's central bank raised its benchmark interest rate 25 basis points to 9.50 per cent on Tuesday, signalling its commitment to fight inflation at the risk of slower growth, officials said.

Bank Indonesia Governor Boediono told reporters that the key rate was increased to suit high inflation and to anticipate the global financial crisis.

Inflation soared to 12.14 per cent year-on-year in September from 11.85 per cent in August, driven by resilient domestic demand and higher global commodity and fuel prices.

Indonesia's stock index plunged 10.02 per cent on Monday amid the global credit crisis. On Tuesday, the Indonesian composite index was down 1.76 per cent.


Indonesian stock exchange halts trading after 10-per-cent fall

Indonesian stock exchange halts trading after 10-per-cent fall Jakarta - The Indonesia Stock Exchange halted trading on Wednesday after the benchmark composite index plunged 10.38 percent on fears about the global financial crisis.


Trading suspended in Indonesia for second day

Jakarta - Trading suspended in Indonesia for second day Trading on the Indonesia Stock Exchange was suspended for a second day Thursday although it might resume Friday if conditions allow, a cabinet minister said.

The Indonesian Stock Exchange halted trading Wednesday after the benchmark composite index fell by more than 10-per-cent to 1,451.669, its lowest level since September 2006.

Acting Finance Minister Sofyan Djalil told reporters after a cabinet meeting late Wednesday that Thursday's session also was cancelled and the suspension could be extended through Friday unless market conditions improved.


Indonesia market suspends trading again

Indonesian Stock ExchangeJakarta - The Indonesian Stock Exchange suspended trading in its morning session Friday for the second consecutive trading day amid sharp falls on global markets.

The market announced on its website that "the equities and derivative trading for session I on October 10 is suspended" due to the indices' sharp declines at bourses across the world.

Erry Firmansyah, the market president, told Elshinta private radio programme that it was "impossible for us to resume trading" after Friday's plunges on Asian markets as well as steep losses on Wall Street overnight.


Indonesian president congratulates Ahtisaari on Nobel Peace Prize

Jakarta, IndonesiaJakarta - Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Friday congratulated former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari for winning this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

"He is a solution-oriented person, and he also has played important role in Aceh," the state-run Antara news agency quoted presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal as saying, adding that Yudhoyono would soon directly contact Ahtisaari to congratulate him.


Exiled rebel leader returns to Indonesia's Aceh

Jakarta- Greeted by thousands of cheering supporters, the 83-year-old founder of Aceh's rebel movement returned to the tsunami-wracked Indonesian province of Aceh Saturday for the first time in almost 30 years.

Hassan di Tiro fled to Sweden in late 1970s after declaring Aceh independent in 1976, a move triggered that a long-running conflict in the north-western Indonesian province.

About 15,000 people are estimated to have died in the conflict before a truce was reached between the government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) in August 2005, after the devastation and the deaths of about 170,000 people in the province caused by the December 24, 2004 tsunami.


Indonesian families, mourners mark 6th anniversary of Bali bombings

Indonesian families, mourners mark 6th anniversary of Bali bombings Kuta, Indonesia - Survivors, family and friends of victims of the 2002 terrorist bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali marked the 6th anniversary of the attacks on Sunday with low-key ceremonies.

The widows of several Balinese men, along with family members of more than a dozen other Indonesian victims, laid flowers and prayed at a memorial monument in the Kuta Beach district, where twin bombs at two nightclubs killed 202 people and injured hundreds more on October 12, 2002.


Indonesian stocks tumble on reopening after three-day halt

Indonesian Stock MarketJakarta - Indonesia's stock exchange resumed trading on Monday following a three-day halt after the bourse cut the limit on stock-price movements and the government eased buyback rules to help revive investor confidence.

The Indonesia Stock Exchange said its benchmark composite index fell 85.43 points, or 5.88 per cent, to 1,366.24 about an hour after it reopened. The IDX opens its morning session at 9:30 am (0230 GMT).


Indonesian Muslim hardliner faces two years in jail over attack

Jakarta - Government prosecutors demanded a two-year prison term Monday for an Indonesian Muslim hardliner on trial for his alleged role in a violent attack against an interfaith rally in early June that left dozens of people injured.

Prosecutors said Habib Rizieq Shihab had been proven guilty for ordering his followers to commit violence against the demonstrators, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

The prosecutors charged Shihab, chairman of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), with violating the criminal code articles on ambush, inciting violence and spreading hatred, which could bring a maximum sentence of nine years in prison.


Indonesian stock rise 6.44 per cent

Indonesian stock rise 6.44 per centJakarta - Indonesia's stock market surged 6.44 per cent Tuesday, in line with international market rises after the governments of the world's leading industrial nations announced plans aimed at solving the global financial crisis.

The Indonesian Composite Index closed at 1,555.97, rising 94.09 points, or 6.44 per cent.

Dealers said the increase was sparked by soaring markets across Asia after Wall Street rallied from its worst week ever on optimism that government rescue efforts will heal the crippled global financial system. (dpa)


Indonesia's new porn law to turn blind eye to tourists' bikinis

Indonesia's new porn law to turn blind eye to tourists' bikinis Jakarta - Indonesia's pending pornography bill is likely to turn a blind eye to tourists wearing bikinis at popular beach resorts such as Bali, media reports said Friday.

The House of Representatives' special committee vetting the legislation, which aims to regulate pornographic material and loose public behaviour, raised the bikini issue at a meeting Thursday, the Jakarta Post newspaper said.


Indonesia's Papua rainforest under mounting threat

Jakarta - An international environmentalist group on Friday called on the Indonesian government to urgently declare a moratorium on deforestation to save the rainforest in Papua province from destruction.

Rainforests in Papua on New Guinea island have been under a mounting threat from expansion of palm oil production and logging, said Greenpeace, revealing new findings regarding deforestation activities in Indonesia's easternmost province.

"During our helicopter flyovers, in the past week we have seen the magnificent beauty of Indonesia's last frontier of intact forest and also witnessed illegal and increasing deforestation activities," Bustar Maitar of Greenpeace said in a statement.


Magnitude 6.5 quake jolts central Indonesia

Magnitude 6.5 quake jolts central Indonesia Jakarta - An undersea earthquake registering 6.5 on the Richter scale struck off Indonesia's central Sulawesi province on Monday, but there were no immediate reports of injury or damage, the Indonesian seismologist agency said.

The quake struck at 12:54 pm (0454 GMT) and its epicentre was about 196 kilometres south-west of Tolitoli, Indonesia's National Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said, adding that the quake occurred at about 33 kilometres below sea level.


Punj Lloyd arm bags contract worth $ 22.48 million in Indonesia

Punj Lloyd, a leading engineering procurement & construction (EPC) and project management services company has informed that PT Punj Lloyd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the company in Indonesia has secured an order worth US$ 22.48 million.

The order was awarded by PT Shell Indonesia for Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) services contract of New Fuel Terminal at Pulau Laut, Kalimantan.

The stock of Punj Lloyd closed today at Rs 167 on BSE. It touched an intraday high and low of Rs 178 and Rs 160 respectively.


Indonesian police seize bomb-making materials, detain one

Indonesian police seize bomb-making materials, detain one Jakarta - Indonesian police detained one man believed to be linked to terrorist activities Tuesday and seized bomb-making materials at a house in suburban Jakarta, the country's police chief said.

General Bambang Hendarso Danuri said counterterrorism police conducted the raid at a rented house in the northern suburb of Plumpang, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

The officers seized dozens of bullets, 3 kilograms of explosive material believed to be TNT, bomb-making manuals, pipes and cables.


Indonesia ratifies ASEAN charter

Jakarta - Indonesia's parliament on Tuesday ratified a regional charter committing South-East Asian nations to the principles of democracy and human rights, and envisaging a single free-trade area by 2015.

The ratification bill was approved by all 10 factions in the House of Representatives. It will take effect after it is signed by the president.

Indonesia was the last member of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to ratify the charter after the Philippines signed up earlier this month, clearing the way for its formal adoption at a summit in Bangkok in December.

The charter commits the group to promote human rights and democracy, sets out rules for members and transforms ASEAN into a legal entity.


Indonesian president leaves for China

Jakarta - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono left Jakarta on Wednesday morning for Beijing to make a five-day official visit to China, where he will attend the 7th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

Yudhoyono, accompanied by his wife Ani Yudhoyono, and a number of cabinet ministers, including Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda, Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu, State Minister for Environment Rachmat Witoelar and Energy Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro.


Indonesian police arrest five terrorist suspects

Jakarta  - Indonesian police said Wednesday they arrested five Muslim extremists suspected of plotting to attack a major fuel depot in the capital Jakarta.

National police spokesman Brigadier General Sulistyo Ishaq said anti-terror operations also netted bomb-making materials, weapons and ammunition during a raid Tuesday morning at a house in the North Jakarta suburb of Plumpang.

Ishaq said the explosives were a sophisticated version of those used in the 2004 Australian embassy bombing in Jakarta.

The five suspects were identified as Rusli Mardani, alias Wahyu Ramadhan, Nurhasani, alias Hasan, Imam Basori, alias Basar, Muntasir and Budiman, he said, adding that a manhunt was continuing for two other suspects.


Indonesia says 2002 Bali bombers to be executed in November

Indonesia says 2002 Bali bombers to be executed in NovemberJakarta, Oct 24 : The three Islamic militants convicted of the 2002 Bali bombings will be executed in early November.

According to news. com. au, a spokesman for Indonesia''s Attorney General''s office said they would be shot dead in their prison on Nusakambangan Island, off Central Java, where their high-security jail is located.

The spokesman also indicated that the Attorney General did not believe there were valid grounds for any further legal appeals by the three convicted - Amrozi, his brother Mukhlas and Imam Samudra.


Magnitude 6.4 quake jolts central Indonesia

IndonesiaJakarta - An undersea earthquake registering 6.4 on the Richter scale struck off Indonesia's north Sulawesi province Sunday afternoon, but there were no immediate reports of injury or damage, the governmental seismology agency said.

The quake struck at 4:08 pm Jakarta time (0908 GMT) with an epicentre about 91 kilometres south-west of Gorontalo on Sulawesi, Indonesia's National Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said. It occurred at about 32 kilometres below sea level.


Indonesian stocks drop by 6.3 per cent

Indonesian stocks drop by 6.3 per centJakarta - Indonesian stocks plunged by 6.3 per cent Monday, in line with sharp falls across Asia on concerns that economic stimulus measures will fail to stop a global slowdown.

The Jakarta Composite Index fell to a new low, closing at 1,166.41, down 78.46 points, or 6.3 per cent. (dpa)


Indonesian Muslim cleric in the dock for having illegal sex with 12 year old wife

Jakarta, Oct 28 : The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) is planning to report to the police a rich Muslim cleric in Semarang, Central Java, who married a 
12-year-old girl, accusing him of having illegal sex with a minor.

KPAI secretary Hadi Supeno said on Sunday that the commission’s fact-finding team sent to Semarang at the weekend found that cleric Pujiono Cahyo Widianto, 43, owner and head of an Islamic boarding school there, had married and very likely slept with 12-year-old Lutfiana Ulfa. 

“According to the girl’s parents and some witnesses, the marriage between Pujiono and Lutfiana is valid according to religion (kawin siri), but it is not registered with the state,” The Jakarta Post quoted Hadi, as saying. 


Malaysian marine police detain 43 Indonesians for illegal entry

Kuala Lumpur  - Malaysian marine police have detained 43 Indonesians for attempting to enter the country illegally by boat in the eastern Sabah state on Borneo island, an official news report said Tuesday.

Police detained the immigrants early Tuesday during river patrols, said district marine police chief Husaini Zainal Abidin.

"A check on a boat found that the passengers comprising 14 men, 13 women and eight children had no travel documents," Husaini was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.

He said eight others who did have travel documents were also detained for further questioning.

The 21-year-old boat captain and his two assistants, all believed to be Malaysian, were also detained.


Indonesian stocks fall more than 4 per cent

Jakarta - Indonesian stocks dropped by more than 4 per cent Tuesday, counter to the rebound experienced by most Asian markets, while the country's currency fell sharply to reach its lowest since July 2001.

The Jakarta Composite Index fell to a new low, closing at 1,111.39, down 55.02 points, or 4.72 per cent.

Indonesian President Susilo Bamband Yudhoyono said that he might outline steps to help the embattled rupiah later Tuesday.

"We will do everything to save our economy," Yudhoyono told reporters, without saying what steps he had in mind. He added that Bank Indonesia and economic advisors were in a meeting to discuss measures to help the local currency.


Indonesia unveils measures to prop up rupiah

Jakarta - Indonesia has ordered state companies to place their US dollars at home and plans to scrap a levy on overseas palm-oil sales to bolster the rupiah after the currency plunged to its lowest level since 2001, media reports said Wednesday.

The government and central bank also plan to buy bonds from the market to restore investor confidence, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said Tuesday night after a cabinet meeting.

The rupiah fell as much as 8.7 per cent Tuesday to 11,900 against the dollar before recovering to 10,900 on suspected intervention by the central bank as Indonesian stocks declined to their lowest values since December 2005.


Ex-central bank governor in Indonesia gets five years for graft

Jakarta - Indonesia's anti-corruption court on Wednesday sentenced a former central bank governor to five years in prison for misappropriating millions of dollars in bank funds.

The court also ordered Burhanuddin Abdullah to pay a 250-million-rupiah (25,000-dollar) fine.

Abdullah was convicted of using a foundation linked to Bank Indonesia to pay bribes of about 10 million dollars to members of parliament deliberating amendments of the central bank law in 2004 and to cover the cost of legal assistance for former senior bank officials.

Abdullah, who was replaced in May after his five-year term as governor expired, was arrested in April by the country's Corruption Eradication Commission.


Indonesian Muslim cleric in the dock for having illegal sex with 12 year old wife

Jakarta, Oct 29 : The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) is planning to report to the police a rich Muslim cleric in Semarang, Central Java, who married a

12-year-old girl, accusing him of having illegal sex with a minor.

KPAI secretary Hadi Supeno said on Sunday that the commission’s fact-finding team sent to Semarang at the weekend found that cleric Pujiono Cahyo Widianto, 43, owner

and head of an Islamic boarding school there, had married and very likely slept with 12-year-old Lutfiana Ulfa.

“According to the girl’s parents and some witnesses, the marriage between Pujiono and Lutfiana is valid according to religion (kawin siri), but it is not registered with the


Indonesian Muslim hardliners sentenced to 18 months in jail

Jakarta - An Indonesian court Thursday sentenced two Muslim hardliners to 18 months in prison each for their roles in a violent attack against an interfaith rally in June that left dozens of people injured.

The Central Jakarta district court found Munarman, head of the Islam Troop Command (KLI), "guilty of committing violent acts against people and people's property in public."

Munarman, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, was found responsible for his group's involvement in attacj against activists of the National Alliance for the Freedom of Faith and Religion (AKKBB) during a peaceful rally on June 1.


Indonesian parliament passes anti-porn bill

IndonesiaJakarta - Indonesia's parliament on Thursday passed an anti-pornography bill into law, which Islamic parties and organizations argued is needed to save the country from immoral behaviour.

Shouts of "Alhamdulillah" ("Thanks be to God") came from the balcony of the House of Representatives' plenary hall as the gavel was banged to mark the passing of the bill, witnesses said.

The bill, which outlaws pornographic acts and dissemination of overtly sexual images has been almost a decade in the making and has been watered-down on several occasions amid rows over the definition of pornography.


Indonesia boosts security ahead of Bali bombers' execution

Jakarta - Indonesia has stepped up security at major installations and public places ahead of the execution of three Muslim extremists convicted for their roles in the 2002 Bali bombings, a police spokesman said Friday.

"National police have ordered security be improved at shopping centres, malls and other strategic places across Central and East Java, and Banten provinces," said national police spokesman Abukakar Nataprawira. "Security will also be focused at the Australian and the US embassies in Jakarta."

Nataprawira declined to say when exactly the executions were to take place.


New Zealanders advised against travel to Indonesia

New Zealanders advised against travel to IndonesiaWellington - New Zealanders were warned Saturday against travelling to parts of Indonesia where three Islamic militants involved in the Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mainly tourists, in 2002, are expected to be executed any day.

Indonesian police said they had found bombs suspected to have been prepared for a retaliatory attack after the bombers, Mukhlas, his brother Amrozi, and Imam Samudra, go before a firing squad.


Three explosions hit eastern Indonesia

IndonesiaJakarta - Three explosions rocked eastern Indonesian province of North Maluku's capital of Ternate early Monday, caused minor damage but no reports of casualties, local media reports said.

The blast took place at the residence of the North Maluku governor, the office of the North Maluku regional government and the building of the North Maluku regional legislative assembly at about 3 am Monday, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

There were no reported injuries and local police have not yet given an explanation for the blasts, Metrotvnews. com said.


Death row Bali bombers file another appeal

Bali, Indonesia - Lawyers for relatives of three Indonesian Muslim militants on death row for the 2002 Bali bombings launched a last-minute appeal Monday, in a new move to save the condemned men from imminent execution.

The three militants - Imam Samudra; Mukhlas, alias Ali Ghufron; and Amrozi - face a firing squad for their roles in the bombings of two nightspots on the popular tourist island that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

Lawyer Imam Asmara Hadi said the appeal was filed in Bali's Denpasar district court because the three convicts have not been properly informed of the rejection of their previous appeal.


US, Australian embassies in Jakarta receive bomb threats

US, Australian embassies in Jakarta receive bomb threats Jakarta - The US and Australian embassies in Indonesia received bomb threats Tuesday ahead of the imminent execution of three Muslim militants convicted of taking part in the 2002 Bali bombings, police and media reports said.

The bomb threats were sent anonymously through a telephone text message to the police, said Heri Wibowo, spokesman for the central Jakarta city police.

Police have taken the bomb threats seriously although a similar threat against a shopping mall in Jakarta on Monday proved to be a hoax.


Threat to US, Australia embassies in Jakarta if Bali bombers were executed

Jakarta, Nov 4 : Unidentified terrorists have reportedly threatened to blow up the US and Australian embassies in Indonesia if the three Bali bombers were executed.

The three are expected to be executed in a day or two by placing them before a firing squad. Two days ago their relatives were asked to meet them in jail.

Following the threat from unidentified location, the Indonesian Police were investigating to trace those behind it.

“A bomb threat against the U. S. and Australian embassies was sent via a mobile phone text message,” The News quoted National Police spokesman Abubakar Nataprawira as saying.

He added that an investigation was underway into the threat.


US, Oz missions get bomb threats over Bali executions

Three Bali bombersWashington, Nov. 4 : The U. S. and Australian embassies in Indonesia received bomb threats today amid a security crackdown ahead of the imminent execution of three Islamists convicted over the Bali bombings.

The Indonesian news site detik. com reported 12 officers had swept the front of the Australian embassy, but did not find anything.

It said Australian officials had told police they would conduct their own internal sweep.

The Australian embassy in Jakarta would not comment, referring questions to DFAT in Canberra.


US, Australian embassies in Jakarta receive bomb threats

Bali BombersJakarta  - Indonesian military authorities stepped up security of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono following threats to assassinate him and other senior officials if the three Bali bombers are executed, a military official said Tuesday.

"We will prepare the security as well as possible, from planning to the implementation," Armed Forces Commander General Djoko Santoso was quoted as saying by the state-run Antara news agency.


Former Indonesian classmates cheer Obama

Former Indonesian classmates cheer ObamaJakarta - US president-elect Barack Obama's former classmates in Indonesia swelled with pride Wednesday and congratulated the Democratic candidate for becoming the first black president of the United States.

Dewi Asmara Oetojo, who was a schoolmate of Obama when he went to a primary school in Jakarta in the 1960s expressed the feelings of the Illinois senator's old school friends: "It's just amazing. We're so proud of him," she said.


Obama's Jakarta ties raise expectations in South-East Asia

Barack ObamaJakarta  - US president-elect Barack Obama's childhood years in Indonesia may provide him with a unique personal link to South-East Asia, but it remains to be seen how deep the old school ties go, analysts warn.

Obama, the first African-American to be elected president, can also claim to be the first US president to have spent almost four years of his childhood in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, two years attending a public Muslim school and two more in a Catholic school.


Indonesia plans to cut price of premium gasoline

ndonesia plans to cut price of premium gasolineJakarta - The Indonesian government plans to cut the retail prices of
premium gasoline by more than 6 per cent from December 1 to combat an
economic downturn and to reflect falling global oil prices, media
reports said Friday.


Indonesian authorities visit Bali bombers' families

Jakarta - Indonesian officials on Friday told the families of three Muslim militants on death row for the 2002 Bali bombings to be prepared for the executions.

Imam Samudra, Amrozi, known also as the "smiling assassin" and his brother Mukhlas, alias Ali Ghufron, will each face a firing squad over their roles in the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, mostly foreign visitors.

Indonesia does not announce the specific date or time of executions, but the attorney general's office has said the three condemned militants would be executed in early November.


Indonesian authorities visit Bali bombers' families

Bali BombersJakarta  - Indonesian officials on Friday told the families of three Muslim militants on death row for the 2002 Bali bombings to be prepared for the executions.

Imam Samudra, Amrozi, known also as the "smiling assassin" and his brother Mukhlas, alias Ali Ghufron, will each face a firing squad over their roles in the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 people, mostly foreign visitors.

Indonesia does not announce the specific date or time of executions, but the attorney general's office has said the three condemned militants would be executed in early November.


Flash floods, landslide leave six missing in West Sumatra

Flash floods, landslide leave six missing in West Sumatra Jakarta  - Flash floods accompanied by a huge landslide in Indonesia's West Sumatra province killed at least two six people and left hundreds of others homeless, media reports said Saturday.

The disaster took place on Friday evening following hours of torrential rain, inundating hundreds of homes and causing a massive landslide in the village of Malalak, Agam district, about 120 kilometers north of Padang, the provincial capital of West Sumatra.


Lawyer: Indonesia may execute three Bali bombers Saturday night

IndonesiaJakarta - Three Indonesian Muslim militants sitting on death row for the 2002 Bali bombings may face execution by firing squad Saturday night or early Sunday, the condemned mens' lawyer said Saturday.

"Most possibly, the execution will be carried out tonight or at dawn," Mahendradatta, chairman of the team of attorneys for the three men, was quoted as saying by detik. com online news service on Saturday.


Indonesian bombers' bodies sent home

Jakarta  - The bodies of three Indonesian Muslim militants who were put to death by firing squad early Sunday for their roles in the 2002 Bali bombings have arrived at their respective home villages for burial.

A helicopter carrying the bodies of brothers Amrozi and Mukhlas, alias Ali Ghufron, landed at Tenggulun village of East Java province, before being brought by ambulances to their relatives' residence.

Another chopper bringing the body of Imam Samudra had also reportedly landed at police headquarters in Banten's provincial capital of Serang, then brought by an ambulance to his family's residence, witnesses and media reports said.


Bali bombers executed in Indonesian island

Jakarta, Nov. 9 : A firing squad has executed the three Islamists who were involved in the bombings in the Indonesian resort town of Bali that killed 202 people.

The Bali bombers -- Amrozi, 47, his brother Mukhlas, 48, and ringleader Imam Samudra, 38, were executed in an orange grove near their prison on the Nusakambangan island off southern Java at midnight on Saturday.

They all shouted “Allahu Akbar” as they were escorted out of their isolation cells by paramilitary police.

The attorney general’s office in Jakarta is expected to confirm the execution today.


Boat capsizes in eastern Indonesia, eight drown

Boat capsizes in eastern Indonesia, eight drownJakarta  - At least eight people including a two-year-old child were killed and three others remained missing after a passenger boat capsized in eastern Indonesia, media reports said Monday.

The accident occurred on Sunday evening near Kupang, the capital of East Nusa Tenggara, and was caused by strong wind, the state-run Antara news agency reported.


Bali bomber Amrozi died pale and afraid

Three Bali bombers - Imam Samudra, Amrozi and Alu Ghufron, alias MukhlasMelbourne, Nov 10 : One of the Bali bombers, who was also known as the smiling assassin, Amrozi, was not so brave when faced with his own death, looking “pale” and afraid.

His older brother Mukhlas was more defiant and praised God to the end. One source said that of the three, Amrozi was the least brave and that as his end neared he looked pale and afraid.


Indonesia to launch tsunami early warning system

Tsunami early-warning systemJakarta - Nearly four years since the devastating Asian Tsunami of December 2004, which claimed 230,000 lives, an early warning system developed and funded with German assistance will begin operations.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will attend Tuesday's ceremony in Jakarta along with representatives of the German government, the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) said.

The German government financed the 45-million-euro (58-million- dollar) project the German-Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System, or GITEWS.


Bali bombers''lawyers to sue Indonesian Government over their executions

JakartaJakarta, Nov. 10 : The Muslim Defender Team, the lawyers who acted on behalf the three Bali bombers who were executed on Sunday, have said that they plan to file a lawsuit against the Indonesian Government on the matter.

Alleging a violation of human rights, Agus Setiawan, one of the lawyers, was quoted by the Antara news agency as saying: “The executions were done not in accordance with existing procedures. We are preparing to take legal steps.”


Indonesia launches tsunami early warning system

Jakarta  - A tsunami early warning system developed and funded with German assistance is to begin operations Tuesday in Indonesia, nearly four years after the Asian tsunami of December 2004, which claimed 230,000 lives.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who attended the launch ceremony in Jakarta, called the system a "milestone for international disaster preparedness."

The German government financed the 45-million-euro (58-million- dollar) project.


Emergency service comes to Medan, among first in Indonesia

Emergency service comes to Medan, among first in IndonesiaMedan, Indonesia  - Maftuh moans in pain as he writhes on the hot asphalt road and holds his injured leg. Latifah lies beside him, her face covered in blood.

The pair had an accident in chaotic Indonesian road traffic. Their becak, a bicycle with a sidecar for carrying passengers, was rammed by a bus.

But help is in sight: An ambulance appears within minutes. Paramedics emerge to treat the injured and transport them to hospital as bystanders applaud.


New English-language daily hits newsstands

New English-language daily hits newsstandsJakarta - A new English-language daily, The Jakarta Globe, was launched in Indonesia Wednesday, bringing readers a second choice after the English news market was dominated by a single publication for more than two decades.

After months of preparation, recruiting of both local and international professionals from the media and business sectors, The Jakarta Globe's publisher expressed confidence that there is still room in the country for a comprehensive daily newspaper in English.


Thai woman gets 14 years for smuggling drugs

Jakarta  - A Thai woman was sentenced to 14 years in prison Wednesday for trying to smuggle 500 grams of cocaine into the country early this year, media reports said.

The West Java Banten's Tanggerang district court found Thitirat Charoensuk, 24, guilty for violating the country's tough anti-narcotic laws.

In addition to handing down a 14-year jail sentence, the court also ordered the defendant to pay a fine of 60 million rupiah (5,330 dollars), chief judge Haryono said in the court ruling, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

In previous court hearings, government prosecutors had sought the death penalty for Thitirat.


Indonesian president leaves for Americas for G20, APEC meetings

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang YudhoyonoJakarta - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono left Jakarta Thursday for a two-week overseas trip, during which he is to attend a Group of 20 (G20) meeting in Washington, followed by an Asia-Pacific regional summit in Peru.

The first stop for Yudhoyono - who was being accompanied by his wife, Ani Yudhoyono, and a number of cabinet ministers - was to be the United States, where he was to arrive Friday.


Indonesian shares fall 5 per cent

Indonesian shares fall 5 per centJakarta  - Indonesian stocks dropped 5 per cent Thursday, triggered by falls in Asian markets and on Wall Street amid worries over a global recession.

The Jakarta Composite Index closed at 1,259.71, down 66.91 points. (dpa)


Rise in mobility means more HIV vulnerability, UN-ASEAN report says

Former top Indonesian prosecutor gets 20 years for corruptionJakarta- A rise in mobility within South-East Asia as people search for economic opportunity has made millions of people more vulnerable to HIV infection, a joint ASEAN-UN report issued Thursday said.


Flash floods, landslides bury 15 alive in Indonesia's West Java

Flash floods, landslides bury 15 alive in Indonesia's West Java Jakarta  - Flash floods and landslides swept through residential areas in Indonesia's West Java province, burying alive at least 15 people and injuring 25 others, officials and media reports said Friday.

The disaster took place on Thursday evening following hours of torrential rains that inundated or damaged hundreds of homes and caused landslides in the villages of Nyalindung and Cikondang in Cianjur district, about 100 kilometers south of Jakarta.


Powerful quake kills one, destroys dozens of homes

Powerful quake kills one, destroys dozens of homes

Jakarta - The powerful undersea earthquake that struck Indonesia's North Sulawesi province and nearby regions early Monday killed at least one person and collapsed at least 100 buildings, officials said.

The quake at 01:02 am (1702 GMT Sunday) measured 7.7 on the Richter scale. Its epicentre was located about 138 kilometres north- west of Gorontalo on North Sulwesi and it occurred about 10 kilometres beneath the seabed.


Indonesian quake kills one, destroys hundreds of homes

Indonesian quake kills one, destroys hundreds of homesJakarta  - The powerful undersea earthquake that struck Indonesia's North Sulawesi province and nearby regions early Monday killed at least one person, injured three others and collapsed hundreds of buildings, officials said.

The quake at 01:02 am (1702 GMT Sunday) measured 7.7 on the Richter scale. Its epicentre was located about 138 kilometres north- west of Gorontalo on North Sulwesi, about 1,950 kilometers east- northeast of Jakarta. It occurred about 10 kilometres beneath the seabed.


Egyptian President to address Indo Egyptian Business Forum today

New Delhi, Nov 17 : Egyptian President Mohammad Hosni Mubarak, who arrived on a four-day visit to India, will address the Indo Egyptian Business Forum today.

The President is accompanied by a high-level delegation including several ministers, senior officials and businesspersons.

On Tuesday, President Mubarak will be presented the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding, which was conferred on him for the year 1995.

The focus of Mubarak''s visit will be on intensifying strategic and economic cooperation between India and Egypt. The two countries are old friends and founders of the non-aligned movement and South-South cooperation.


Indonesian quake kills four, dozens injured

Jakarta - At least four people were killed, nearly 60 others wounded and more than 1,500 buildings were damaged after a powerful undersea earthquake struck off the Indonesia's North Sulawesi early Monday, officials said.

The 7.7-magnitude quake struck at 1:02 am (1702 GMT Sunday) with its epicenter in the sea about 138 kilometres north-west of Gorontalo on North Sulawesi, about 1,950 kilometres north-east of Jakarta. It occurred about 10 kilometres beneath the seabed.

The US Geological Survey measured the quake at 7.5 on the Richter scale.

Indonesia's National Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) briefly issued a tsunami warning, but the alert was canceled after no tidal waves materialized, an official said.


Indonesia's economic growth slows

Indonesia's economic growth slowsJakarta  - Indonesia's annual economic growth in the third quarter slowed from the second as the global financial crisis weighed on export demand, particularly for its commodities, media reports said Tuesday.

According to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the economy expanded 6.1 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter, slowing from 6.4 per cent growth seen in the preceding three months. However, that was better than the expected growth of 5.9 per cent.


Death toll in Indonesian quake rises to six

Death toll in Indonesian quake rises to sixJakarta  - The death toll from a powerful earthquake that struck off Indonesia's North Sulawesi province increased to six with nearly 80 people injured, officials said Tuesday.

Of the 77 people injured in Monday's magnitude-7.7 quake, 13 were in serious condition, said Rustam Pakaya, head of the Health Ministry's crisis centre.

Pakaya said three people were killed and 45 injured in the Buol district of Central Sulawesi province while three people died and 32 were injured by falling debris in the northern district of Gorontalo.


Indonesian stocks drop more than 2 per cent

Indonesian stocks drop more than 2 per centJakarta - Indonesian stocks dropped 2.15 per cent Thursday, sparked by falls across Asia after US stocks sank to a five-year low.

The Jakarta Composite Index ended at 1,154.97, down 25.39 points.

Dealers said the decline was in line with falls in markets across Asia as well as the drop on Wall Street.

The Indonesian rupiah, meanwhile, tumbled to its weakest level since the Asian financial crisis a decade ago. The rupiah traded at 12,350 against the greenback at mid-day, dealers said. (dpa)


Thousands of workers laid off in Indonesia

Thousands of workers laid off in IndonesiaJakarta - The global economic meltdown has forced a number of Indonesian labour-intensive industries to lay off more than 12,000 workers, media reports said Friday.

Businessmen claimed that the global financial crash has started affecting the export sector in November and many exported products were rejected by buyer countries, which could force many more companies to stop production.

Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP), announced Thursday that it would dismiss 1,000 workers and temporarily lay off another 1,000, in a move to help stop the company from failing.


Indonesian police nab seven in crystal meth bust

Jakarta - Indonesian authorities have arrested two Chinese nationals and five locals for their involvement in producing crystal methamphetamine in the country, national police chief said Friday.

General Bambang Bendarso Danuri said the seven were arrested by the city police in a raid against a crystal methamphetamine factory at a rented house in western Jakarta suburb of Kebon Jeruk.

Danuri was quoted as saying by the state-run Antara news agency that officers seized 10 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, locally called "shabu-shabu," as well as confiscated a number of chemicals that were used to produce the banned pills.


Strong earthquake strikes off western Indonesia

Strong earthquake strikes off western Indonesia Jakarta - A strong earthquake struck off the western coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra late Saturday. There were no immediate reports of injury and structural damage, seismologists said.

The quake, measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale, jolted Sumatra's Bengkulu province at 11:01 pm (1601 GMT). Its epicentre lay about 142 kilometres south-west, the National Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) said, about 23 kilometres beneath the seabed in the Indian Ocean.

The US Geological Survey put the quake's magnitude at 6.8 on the Richter scale.


Indian president leaves for visits to Vietnam, Indonesia

President Pratibha PatilNew Delhi - Indian President Pratibha Patil Monday embarked on a visit to Vietnam and Indonesia that is expected to give a new impetus to India's "Look-East" policy and consolidate ties with these countries, officials said.

"The tour is aimed at giving momentum to India's relations with the economically important countries in the ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) region," a spokesman of the President's Office said.

Patil is scheduled to hold talks with the top leadership of those countries during her tour that will conclude December 3.


Indonesia braces for mass layoffs

Jakarta - Indonesia was preparing various policies aimed at rescuing the national economy and preventing mass layoffs as the world's fourth most-populous nation is battered by the global economic crisis, officials and media reports said Tuesday.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the government had prepared stimulus policies aimed at helping rescue the national economy.

Among the steps was to immediately allocate a fund of 120 trillion rupiah (9.71 billion dollars) that is currently kept in the country's central bank, Indrawati said at an Investor Summit meeting in Jakarta on Tuesday.


Political turmoil won’t affect ASEAN Summit, says official

Jakarta, Nov. 26 (ANI): A senior official of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has said that the ongoing political turmoil in Bangkok will not stop Thailand from hosting a summit of Southeast Asian nations in the northern province of Chiang Mai two weeks from now.

“The government is managing the situation and the fact that they have moved the venue to Chiang Mai is making sure it is going to be smooth and away from any pressure,” the Bangkok Post quoted ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan, as saying in a press conference here.


Wild elephants kill one in Indonesia's Aceh province

Jakarta  - A herd of wild elephants went on a rampage in Indonesia's north-westernmost province of Aceh, killing one person and destroying property, state-run media reported Wednesday.

A herd estimated at 13 pachyderms entered Cot Pengee village in Aceh Jaya district during the past several days, forcing residents to flee their homes for safety.

Antara news agency quoted local community leader Iskandar Musa saying residents tried to drive the wild animals away with traditional methods, such as making loud sounds, but to no avail.

Instead, the elephants become more bold with one of them chasing people on sight, Iskandar said, adding that the beasts killed one man whose body was found Saturday.


Indonesian shares up more than 3 per cent

Jakarta - Indonesian share prices increased by more than 3 per cent Wednesday, in line with rallies on some Asian markets after the US government's rescue plan for troubled Citigroup Inc.

The Jakarta Composite Index closed at 1,193.15, up by 39.01 points, or 3.38 per cent. (dpa)


Indonesia won’t ban Muslims from practicing yoga

Petaling Jaya (Indonesia), Nov. 26 : Indonesia will not follow Malaysia’s move to ban Muslims from practicing yoga.

According to The Star, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) said this was because it did not know the extent to which the exercise is practiced in Indonesia.

MUI deputy chairman Umar Shihab said more research had to be done before a decision can be made to prohibit yoga.

“It is okay if it’s for sport but I do not know if it is proven that it can destroy our beliefs as Muslims or contains ideas of polytheism,” Umar was quoted by The Jakarta Post as saying earlier this week.

He said the council did not carry out any study on yoga, as it had not received any objection from the public.


Indonesian ulema panel says it will study yoga issue

YogaJakarta/Kuala Lumpur, Nov. 27: The Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI) has said that it will investigate the practice of yoga in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, before issuing an edict on it.

The MUI said that the study would begin this week in the wake of the controversy triggered by an edict issued by Malaysia''s National Fatwa Council.

"We are investigating the practice of yoga not only because of the fatwa issued in Malaysia but also because the media asked us about it," Ma''ruf Amin, head of MUI''s fatwa commission, told New Straits Times.


Indonesia condemns Mumbai attacks

Indonesia condemns Mumbai attacksJakarta  - Indonesia condemned Thursday the terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed at least 101 people, calling the attacks "cruel and inhumane" and expressed hope that the perpetrators will be swiftly arrested and brought to justice.

"The government of Indonesia strongly condemns the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. The terrorist attacks are cruel and inhumane acts," the foreign ministry said in a statement.


Anti-corruption watchdog detains relative of Indonesian president

President Susilo Bambang YudhoyonoJakarta  - Indonesia's anti-corruption watchdog arrested a relative of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in connection with the misappropriation of millions of dollars in bank funds, media reports said Friday.

After several hours of questioning, Aulia Tantowi Pohan, the father-in-law of Yudhoyono's son, was arrested Thursday in connection with an 8-million-dollar graft case at the country's central bank.


Indonesian shares up 3.28 per cent

Jakarta  - Indonesian share prices increased by more than 3.2 per cent Friday, in line with advances on some other Asian markets.

The Jakarta Composite Index rose 39.47 points, or 3.28 per cent, to close at 1,241.54. (dpa)


President Patil’s visit to Indonesia will be a low key affair

Pratibha PatilBali, Nov. 28 : President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil''s visit to Indonesia is expected to be a low-key affair in the wake of the demise of former Indian Prime Minister V. P. Singh and the deaths of over a hundred people in terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

Patil arrived at Bali''s Ngurah Rai International Airport on Friday, the first day of her five-day state visit to Indonesia. Me Mangku Pastika, the Governor of Bali received her.

Indonesia is one of an important country of ASIAN with India has historical ties.


President arrives in Bali

President Pratibha PatilPresident Pratibha Patil arrived in Bali on Friday on a five-day visit to Indonesia.

Her visit aims to enhance ties with Indonesia, a key member of the regional ASEAN grouping.

Patil arrived to a warm welcome in Bali on the final leg of her two-nation trip, which earlier took her to Vietnam, to give a momentum to India's 'Look East' policy initiative to enhance ties with its ASEAN neighbours.
 
During her stay in Bali, Patil would hold talks with her counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on a wide range of issues encompassing political, economic and cultural ties.


Abusive HIV plan rejected by Indonesia

HIV/AIDSIndonesian AIDS commission has rejected a plan by the lawmakers of Papua province which requires microchips to be implanted in  HIV/ AIDS patients to monitor the spread of disease.  

It is expected that the bill would be passed on a majority vote and would implemented in January 2009. The implicit reason behind the bill is to track sexually active people who have HIV/AIDS who could be prosecuted if they are suspected of infecting others. According to lawmakers, the proposed bill would also give a permission to the authorities to identify and ultimately punish "sexually aggressive,” HIV-positive individuals.


President Patil urges international community to fight terrorism jointly

Pratibha PatilBali, Nov 29 : Visiting Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil on Saturday called upon the international community to fight terrorism relentlessly and jointly.

Patil who arrived in Indonesia for a five-day visit on Friday, urged the international community to join hands against terrorism.

“Act of terrorism is high on the agenda of international communities and we must jointly and relentlessly fight against terrorism. This is what is needed and I think that good sense will prevail in all the people,” Patil told reporters.


President Patil recalls, lauds India-Bali ties

IndonesiaBali (Indonesia), Nov. 29 : Addressing prominent citizens of the Indonesian tourist resort town of Bali, visiting Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil today recalled the historical ties between her country and Indonesia, and added that every opportunity must be availed to enhance this deep understanding and empathy.

Highlighting the fact that trade and cultural contacts between the two countries went back to two millennia, Patil said she was aware of the rich cultural heritage of Bali.


President Patil urges international community to fight terrorism jointly

Pratibha PatilBali, Nov 29 : Visiting Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil on Saturday called upon the international community to fight terrorism relentlessly and jointly.

Patil who arrived in Indonesia for a five-day visit on Friday, urged the international community to join hands against terrorism.

"Act of terrorism is high on the agenda of international communities and we must jointly and relentlessly fight against terrorism. This is what is needed and I think that good sense will prevail in all the people," Patil told reporters.


President Patil to cut short her visit to Indonesia

Pratibha PatilBali (Indonesia), Nov. 29 : Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil will cut short her visit to Indonesia by two days and go to Mumbai to visit relatives of the police officials who laid down their lives during this week’s terror strikes.

Officials accompanying the President on her ten-day state visit to Vietnam and Indonesia, said on Saturday that Patil would also visit hospitals in Mumbai to meet the survivors of the attacks and commiserate with them.


President Patil arrives in Jakarta

President Patil arrives in JakartaJakarta, Nov 30 : Visiting Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil arrived at Jakarta on Sunday in her last leg of tour to Vietnam and Indonesia.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Dr. Hassan Wiraynda and Minister for Women Empowerment Frida Hatta received the President at the airport.

During her visit, the President is schedule to meet President of the Republic of Indonesia Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.


Indonesia's exports drop as demand, prices fall

Indonesia's exports drop as demand, prices fallJakarta - Indonesia's exports declined by more than 11 per cent in October, dragged down by weak demand and falls in prices for the country's products, media reports said Tuesday.

Total export value reached 10.8 billion dollars for the month, a 11.6 per cent decline compared with the previous month's figure of 12.23 billion dollars, the National Statistics Agency said.

Exports for first 10 months of the year stood at 118.4 billion dollars, up by 26.9 per cent over the same period in 2007, the agency said.


Indonesian mudflow victims seek refuge at Dutch embassy

Indonesia FlagJakarta - Dozens of Indonesian victims of an industrial accident sought refuge inside the Dutch embassy in Jakarta Wednesday, as hundreds of others rallied outside the presidential palace to demand speedier compensation for their properties.

About 70 victims set up camp outside the embassy, claiming that they have no other place to live since a mud volcano buried their homes in 2006.


Indonesian central bank cuts interest rate

Indonesian central bank cuts interest rateJakarta - Indonesia's central bank on Thursday lowered its key interest rate by 25 basis points to 9.25 per cent, an unexpected move aimed at helping shield its economy from the global financial crisis.

It was the first cut since Bank Indonesia lowered its key interest rate in December.

"The decision to cut the rate was taken after evaluating financial and economic prospects, both in the domestic and global market," the central bank said in a statement.


Indonesian central bank cuts interest rate

Bank IndonesiaJakarta - Indonesia's central bank on Thursday lowered its key interest rate by 25 basis points to 9.25 per cent, an unexpected move aimed at helping shield its economy from the global financial crisis.

It was the first cut since Bank Indonesia lowered its key interest rate in December.

"The decision to cut the rate was taken after evaluating financial and economic prospects, both in the domestic and global market," the central bank said in a statement.

The bank said it hoped the rate cut would help maintain domestic economic stability amid the global economic meltdown.


Foreign ministers to usher in new chapter for ASEAN

Foreign ministers to usher in new chapter for ASEANJakarta  - Foreign ministers of 10 nations will meet in Jakarta next week to celebrate the new charter of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the regional grouping said Tuesday.

The event at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta on December 15 will mark the effective date of the regional bloc's guiding constitution, the Secretariat said in a statement.

"The entry into force of the Charter is a historic milestone for the organization, repositioning ASEAN to better meet the challenges of the 21st century," Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said.


Indonesia, Australia to boost efforts to fight people smuggling

Bali, Indonesia - Indonesia and Australia pledged Wednesday to intensify efforts to fight against human trafficking, and Jakarta will soon to extradite an Iranian national to face such charges in Australia.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said he and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono agreed that "we would further deepen our cooperation at the operational field level in dealing with the challenges of people smuggling."

Rudd, who was on the Indonesian resort island of Bali to attend a regional forum to promote democracy, said an Iranian national suspected of smuggling people to Australia will soon be extradited from Indonesia.


Indonesia confirms two new bird flu cases, death toll rises to 113

Jakarta - A 2-year-old Indonesian girl died from bird flu, raising the country's world-leading death toll from the H5N1 virus to 113, while another 9-year old girl has been infected by the virus, the health ministry said Wednesday.

The girl from the Indonesian capital Jakarta died on November 29 after developing symptoms on November 18, ministry spokeswoman Lily Sriwahyuni said.

She said the girl was brought to Jakarta's Omni Medical Centre on November 26, before being sent to the Sulianti Saroso Hospital, which is designated to treat bird flu patients in the capital, on November 29. She died one day later.


Former Indonesian foreign minister Ali Alatas dead at 76

Former Indonesian foreign minister Ali Alatas dead at 76Jakarta  - Former Indonesian foreign minister Ali Alatas died on Thursday at the age of 76, officials and media reports said.

Alatas, who served as Indonesia's foreign minister from 1988 and 1999, passed away at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital at about 7:30 am (0030 GMT) after he was hospitalised on November 24, Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said.

However, Faizasyah declined to go into details about the former top diplomat's illness. He added that preparations are underway to fly Alatas' body to Jakarta from Singapore.


6.3-magnitude earthquake strikes off central Indonesia

6.3-magnitude earthquake strikes off central Indonesia Jakarta  - An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale struck off Indonesia's North Sulawesi province Friday morning, seismologists said.

The quake's epicentre lay about 101 kilometres south-east of Gorontalo in northern Sulawesi at about 4:40 am Jakarta time (2140 GMT Thursday), and occurred about 95 kilometres beneath the seabed, the National Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) said.


New Zealand pays tribute to former Indonesian foreign minister

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCullyWellington  - New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully Friday expressed his country's condolences on the death of former Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, who he described as one of South-east Asia's most eminent statesmen.

McCully said Alatas had been a good friend to New Zealand over several decades and particularly noted the role he played in building the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) into a major force for regional progress and stability.


Indonesian police seize 6 kilograms heroin, arrest two

Jakarta, IndonesiaJakarta- Indonesian police seized more than 6 kilograms of heroin and arrested two people in one of the biggest drug hauls in the country this year, police said Friday.

The heroin was seized when police raided a house in the eastern Jakarta suburb of Cipinang on Thursday night, said Brigadier General Harry Montolalu, director of the anti-drugs unit at national police headquarters.


Jealous Indonesian man burns girlfriend to death

Jakarta - An 30-year-old Indonesia man allegedly doused his girlfriend in petrol and burned her to death in a fit of jealousy, a media report said Saturday.

The 29-year-old Desy Kana died from burns to most of her body at the WZ Yohannes General Hospital in East Nusa Tenggara after being set on fire by Jackson Hendrik Lasi at her home in Manulai II sub-district, the Jakarta Post reported.

It quoted witnesses as saying that the couple was engaged in a fierce of argument over Desy dating another man.

Desy's relatives reported the case to the East Nusa Tenggara provincial police, but no action had been taken on ground that the family filed an unclear report, the paper said. (dpa)


ASEAN charter for forming new EU-style bloc comes into force

Jakarta - South-East Asian foreign ministers Monday formalized a charter that transforms the 41-year-old bloc of half a billion people into a a more united community.

The charter sets out rules of membership, transforms the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) into a legal entity and proposes a single free trade area by 2015.

"Today, the ASEAN Charter officially entered into force," Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told the meeting at the ASEAN secretariat in Jakarta. "This is a momentous development at a time when ASEAN is consolidating, integrating and transforming itself into a community."


Leader of religious cult named suspect for blasphemy

Leader of religious cult named suspect for blasphemy Jakarta  - Indonesian police named the female leader of a controversial cult as a suspect for religious blasphemy Tuesday, an offence punishable by up to five years in prison.

Lia Aminuddin, the leader of the "Kingdom of Eden," was brought to the Jakarta city police headquarters on Monday for distributing anti-religious leaflets urging the disbanding of all religions, including Islam.

Police also took 23 other people, including 11 children, to the Jakarta police headquarters for questioning, the Suara Pembaruan daily reported.


Indonesian parliament approves new mining bill

Indonesia FlagJakarta - The Indonesian parliament on Tuesday passed a new law on coal and mining that is expected to pave the way of international mining companies to exploit its mineral resources.

The endorsement of the Bill on Minerals and Coal Mining ending three years of deliberation at parliament, sometimes exacerbated by quarreling among lawmakers, but sparked uncertainty among miners.

Muhaimin Iskandar, deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, confirmed that the bill was passed despite objections from certain factions.


Indonesia urges EU to lift ban on Jakarta airliners

Jakarta  - Indonesia has called on the European Union to lift its ban on the country's carriers from the 27-nation bloc's airspace after Jakarta passed a new aviation law, media reports said Thursday.

"There is no further argument for the EU not to lift the ban," Transport Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal was quoted as saying by the Indonesian daily Koran Tempo.

On Wednesday, the Indonesian parliament passed a bill to improve the country's air safety in response to demands by the EU after Indonesia saw a string of deadly air crashes.

The EU imposed a ban on all Indonesian airliners in mid-2007 after the crash landing of a Garuda Airline plane in Yogyakarta in Central Java in March 2007, which killed


Police nab two Russians, one Indonesian in abduction

Jakarta  - Indonesian police have arrested two Russians and a local man for their alleged involvement in abducting a Russian businessman, media reports said Thursday.

The two Russians, identified only as Alex and Igor, and Richard Sihite, an Indonesian citizen, were arrested Wednesday in Serpong, West Java.

Police freed the kidnapped Russian businessman, identified as Colavenko Alexandre, 37, and confiscated a laptop, 1,300 dollars and 50 million rupiah (4,560 dollars) in cash as evidence, The Jakarta Post reported.

Detective Senior Commissioner Muhammad Iriawan, Jakarta's police chief, quoted Alexandre as saying he came to Indonesia after receiving a business invitation through the internet.


Indonesia's tourist arrivals tipped to rise 25 per cent in 2009

Jakarta  - Indonesia is confident its number of foreign tourists would increase up to 25 per cent next year despite previous downward expectations because of the global financial crisis, a media report said Friday.

Sapta Nirwandar, the Culture and Tourism Ministry's director general, said Indonesia's tourism industry would continue to grow because of higher spending on promotion combined with large numbers of regular visitors who came to the country to enjoy surfing, scuba diving, natural attractions and cultural pursuits.

Nirwandar said his ministry forecast 8 million foreigners would visit the country in 2009, up 1 million from an initial target. Such numbers would compare with a target of 6.4 million visitors this year.


Indonesia launches major counter-terrorism drill

Jakarta - Indonesia on Friday launched a major three-day counter-terrorist exercise in several cities and in the Malacca Strait.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Widodo Adi Sucipto said the operation in the Malacca Strait was designed to show Indonesia's readiness to protect one of the world's busiest waterways. "Security in the Malacca Strait is very important not only for Singapore and Malaysia but also Indonesia ... especially with regard to piracy threats," the state-run Antara news agency quoted Widodo as saying.

National police chief General Bambang Hendarso Danuri said more than 6,500 officers from the Indonesian Armed Forces and national police would take part in the counter-terrorist drill.


At least 12 die as bus plunges into ravine in Indonesia

At least 12 die as bus plunges into ravine in Indonesia Jakarta  - At least 12 people were killed and more than 20 others injured after a bus carrying a wedding delegation plunged into a deep ravine in southern Sumatra province of Lampung, media reports said Saturday.

The accident occurred Friday afternoon when a passenger bus with 38 people on board was en route from Muaradua district of Lampung province to Manna of the adjacent Bengkulu province, the state-run Antara news agency reported.


Indonesia marks fourth anniversary of deadly tsunami

Jakarta - Indonesia Friday marked the fourth anniversary of the Boxing Day tsunami, with thousands of people scrambling up to higher ground on the coast of North Sulawesi as sirens blared in a drill.

In Aceh at the northern end of Sumatra, where more than 170,000 people were either killed or went missing when a massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami on December 26, 2004, hundreds of survivors prayed at mosques across the staunchly Muslim province, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

Hundreds of others prayed at mass graves or gathered along the Aceh coast to honour victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that claimed up to 230,000 lives in 11 countries and displaced more than 1.8 million people.


Indonesia commemorates 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami

6.3-magnitude earthquake strikes off central Indonesia New Delhi, Dec 26 : Indonesia commemorated the fourth anniversary of the tsunami that devastated the coastal areas of Indian Ocean on December 24, 2004, and killed over 230,000 people, with 170,000 of them in Aceh province.

According to head of the provincial development agency Rahman Lubis, the commemoration took place in Meulaboh town at the west coast of the province in the northern tip of Sumatra island, which was hit the hardest during the tsunami triggered by a strong quake in December 2004.


Boat sinks on Indonesia's Java Sea kills at least 10

Boat sinks on Indonesia's Java Sea kills at least 10Jakarta - At least 10 people were killed, 17 survived and an unspecific others were believed to be missing after a small boat capsized off Indonesia's main island of Java on Monday morning, officials said.

The accident took place at about 10:00 am (0300 GMT) when a small wooden boat packed with around 30 people overturned in the Java Sea off the northern coast of central Java district of Pemalang, about 300 kilometres east of Jakarta, police and health officials said.


Indonesian court acquits former spy of activist's murder

Indonesian court acquits former spy of activist's murderJakarta  - An Indonesian district court on Wednesday unexpectedly acquitted a former senior intelligence official of charges of murdering a prominent human rights activist.

The South Jakarta district court declared Muchdi Purwoprandjono "not guilty" of involvement in the assassination of Munir Said Thalib, who died of arsenic poisoning aboard a Garuda Indonesia flight to Amsterdam in 2004.


Indonesian Muslims stage anti-Israel protest outside US embassy

Jakarta - Hundreds of Indonesian Muslims demonstrated outside the US embassy in Jakarta Wednesday, denouncing the Israeli military strikes on the Gaza Strip that killed hundreds of people.

More than 1,000 protestors, including activists from the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), waved Palestinian flags and shouted slogans to protest Israeli aggression.

It was the latest in a series of protest rallies in Indonesia since Israel attacked Gaza over the weekend.


Indonesians rally against Israel's Gaza strikes

Indonesia MapJakarta - More than 10,000 Indonesians rallied outside the US embassy in Jakarta on Friday to protest against Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip and condemn the United States for supporting the Jewish state.

It was the biggest protest in support of the Palestinians in Indonesia since Israel launched the airstrikes on Saturday in what it says is a defensive move to halt rocket attacks on Israeli territory by Palestinian militants.

At least 420 Palestinians have been killed and thousands injured in the attacks.


Indonesia prosecutors to appeal acquittal in activist murder case

Indonesia FlagJakarta - Indonesian prosecutors will appeal the acquittal of a former intelligence agency official accused of masterminding the murder of a leading human rights activist, a spokesman for the Attorney-General's Office said Friday.

Activists have criticized the acquittal of Muchdi Purwoprandjono in the murder of Munir Said Thalib as proof that powerful figures remain above the law, despite a pledge by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to get to the bottom of the case.


Strong quake off Indonesia

Jakarta/Washington  - An underwater earthquake early Sunday off the coast of eastern Indonesia registered a magnitude of 7.6 on the Richter scale, the US Geological Survey reported.

The quake struck at 4:43 am Sunday (1943 GMT Saturday) at a depth of 35 kilometres below the Earth's surface. The epicentre was located 150 kilometres west-north-west of Manokwari in Indonesia's Irian Jaya, or 623 kilometres north-east of Ambon in Indonesian Molucca.

There was no immediate tsunami warning issued. (dpa)


Powerful aftershock rattles Indonesia's Papua

Jakarta  - A powerful 7.6-magnitude aftershock struck at sea Sunday morning off Indonesia's West Papua province, following a 7.2 magnitude initial earthquake, seismologists said.

The aftershock rattled at a shallow depth of 10 kilometres and struck at 7:33 am (2233 GMT Saturday), about 76 kilometres north-west of Manokwari, the provincial capital of West Papua, Indonesia's National Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) said. (dpa)


Powerful earthquake strikes Indonesia's Papua

Jakarta  - A powerful 7.2-magnitude quake struck at sea early Sunday off Indonesia's West Papua province, sending residents running out of their homes and other buildings, seismologists and authorities said.

A tsunami alert was issued by the Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) but was later canceled after no waves materialized.

The quake, which hit at a shallow depth of 35 kilometres, struck at 4:43 am (1943 GMT Saturday), about 150 kilometres north-west of Manokwari, the provincial capital of West Papua, the BMG said.

The US Geological Survey put the quake at 7.6 on the Richter scale.


Powerful earthquake strikes Indonesia's Papua

Powerful earthquake strikes Indonesia's PapuaJakarta  - A powerful 7.2-magnitude quake struck at sea early Sunday off Indonesia's West Papua province, sending residents running out of their homes and other buildings, seismologists and authorities said.

A tsunami alert was issued by the Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) but was later canceled after no waves materialized.

The quake, which hit at a shallow depth of 10 kilometres, struck at 4:43 am (1943 GMT Saturday), about 135 kilometres north-west of Manokwari, the provincial capital of West Papua, the BMG said.


Earthquake kills one in West Papua, dozens injured

Earthquake kills one in West Papua, dozens injured Jakarta  - A series of earthquakes rattled the eastern Indonesian province of West Papua on Sunday morning, killing at least one and injuring 26 others, officials said.

An official at Manokwari's general hospital confirmed that one body and 26 injured persons had been sent to the hospital.

The powerful 7.2-magnitude quake struck off the West Papua province at 4:43 am (1943 GMT Saturday). A 7.6-magnitude aftershock rattled the provincial capital town and nearby regions two hours after the initial quake.


Earthquake strikes Indonesia's Papua, five killed

Jakarta  - A series of powerful earthquakes rattled the eastern Indonesian province of West Papua on Sunday, killing at least five people and injuring dozens of others, officials said.

The quake hit at a shallow depth of 10 kilometres at 4:43 am (1943 GMT Saturday), about 135 kilometres north-west of Manokwari, the provincial capital of West Papua, the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said.

An aftershock measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, with its epicentre on land about 76 kilometres north-west of Manokwari, struck about two hours later but triggered no tsunami, the agency said.

The US Geological Survey put the initial quake at 7.6 Richter scale and the strongest aftershock at 7.5 on the Richter scale.


Indonesia's inflation hits 11.06 per cent in 2008

Indonesia FlagJakarta - Indonesia's consumer price index in December declined 0.04 per cent against the previous month, driven by lower costs of transportation and communication, a senior government official said Monday.

The 2008 annual inflation rate was 11.06 per cent, said Ali Rosidi, deputy chairman of the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Rosidi said the December deflation was due to a decrease in the price index in the group transport, communications and financial services.


Indonesia experiences tourist boom in 2008

Indonesia experiences tourist boom in 2008Munich  - Indonesia set another foreign visitor record in 2008, according to the country's tourist office in Munich.

The first 10 months of the year saw tourist numbers soar by 13 per cent to 5.09 million visitors in total.

Some of the biggest increases in tourists numbers have been on the island of Bali which saw about 1.66 million more visitors by the end of October. (dpa)


Taiwan man hid wife, kids at home for 7 years to avoid deportation

Taipei - A Taiwan man, fearing deportation of his Indonesian wife, hid her and their three children at home for seven years, an immigration official and a local news report said Wednesday.

Local authorities in Puli, central Taiwan, uncovered the secret of Liu Fan-jung, 43, a noodle maker, in August 2008.

Liu met his wife, an Indonesian of Chinese descent identified by her surname Chen, 14 years ago when she was visiting on a tourist visa, but overstayed to work illegally in Taiwan, the United Daily News said.

Liu and Chen met, fell in love and got married, but did not register with authorities, fearing she would be deported, which would put her on a blacklist, preventing her return for three years.


Indonesia cuts key rate by 50 percentage points

Jakarta- Indonesia's central bank on Wednesday cut its benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points to 8.75 per cent to support growth amid a global economic slowdown.

The cut was higher than expected after Bank Indonesia reduced the rate by 25 basis points in December.

"For 2009 our monetary policy should pay more attention to efforts to support economic growth while continuing to rein in inflation and stabilise the financial sector," Bank Indonesia governor Boediono, who, like many Indonesians goes by only one name, said in a statement.

Bank Indonesia raised its key interest rate six times during 2008 to 9.5 per cent to curb inflationary pressures.


Indonesian lawmakers jailed in graft case

Indonesia FlagJakarta - An Indonesian court on Wednesday jailed two lawmakers for their involvement in a multi-million-dollar bribery case that has embroiled the country's central bank.

Judges at Jakarta's anti-corruption court sentenced Hamka Yandhu to three years in prison and Anthony Zeidra Abidin to four and a half years for receiving bribes from Bank Indonesia.

The court also ordered the two politicians to pay a fine of 150 million rupiah (13,820 dollars) and 250 million rupiah respectively.

Bank Indonesia paid 31.5 billion rupiah to members of parliament using money embezzled from a foundation financed by the central bank.


Fire kills eight in Indonesian capital Jakarta

Fire kills eight in Indonesian capital JakartaJakarta  - A fire gutted a boarding house in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta early Thursday, killing eight people local media reports said.

The fire broke out at about 3 am (2000 GMT Wednesday) and immediately engulfed the two-story boarding house in West Jakarta suburb of Palmerah, when the residents were sleeping, said Tatang, an officer from the city's traffic police.


Suspected rebels attack police post in Indonesia's Papua

Jakarta - Police in Indonesia's Papua province said on Friday they were hunting suspected separatist rebels who raided a police post and stabbed the wife of an officer before making off with four guns and ammunition.

About 20 suspected rebels of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) attacked a police post in Puncak Jaya district on Thursday night and stabbed the wife of a policeman in the chest, said Papua police chief Bagus Eko Danto.

"The woman is in critical condition after she was stabbed three times with a sickle," he said.

He said the attackers were armed with traditional weapons such as sickles, arrows and other crude weapons.

Bagus said the attackers also stole 60 bullets.


Indonesian councillors seek synagogue closure over Gaza attacks

Jakarta - Councillors in Indonesia's second largest city Surabaya are seeking the closure of what is believed to be the only synagogue in the country to protest against Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip, a council member said Friday.

Protestors on Wednesday symbolically sealed the synagogue during a protest against Israel's strikes on Gaza that by Friday had killed 776 Palestinians and injured more than 3,000 people.

"We are asking the city administration to close the synagogue and verify the presence of the Jewish community here," said Ahmad Suyanto, a member of the Surabaya City Council.


More than 200 missing as ferry sinks in central Indonesia

Jakarta  - A ferry with some 250 people on board sank in rough waters off the Indonesian province of West Sulawesi early Sunday, leaving more than 200 missing and feared drowned, officials said.

Eighteen people were rescued from the sea, including a crew member, who told officials that the ship was engulfed by huge waves before it sank, said Ilham Rachman, an official at the post in West Sulawesi port town of Majene.

"The crew member said the weather was very bad and the seas were rough," Ilham said.

"We haven't been able to get much information from them because they are still very weak and traumatized," he said about the survivors.


Scores missing as ferry sinks in central Indonesia

Jakarta  - A ferry with 267 people on board sank in rough waters off the Indonesian province of West Sulawesi early Sunday, leaving scores missing and feared drowned, officials said.

Eighteen people were rescued from the sea, including a crew member, who told officials that the ship was engulfed by huge waves before it sank, said Ilham Rachman, an official at the port in West Sulawesi town of Majene.

But Transportation Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said in Jakarta that the ministry had received an unconfirmed report that 150 people had been rescued.

"We don't know for sure. We have not been unable to confirm this," he said.


Indonesia resumes search in ferry disaster, more than 200 missing

Indonesia resumes search in ferry disaster, more than 200 missing Jakarta  - Fighting high waves and bad weather, rescuers resumed their search Monday as more than 200 people remained missing after a passenger ferry capsized off the Indonesian province of West Sulawesi the day before.

Raden Arsono, an official at the Search and Rescue (SAR) agency in the South Sulawesi capital Makassar, said so far only 20 survivors had been found after two other survivors were reportedly picked up by local fishermen Monday morning, leaving 248 people missing and feared drowned.


Hundreds missing, survivors rescued in Indonesian ferry disaster

Jakarta - One body and a total of 33 survivors were rescued two days after a passenger ferry capsized off the Indonesian province of West Sulawesi, leaving an estimated 230 others missing and feared dead, officials said Tuesday.

The body of one of the boat passengers meanwhile had been found in the Majene waters and was taken ashore by a navy warship to Majene port, while eight more survivors were picked up from the rough seas, said Junaidi, an official in the West Sulawesi port town of Majene.

He said seven of the survivors were picked up by a cargo vessel that passed around the sunken ferry and they were taken to the Makassar port in south Sulawesi capital.


Indonesia president launches third music album

Indonesia president launches third music albumJakarta - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has launched
a third pop album comprising instrumental versions of his 10 previously
recorded songs.

The album, dubbed Evolution and launched on Sunday in a lavish concert
attended by cabinet ministers, features some of the country's veteran
rock, jazz and classic musicians.

"These works express my feelings and thoughts as president and an
ordinary human being," Yudhoyono was quoted as saying in his Web site,
www. presidensby. info.


Hong Kong employer fined for slapping Indonesian maid

Hong Kong employer fined for slapping Indonesian maidHong Kong  - A Hong Kong woman who slapped her Indonesian maid across the face for getting up five minutes late has been fined 2,000 Hong Kong dollars (256 US dollars), a court report said Wednesday.

Housewife Lok Hung-tan, 29, claimed she was depressed and sick with a kidney disease when she accused her 25-year-old employee called Yanti of being late last December.

She fined her 12 US dollars and when the maid objected slapped her face, causing abrasions to her lip, said the report in the South China Morning Post.


Hopes slim for missing in Indonesian ferry disaster

Jakarta - Rescue workers made no progress in their search for more than 230 missing people three days after a passenger ferry capsized in rough seas off the Indonesian province of West Sulawesi, officials said Wednesday.

"We received no report on more survivors or bodies found from the field until mid-day Wednesday," said Junaedi, an official at western Sulawesi port town of Majene, the closest to the ferry's location when it sank.

He said only 35 survivors and two bodies had been found since the ferry sank early Sunday, leaving at least 230 others missing and feared dead.


Indonesia, Netherlands urge immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Jakarta - Indonesia and the Netherlands on Wednesday called for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, where an Israeli military offensive has killed more than 900 Palestinians.

Visiting Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said after meeting his Indonesian counterpart Hassan Wirajuda that Indonesia and the Netherlands had a common interest in an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

"We also shared ideas on how to realize a ceasefire in Gaza," he told a news conference.

Retno Marsudi, the foreign ministry's director general for the Americas and Europe, said each country should play a role in pushing for a Gaza ceasefire.


Boat carrying escaping refugees sinks off Indonesia, three dead

Boat carrying escaping refugees sinks off Indonesia, three deadJakarta - A Pakistani and two Afghan refugees were killed after a boat carrying 18 Australia-bound foreign asylum seekers who escaped an Indonesian immigration detention centre sank off eastern Indonesia, police said Thursday.

Nine people survived after the boat capsized in the Pakuafu Strait off Rote island in East Nusa Tenggara province on Wednesday, said provincial police spokesman Octo Riwu.

Six other asylum seekers and three members of the boat's crew remained missing, he said.


Five Australians jailed in Indonesia for illegal plane landing

Five Australians jailed in Indonesia for illegal plane landingJakarta - A court in Indonesia's Papua province on Thursday jailed five Australians for two and three years in prison for landing a plane illegally, a prosecutor said.

The five Australians were arrested in September after landing a small plane in the Papuan district of Merauke. The plane departed from Australia's Horn Island.

Judges at the Merauke district court sentenced the pilot, William Scott-Bloxam, to three years in prison and fined him 50 million rupiah (4,550 dollars), said prosecutor Rifky Firmansyah.


Four bodies recovered from missing in Indonesian ferry disaster

Jakarta - Rescue workers on Thursday picked up four bodies from a passenger ferry that sank four days ago in seas off the Indonesian province of West Sulawesi, raising fears that more than 200 other missing people have died as well, officials said.

"We have just got reports that rescue workers recovered four bodies and now they were on board a Navy warship heading the search operation," said Junaedi, an official at western Sulawesi port town of Majene, the closest port to the ferry's location when it sank.

He said the four bodies, twos adult and two children, were recovered from seas near Laboso Bay, about 18 kilometres from where the ferry went down Sunday morning, carrying 267 people.


Malaysian police kill three members of notorious Indonesian gang

Malaysian police kill three members of notorious Indonesian gangKuala Lumpur - Malaysian police on Monday shot dead three Indonesian men believed to be part of a gang responsible for more than 50 armed robberies in several states, a top police officer said.

The robbers targeted homes of politicians and high-profile corporate figures, and were believed to have hit at least 50 homes in seven states, said central Selangor state police chief Khalid Abu Bakar.

The three, including the alleged gang leader, were killed during a pre-dawn gun fight in the southern state of Johor, he said.


Indonesia investigates fire at major fuel depot

Jakarta - Indonesian police were investigating a fire at a major fuels depot Monday in Jakarta that forced authorities to shut down the station and caused nearby residents to flee in panic.

The fire broke out at about 9 am and engulfed one of the fuel tanks at Plumpang oil depot in North Jakarta for about 10 hours, officials said.

The state-run oil company Pertamina said the fire at the country's largest depot was unlikely to disrupt fuel supplies to the capital and nearby regions.

There were no reports of casualties, but the blaze caused nearby residents to flee their homes in panic. (dpa)


Captain named suspect in Indonesian ferry disaster

Jakarta - Police have named the captain of a passenger ferry that sank off the Indonesian province of West Sulawesi a suspect for negligence in the accident that left more than 220 people missing and believed dead, officials said Monday.

Only 35 people including the captain were known to have survived, and nine bodies were found after the accident, leaving more than
220 others unaccounted for.

South Sulawesi police spokesman Heri Sabuansuari said the captain, identified only as Sabir, was a suspect for negligence that caused loss of life.

If found guilty, Sabir could face to a maximum of five years imprisonment.


Indonesian police arrest brewer after drink kills 14

Indonesian police arrest brewer after drink kills 14Jakarta - Police in Indonesia's Central Java province have arrested a shop owner after 14 people died after drinking a homemade alcohol brew he sold, reports said Tuesday.

The victims - all young men - died after drinking a concoction of 90 per cent alcohol, ginseng, vanilla extract and fermented tea, the Koran Tempo daily quoted police chief Benone Louhenapassy in the provincial capital Semarang as saying.

Another person who consumed the drink was critically ill in hospital, the daily said.


Search halted for victims in Indonesian ferry disaster

Search halted for victims in Indonesian ferry disasterJakarta - Rescuers on Tuesday stopped the search for about 260 people still missing after a ferry sank off Indonesia's West Sulawesi province earlier this month, an official said.

Thirty-five people were rescued, including the ship's captain, and nine others found dead after the ship sank in stormy seas on January 11 off the port town of Majene, said Colonel Jaka Santosa, a navy officer who led the search operation.

Santosa said an estimated 262 people were still missing and believed to have gone down with the ship.


Former airline official gets year in jail for activist's murder

Jakarta - The Indonesian Supreme Court sentenced a former senior official from Garuda Indonesia airlines to one year in jail for aiding in the murder of a prominent human rights campaigner who was poisoned on a flight to Amsterdam four years ago, state-run media said Wednesday.

The Supreme Court overturned the lower court's acquittal of Rohainil Aini, the former secretary to the chief pilot of national carrier Garuda Indonesia, linked to the murder of Munir Said Thalib.

The court sentenced Rohainil to one year in prison, saying that she had been proven guilty of falsifying an assignment letter enabling an off-duty Garuda pilot, Pollycarpus Budi Priyanto, to travel on Munir's flight.


Two Indonesians die of bird flu, bringing death toll to 115

Indonesia MapJakarta - Two Indonesians have died of bird flu, the health ministry said Wednesday, bringing the death toll from the disease in the country to 115.

A 29-year-old woman from Tangerang, 40 kilometres west of the capital Jakarta, died on December 16 and tests showed that she was infected with the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus, the ministry said in a statement posted on its Website.

On January 2 a 5-year-old girl from Bekasi, 30 kilometres east of Jakarta, died of bird flu after being treated in hospital since December, the ministry said.


Indonesian gets three-and-a-half years for false fuel claims

Indonesia MapJakarta- An Indonesian court on Thursday jailed a man who falsely claimed to have invented a technology to turn water into fuel in a scandal that embarrassed President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Judges in Bantul district in Yogyakarta province found Djoko Suprapto guilty of defrauding a university of 1.3 billion rupiah (115,700 dollars) in research funds and sentenced him to three-and-a half years, said Joko Sutrisno, the court's administrative chief.

The court official said the defendant would appeal the verdict.


Indonesian Buddhists want Buddha Bar closed

Indonesia FlagJakarta - Indonesian Buddhists on Thursday urged authorities in Jakarta to close a newly opened Buddha Bar restaurant, saying the name was sacrilegious.

Buddhists in the North Sumatran city of Medan met on Thursday to discuss the presence of the Buddha Bar, the hip Paris-based franchise of restaurants, the state Antara news agency reported.

"We urge the Jakarta administration to take strong action against the use of the name Buddha to avoid angering Buddhists," Brilian Moktar, head of the Buddhist association in Medan, was quoted as saying by Antara.


Indonesia may deport Myanmar boat people stranded in Aceh

Indonesia may deport Myanmar boat people stranded in AcehJakarta  - Indonesia has denied requests by the United Nations refugee agency for access to 193 Myanmar boat people stranded in the westernmost province of Aceh, the foreign ministry said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said that the boat people appeared to be part of about 1,000 refugees from Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority held and later released by the Thai military late last year.

The Myanmar boat people were found adrift off Sabang island in Aceh province on January 7 and are now being sheltered at the naval base.


Indonesia bans yoga for Muslims

Indonesia bans yoga for MuslimsJakarta, Jan. 26 : Muslims in Indonesia have been banned from doing yoga if they engage in Hindu religious rituals during the exercise, the chairman of the country''s top Islamic body has said.

A report in The Telegraph said that about 700 clerics from the Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI) agreed to ban the practice of yoga over fears that the use of Hindu prayers could "erode" Muslims'' faith.

"The yoga practice that contains religious rituals of Hinduism including the recitation of mantras is "haram" (forbidden in Islam)," Ma''ruf Amin, a spokesman for the group, said.


Six die, dozens injured as bus plunges into ravine in West Java

Indonesia FlagJakarta - A bus carrying 36 people plunged into a ravine in the Indonesian province of West Java early Monday, killing at least six people and injuring dozens of others, police said.

The accident took place at about 3 am (2000 GMT Sunday) when a passenger bus, moving at high speed, fell into a 200-metre ravine in Malangbong village in Garur district, about 150 kilometres south-east of Jakarta, the state-run Antara news agency reported.


Indonesia bans Muslims from practicing Hindu yoga

JIndonesia bans Muslims from practicing Hindu yoga akarta - Indonesia's top Islamic body issued a ruling banning Muslim from practicing yoga if they engage in Hindu religious rituals during the exercise, the chairman of the group said.

At the end of its three-day meeting in the West Sumatra city of Padang Panjang on Sunday, the Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI) issued the fatwa, or edict, saying that exercises containing Hindu elements such as chanting were "haram," (forbidden) in Islam, as it could weaken the faith of Muslims.


Sumatran tiger population rises in Indonesian park

Sumatran tiger population rises in Indonesian park Jakarta - The number of critically endangered Sumatran tigers at an Indonesian national park has increased over the past few years thanks to a successful campaign against poaching, a conservationist said Tuesday.

The result of a 20-month monitoring programme showed that the population of Sumatran tigers at the Bukit Tiga Puluh National Park in Riau province had risen to 43 from 35 in 2003, said Muhammad Yunus, coordinator of the park's Sumatran Tiger Conservation Programme.


Why give yoga a religious connotation, says Deoband

Why give yoga a religious connotation, says DeobandDeoband (UP), Jan 28: The Darul Uloom Deoband, an influential islamic body, said on Wednesday that there was nothing wrong with any exercise done for health reasons.

Reacting to Indonesia''s top Islamic body barring Muslims from practicing yoga, its spokesperson, Akeel Siddiqui, said that Islam does not prohibit anyone from practicing yoga or any other kind of physical exercise.


Wild elephants kill two in Indonesia's Aceh province

Wild elephants kill two in Indonesia's Aceh province Jakarta - A couple of wild elephants went on a rampage in Indonesia's north-western province of Aceh, killing two people and injuring three others after destroying a hut, police and media reports said Wednesday.

The animals entered Kupula village in Sumatra's northern Aceh district of Pidie Tuesday morning, and trampled a hut where seven women chili farmers were eating breakfast.

Pidie district police chief Mufan Mujikawati said the women fled the hut but two of them were later trampled to death by the angry elephants.


Another Indonesian lawmaker jailed for graft

Another Indonesian lawmaker jailed for graftJakarta - An Indonesian court on Wednesday sentenced a legislator from the party of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to four-a-half years in prison for accepting bribes.

The anti-corruption court in Jakarta found Sarjan Taher, a lawmaker from the Democratic Party, guilty of accepting 5 billion rupiah (440,000 dollars) in bribe money from a provincial government.

The money was intended to influence lawmakers to approve a project to convert a mangrove forest into a seaport in South Sumatra province, the court said.


Helicopter blades kill two in Indonesia

Helicopter blades kill two in IndonesiaJakarta  - Two mechanics were killed by rotor blades on Thursday when the helicopter they were servicing tilted on its side, an transport ministry official said.

The pilot and mechanics were making last-minute checks on the aircraft before take-off when the accident happened at a military airport about 30 kilometres southwest of the Indonesian capital Jakarta, said transport ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan.

The spinning blades killed the two mechanics instantly while the pilot and another technician in the cockpit were injured, he said


Indonesian sect leader accused of indecency turns himself in

Jakarta, IndonesiaJakarta - A man who led an Islamic religious sect whose rituals include having group sex turned himself in Thursday, police in Jakarta said.

Police launched an investigation after a woman complained that she was sexually assaulted in a religious ritual led by Agus Noro, who claims to be a messiah and God incarnate.

Agus surrendered to police and would be charged with sexual indecency, said Jakarta police spokesman Zulkarnaen, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name.


Former Bank Indonesia top officials on trial in major graft case

Former Bank Indonesia top officials on trial in major graft caseJakarta - Four former deputy governors of Bank Indonesia, including an in-law of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, went on trial on Friday for their alleged role in a multi-million-dollar embezzlement case that has embroiled the central bank.

Prosecutors accused the four defendants - Aulia Pohan, Bunbunan Hutapea, Maman Sumantri and Aslim Tadjuddin - of misusing 100 billion rupiah (8.8 million dollars) from a foundation run by Bank Indonesia in 2003.


Indonesia to deport Rohingya boat people from Myanmar, Bangladesh

Jakarta, IndonesiaJakarta - Indonesia said Friday that it would deport 193 Rohingya boat people but was seeking assurances from Myanmar and Bangladesh that they would not be harmed when returned.

The Muslim Rohingyas, who were rescued January 7 from the sea off Aceh province, have pleaded to the Indonesian government not to send them back, saying they faced persecution in Myanmar.


Landslide kills six in Indonesia

Landslide kills six in IndonesiaJakarta - A landslide triggered by heavy rain killed 6 people and injured another in Indonesia's Central Java province, an official said Saturday.

The victims were in their homes in Karanganyar district when they were buried by a torrent of mud on Friday night, said Rustam Pakaya, the head of the Health Ministry's crisis center.

Another person was hospitalized with serious injuries, he said. (dpa)


Flash floods, landslides, waves kill 18 in Indonesia

Flash floods, landslides, waves kill 18 in Indonesia Jakarta  - Landslides, flash floods and high waves have killed at least 18 people on Indonesia's Java and Sulawesi islands, officials and media reports said Monday.

The flash floods, triggered by incessant rains, caused the Bengawan Solo River to burst its banks, submerging thousands of homes Monday in the East Java district of Bojonegoro.

The floodwaters inundated homes in dozens of villages over the weekend in the upper regions of the river in central Java's Solo regency and nearby areas.


Indonesia's inflation falls 0.07 per cent in January

Indonesia's inflation falls 0.07 per cent in January Jakarta - Indonesia's consumer price index in January fell 0.07 per cent against the previous month, driven by declining costs in several key sectors, the government announced Monday.

Ali Rosidi, deputy chairman of the Central Bureau of Statistics, said the January deflation was due to price declines in the group transport, communications, housing, electricity and financial services.

Indonesia's export value reached 8.7 billion dollars in December, down 9.6 per cent from November, bringing the yearly total to 136.8 billion dollars.


Indonesian Navy rescues 198 Myanmar boat people

Indonesian Navy rescues 198 Myanmar boat people Jakarta - The Indonesian Navy on Tuesday rescued 198 boat people from Myanmar drifting off the coast of the north-western province of Aceh, an official said.

They were the second batch of boat people belonging to Myanmar's Rohingya ethnic minority to be picked up off Indonesia after 193 people were rescued early last month off Sabang island on the northern tip of Aceh.

The rescues came as the Rohingya flee impoverished, military-run Myanmar and Thailand has been accused of mistreating the migrants and casting them adrift at sea.


Indonesian council speaker dies in mob attack

Jakarta, IndonesiaJakarta- The speaker of an Indonesian provincial council died Tuesday after protestors carrying a mock coffin stormed into his office and attacked him, a report said.

Abdul Aziz Angkat, speaker of the North Sumatran provincial council, was meeting with other councillors when hundreds of protestors stormed the plenary room and beat him, the state Antara news agency said.

Angkat was rushed to a hospital but died of a heart attack, Antara said.

Police arrested six protestors after the attack.


Key Indonesian interest rate cut by half a percentage point

Key Indonesian interest rate cut by half a percentage pointJakarta - Indonesia's central bank on Wednesday lowered its benchmark interest rate half a percentage point, its third-straight monthly cut, to support growth amid the global economic downturn.

Bank Indonesia Governor Boediono said the key overnight lending rate was cut to 8.25 per cent from 8.75 per cent.


Indonesian teen killed in firecracker explosion in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur  - A Indonesian teenager was killed instantly when a modified firecracker exploded and hit him on the head in Malaysia's eastern state of Sarawak, a news report said Wednesday.

The 19-year-old victim was believed to have placed a firecracker inside a metal pipe with the hope of launching the explosive when the accident occurred, said Miri district police chief Jamaluddin Ibrahim.

"We believe that he was checking the firecracker after it failed to launch, when it suddenly blew out from the pipe and hit him straight on the head," Jamaluddin told the official Bernama news agency.


Injuries support Rohingya claims of Thai police abuse, doctor says

Bangkok, ThailandJakarta - Scars and welts suffered by Myanmar's Rohingya boat people rescued by the Indonesian Navy after drifting in the sea for three weeks were consistent with their claims that they had been mistreated by Thai authorities, an Indonesian doctor said Wednesday.

At least 198 refugees belonging to Myanmar's Rohingya ethnic minority who claimed they were fleeing persecution in their military-ruled country were rescued by the Indonesian navy off the coast of westernmost Aceh province early Tuesday.


Singapore housewife gets 10 months in jail for scalding maid

Singapore - A Singapore housewife was sentenced to 10 months in jail for scalding her maid and sending her home to Indonesia without medical attention, media reports said Thursday.

A district judge found the accused, a 40-year-old mother of three, guilty of pouring hot water onto the back of her maid.

According to the public prosecutor, the maid, now 26, suffered second-degree burns to her neck, back and left shoulder that left her body blistered.

The housewife was also accused of trying to cover up the May 15, 2006, incident, by sending her maid back to Indonesia, the Straits Times newspaper reported.


Indonesian divorce rates jump after decade of reforms

Jakarta - Women's emancipation and political differences have contributed to a sharp rise in divorce rates in Indonesia since democratic reforms were introduced more than 10 years ago after the fall of autocratic president Suharto, the Ministry of Religious Affairs said Thursday.

The divorce rate has increased steadily every year during the past decade and, during last year, 10 in 100 marriages ended in divorce, the ministry said in a news release posted on its website.

The ministry said 2 million couples get married every year in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.


Indonesia has gone cricket mad since the 1990s

Jakarta (Indonesia), Feb. 5 : Cricket has blossomed in Indonesia and administrators of the sport are now dreaming of an Indonesian cricket team emerging as a rival to Asian super powers India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Despite its proximity to cricket-mad Australia, the mainly Muslim country of 234 million people was a stranger to the sport until the early 1990s when a handful of eccentric expatriates started their own league.

The Daily Telegraph quoted Cricket Indonesia chairman Sachin Gopalan as saying:"It used to be only social games played by expatriates. But it has changed.''''


Indonesian Muslim militants sentenced to jail

Indonesia MapJakarta - An Indonesian district court on Monday sentenced three Muslim militants to up to nine years in prison after they were convicted of assisting and hiding leaders of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorist network.

The Central Jakarta District Court found Abu Husna, Agus Purwanto and Parmin guilty of violating the country's tough anti-terrorism laws, enacted just weeks after the October 2002 bombings of two nightspots on Bali island which killed at least 202 people, mostly foreign visitors.


Four die while queuing at child healer clinic

Four die while queuing at child healer clinic Jakarta  - Police in East Java province have closed a clinic run by a nine-year-old child believed to possess healing powers after four people died while queuing for treatment, an officer said Tuesday.

Two patients died on Monday while lining up with thousands of others at the house of Muhammad Ponari, who has been called "child witch doctor" by locals, in Jombang district, said police officer Muhammad Indra.

Two other patients died last week in a stampede, he said.


Thailand promises help for Rohingya boat people

Jakarta  - Thailand will work with the UN refugee agency and neighbouring countries to help Myanmar's Rohingya boat people, Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya said Wednesday.

The Thai military has been accused of mistreating migrants belonging to the Rohingya minority group, who said they were fleeing persecution in Myanmar, by towing more than 10 vessels out to sea and leaving the refugees in engineless boats without sufficient food and water.

Almost 400 of the Rohingya migrants were rescued by the Indonesian Navy off the coast of Aceh province in January and earlier this month.

The Rohingya told Indonesian officials they had been physically abused by Thai authorities before being abandoned at sea.


Indonesia failing to protect child domestic workers: rights group

Indonesia FlagJakarta - Many of Indonesia's child domestic workers toil up to 18 hours a day and face physical and sexual abuse while the government is doing very little to protect them, New York-based Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.

Hundreds of thousands of children under the age of 18 who work as domestic help are not considered formal workers in Indonesia and therefore are not entitled to a minimum wage, overtime pay, and a weekly day off and vacation, Human Rights Watch said in a statement.


Indonesian court clears Suharto's son in corruption suit

Jakarta - An Indonesian court on Wednesday threw out a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against a son of late president Suharto over a business deal involving a failed national car project.

The Finance Ministry had sought 4 trillion rupiah (340 million dollars) in damages from Hutomo Mandala Putra, better known as Tommy Suharto, and his companies.

PT Timor Putra Nasional, set up by Tommy Suharto to build a homegrown car, defaulted on its loans to national banks after the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

But in 2003, Timor's assets were sold to a little-known company called Vista Bella Pratama by the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency, which managed Timor's assets after the carmaker defaulted.


9 injured, buildings damaged in Indonesia earthquake

9 injured, buildings damaged in Indonesia earthquake Jakarta - Nine people were seriously injured and many buildings were damaged when an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale struck early Thursday off the northern tip of Indonesia's Sulawesi island, an official said.

A small island chain off Sulawesi near the Philippines was hit hardest, with houses and government buildings collapsing, said Sutiono, an official at the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency in Jakarta.

"According to the latest information, nine people were badly injured in Kabarua district," Sutiono told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.


37 injured, buildings damaged in Indonesia earthquake

37 injured, buildings damaged in Indonesia earthquake Jakarta  - At least 37 people were injured and many buildings damaged when an earthquake measuring magnitude 7.4 on the Richter scale struck early Thursday off the northern tip of Indonesia's Sulawesi island, an official said.

The quake hit Talaud Islands, a small archipelago off Sulawesi near the Philippines, and of the 37 people injured there, nine people were in serious condition, said Rustam Pakaya, head of the Health Ministry's crisis centre.


Malaysian states see hazy skies from Sumatran fires

Kuala Lumpur - Thick smoke blanketed several states in Malaysia Thursday after winds brought in choking haze caused by forest fires on Indonesia's neighbouring Sumatra island.

In the southern state of Malacca, visibility was 6 kilometres while visibility at the international airport in the northern state of Penang was recorded at 8 kilometres by midafternoon, with an air-pollutant index of less than 100, which qualifies for moderate air quality, the Meteorological Department said on its website.

A department spokesman said the haze was expected to continue until the end of the week, adding that residents were encouraged not to carry out open burning to help improve air quality.


Rebel turned politician killed in Indonesia's Aceh province

Indonesia MapJakarta - A politician and former separatist rebel was shot dead in Indonesia's Aceh province in the latest attack targeting former separatists, an official said Friday.

Taufik, who headed a district branch of the Aceh Party, was gunned down at his home Thursday, said Ibrahim Syamsuddin, a spokesman for the Aceh Transition Committee, an advocacy group for former separatist fighters in Aceh.

Taufik, whose wife is running in a regional election, was the third former rebel to have been killed in the past two weeks, Syamsuddin said.


Thousands of Indonesian maids in Hong Kong illegally underpaid

Thousands of Indonesian maids in Hong Kong illegally underpaidHong Kong - More than 10,000 Indonesian women working as live-in maids in Hong Kong are being illegally underpaid, with some receiving just half the legal salary, according to a survey Monday.

The survey of foreign domestic helpers found that 12 per cent of Indonesian maids in the city of 6.9 million are paid less than the government-set minimum wage of 460 US dollars a month.


Malaysia detains seven suspected Indonesian pirates in shootout

Jakarta, IndonesiaKuala Lumpur - Malaysian marine police detained seven suspected Indonesian pirates after a high-speed shootout Monday, a piracy watchdog group said.

The suspects, travelling in a speedboat and armed with pistols, machetes and hand grenades, were nabbed after a 30-minute chase, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) confirmed.

Marine police from Malaysia's southern region had waited in ambush for the suspects early Monday, following information and assistance from several shipping companies.


Indonesian Muslim group says Clinton not welcome

Hillary Rodham ClintonJakarta - About 100 Indonesian Muslims rallied outside the US embassy in Jakarta Monday to protest a planned visit this week by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The protestors from the conservative Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia waved placards denouncing Clinton as a "Zionist agent" in reference to Israel.

"Hillary, you're not welcome here," read a poster held by a woman wearing a white headscarf.


Malaysian employer discovers newborn in Indonesian maid's cupboard

Malaysian employer discovers newborn in Indonesian maid's cupboard Kuala Lumpur  - A Malaysian policewoman who kept hearing the sound of a crying baby made a shocking discovery when she found a five-day old baby stuffed in her Indonesian maid's cupboard drawer, news reports said Tuesday.

The woman, a senior police officer from the northern Perlis state, found the crying baby early Sunday but her maid initially denied the child was hers.

However, on Monday, the 22-year old Indonesian maid known only as Yanti, admitted to giving birth to the baby girl on Thursday in her toilet.


Flights diverted as haze blankets Indonesian province

Flights diverted as haze blankets Indonesian province Jakarta  - Thick smoke caused by forest fires blanketing Indonesia's Riau province on Sumatra island forced the brief closure of the local airport on Tuesday, an official said.

Five flights were diverted to airports in neighboring provinces after the haze reduced visibility to below 1 kilometre on Tuesday morning, said Dedi Suryana, chief of the Sultan Syarif Kasim airport in Pekanbaru, the provincial capital.

"There were some delays in departures and arrivals but we have reopened now," he said.


Car plunge kills nine in Indonesia

Car plunge kills nine in IndonesiaJakarta  - Nine people, including eight nuns, were killed when the car they were travelling in plunged into a ravine in Indonesia's South Sumatra province, hospital staff said Thursday.

Another nun was critically injured in the accident Wednesday, said Ani Mariani, an official at the Caritas hospital in the provincial capital, Palembang, where the nuns worked.

The nuns were on their way to pay homage to a deceased relative, she said.

Local media reported that a slippery road and lack of guard rails were to blame for the tragedy, which also killed the driver of the minivan. (dpa)


Thai premier visits Indonesia with Rohingyas on agenda

Thai premier visits Indonesia with Rohingyas on agenda Bangkok  - Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva departed Bangkok for Jakarta Friday for a two-day official visit that will include talks on the Myanmar-Muslim Rohingya boat people.

The Thai military has been criticized for pushing back about 1,000 Rohingya refugees from Thailand's southern shores in December, dragging them out to sea in boats without engines or sufficient food and water.

Some of the boat people were rescued by the Indonesian Navy off the coast of Aceh.


Thailand, Indonesia agree on regional Rohingya solution

Abhisit VejjajivaJakarta - Indonesia and Thailand agreed Friday that the issue of the Myanmar Rohingya boat people should be tackled together by countries in the region, Visiting Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said.

The Thai military has been criticized for pushing back about 1,000 Rohingya refugees from Thailand's southern shores last December, leaving them at sea in boats without engines and insufficient food and water.


Two killed in fresh tiger attack on Indonesia's Sumatra

Two killed in fresh tiger attack on Indonesia's Sumatra Jakarta - A tiger mauled two people to death on Indonesia's Sumatra island, bringing to six the number of humans in the area killed by the endangered beasts since last month, an official said Monday.

The two people were attacked on Saturday while working in an illegal logging camp in a forest in Jambi province, said the head of the provincial Natural Conservation Office, Didy Wurjanto.

Didy said six people had been killed and three others injured by Sumatran tigers since late January.


Bali authorities defend dog culls to contain rabies

IndonesiaBali Island, Indonesia - Authorities on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on Monday denied allegations by activists that the campaign to kill stray dogs to contain a rabies outbreak was violating animal rights.

Ida Bagus Alit, the head of Bali's animal husbandry department, said only stray and wild dogs that posed threats to people were being killed.

"There has been criticism from animal rights activists that we are killing dogs indiscriminately," Ida said. "This is not true."

Authorities in Denpasar, the island's capital, launched a drive February 9 to kill stray dogs to contain rabies.


Study finds human role in Indonesian forest fires

Indonesia executes three Bali bombersLondon, Feb 23 : A new study has revealed that severe fires in Indonesia, responsible for some of the worst air quality conditions worldwide, are not only associated with drought, but also with changes in land use and population density.

"During the late 1970s, Indonesian Borneo changed from being highly fire-resistant to highly fire-prone during drought years, marking the period when one of the world''s great tropical forests became one of the world''s largest sources of pollution," said Robert Field of at University of Toronto.


General Kapoor on a four-day goodwill visit to Indonesia

Deepak KapoorNew Delhi, Feb 24 : To enhance growing defence cooperation between India and Indonesia, Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor is on a four day goodwill visit to that country from today.

During his visit, General Kapoor will interact with Indonesia's defence and army officials and visit their important training establishments.

The visit assumes special significance in the light of enhanced defence cooperation in consonance with India's "Look East Policy" and growing relationship with ASEAN.


WWF urges action after tiger kills six in Indonesia

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) LogoJakarta - Indonesia must crack down on forest clearing after tigers killed six people in less than a month on Sumatra island, the global conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said on Wednesday.

Three people were mauled to death by Sumatran tigers over the weekend, bringing to six the number of people to have been killed in Jambi province by the endangered beasts since late January, officials said.


Islamic council's fatwas divide Indonesia

Islamic council's fatwas divide IndonesiaJakarta  - A series of religious edicts issued by Indonesia's council of Muslim scholars has triggered controversy, exposing sharp divisions between conservatives and liberals in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

In January, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) issued a fatwa, or religious edict, banning Muslims from practising yoga that includes Hindu rituals, such as chanting.

It also ruled smoking in public and abstaining from electoral voting are sinful.


GMR Infra Buys 100 % Stake in Indonesian Coal Mine

GMR Infra Buys 100 % Stake in Indonesian Coal MineGMR Infrastructure Ltd announced on Wednesday that its unit GMR Energy, through its subsidiaries, has bought Indonesia's PT Barasentosa Lestari.

In a disclosure to the Bombay Stock Exchange, the group said that said it has acquired 100 per cent stake in Indonesia-based PT Barasentosa Lestari through its wholly-owned subsidiary, GMR Energy, for an undisclosed amount.

It further added that the Indonesian firm holds a license providing a 30-year mining authorization over two coal blocks in the country.


Australian gets eight years for child sex in Indonesia's Bali

Australian gets eight years for child sex in Indonesia's Bali Bali, Indonesia - A court in Indonesia's resort island of Bali on Thursday sentenced an Australian man to eight years in prison for having sex with boys.

The court in Buleleng district found Philip Robert Grandfield, 62, guilty of having sexual contact with five boys aged between 15 and 17 last year.

Grandfield said he was relieved by the verdict but nevertheless would appeal.

"I thought I might be sentenced to death," he said.


Singapore court confirms life sentence for Indonesian maid

Singapore court Singapore - The Singapore High Court confirmed on Thursday a life imprisonment for an Indonesian maid who killed her employer's 75-year-old mother in 2005, media reports said.

The maid, who was identified as Barokah, 29, pushed Wee Keng Wah from their ninth-floor flat after the elderly woman scolded her for sneaking out to meet a man. In 2007, the maid was sentenced to life imprisonment and appealed.

However, a re-hearing into the case did not change the judge's mind, the online edition of the Straits Times newspaper reported. The second hearing was ordered to evaluate if the life sentence was appropriate.


Indonesian maid accused of violently attacking Malaysian boss

Kuala Lumpur  - A Malaysian woman suffered a fractured skull and ribs, and had to have nearly 100 stitches, claiming she was attacked by her Indonesian maid, news reports said Saturday.

Phang Kian Huang, 42, claimed that her maid had entered her room early Thursday while she was asleep and began attacking her with a wooden stool.

"She left and came back with a knife and started slashing. I pretended to lose consciousness," Phang was quoted as saying by the Star daily.

Phang, whose left ear was almost severed in the attack, alleged that the maid then returned a third time and threw a stone mortar at her, fracturing her skull and several ribs.


Malaysian Govt. to decide on use of word the ''Allah'': PAS

Kota Baru, Mar 2 : Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) spiritual adviser Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has said the use of the word ''Allah'' by non-Muslims is allowed, but added that the Malaysian Government would decide the scope of where the word could be used.

"I don''t want to interfere in this matter. Let the Federal Government decide," The Star quoted said Nik Aziz as saying.

Meanwhile, the Minister in the Prime Minister''s Department, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the Government''s decision to ban the use of word ''Allah'' was not only limited to the Herald but to all non-Muslim publications.


Fifth World Islamic Economic Forum opens in Indonesia

Jakarta - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Monday called on Muslims and non-Muslims to join hands in overcoming the economic crisis by taking the right policy measures and showing unyielding determination.

"The crises will not go away by themselves. We must come to grips with them, overcome them and make sure their history is never more repeated," he said in his opening remarks at the fifth World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in Jakarta.

"The only way to do that is for all of us in the human race - Muslims and non-Muslims - to work closely together as we have never done before."


Two killed in tiger attack on Indonesia's Sumatra island

Two killed in tiger attack on Indonesia's Sumatra island Jakarta  - A tiger mauled two people to death in Jambi on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, bringing to eight the number of humans killed by the endangered beasts in the province this year, an official said Tuesday.

The two victims, identified as Musmuliadi, 31, and Musliadi, 30, were attacked on Sunday night while working in an illegal logging camp in a forest in Jambi province, said the head of the provincial Natural Conservation Office, Didy Wurjanto.


Bird flu kills four this year in Indonesia, death toll 119

bird-fluJakarta - Four Indonesians have died of bird flu this year, bringing the national death toll from the disease to 119, an official said Tuesday.

Three of the victims were from West Java province while the other lived in East Java, said the official, who declined to be identified because the person was not authorized to speak to the media.

The official declined to give further details.

Indonesia has the highest death toll in the world from bird flu.

Since last year Indonesia has stopped announcing bird flu deaths on a case-by-case basis and instead reported them every few months.


Islamic economic forum urges reduction of trade barriers

Islamic economic forum urges reduction of trade barriersJakarta  - An international Islamic economic conference ended Wednesday with calls for the reduction of trade barriers, development of alternative energy sources and stricter regulations in the global financial industry.

The three-day World Islamic Economic Forum in Jakarta, attended by 1,500 delegates from 38 countries, discussed ways to deal with the global financial crisis and food security, as well as exploring possibilities for non-carbon fuels.


Wild elephants kill elderly man on Indonesia's Sumatra island

Wild elephants kill elderly man on Indonesia's Sumatra island Jakarta - A herd of wild elephants went on a rampage in Riau province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra Wednesday, trampling an elderly man to death and destroying property, state-run media reported.

A herd of estimated 40 pachyderms entered Balai Makam village in Bengkalis district at dawn, forcing the residents to flee in panic.

The official Antara news agency quoted a local community leader as saying that one wild elephant trampled an


BEML Signs Strategic Deal With Indonesian Company

BEML Signs Strategic Deal With Indonesian Company    State run Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) said that it has signed up a strategic deal with Indonesia based Sumber Mitra Jaya.

The top mining and construction equipment manufacturing company signed the deal to bid for forthcoming contract mining business.

The consortium approach consists of agreement for investments in contract mining in which BEML will make 30% investment, while the remaining 70% will be made by the Indonesian company.


Video surveillance for rare Javan rhinos

Video surveillance for rare Javan rhinosJakarta - Thirty-four video cameras have been installed at an Indonesian national park to track every move of Java rhinos, the world's most endangered large mammal, the global conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said Thursday.

The cameras installed at the Ujung Kulon National Park on the western tip of Java island are intended to find out more about the animal and help to prevent the species from going extinct, the WWF said.

There are fewer than 60 Javan rhinos in the world and Ujung Kulon is home to 50 of them, the group said.


Indonesian students demand closing of Buddha Bar

Indonesian students demand closing of Buddha Bar Jakarta - About 100 Indonesian Buddhist students rallied outside the Buddha Bar on Thursday, demanding it be closed for what they see as the sacrilegious use of the name.

The protestors burned incense and symbolically sealed the bar in central Jakarta with a yellow line.

The students gave the Jakarta administration a week to close the bar, a hip Paris-based franchise of restaurants, and threatened to stage larger protests if their demand was not met.


Five Australians freed in Indonesia's Papua

Jakarta - Five Australians jailed for immigration offenses after landing a small plane in Indonesia's eastern-most province of Papua have been acquitted on appeal, their lawyer said Tuesday.

In January, a court in Merauke district sentenced the Australians to two and three years in prison respectively after convicting them of landing a plane illegally and entering Indonesia without visas in September.

"The appeals court accepted our argument that our clients obtained permission to land," defence attorney Efrem Fangoihoy said.

Fangoihoy said his clients could leave Indonesia as early as Wednesday.

They were released from prison and put under city arrest last week pending a decision on their appeals.


Police say rebels kill two civilians in Indonesia's Papua

Police say rebels kill two civilians in Indonesia's PapuaJakarta  - Separatist rebels on Tuesday shot and killed two motorcycle taxi drivers in Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua, police said.

The men were attacked while they were carrying two passengers in Puncak Jaya district, an area where rebels of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) have been active, said Papua police chief Bagus Eko Danto.

The passengers were injured in the shooting, which was the first fatal attack carried out by the rebel group this year, the police chief said.


Accused Indonesian serial killer publishes book

Accused Indonesian serial killer publishes book Jakarta - An Indonesian man on trial for allegedly killing 11 people in a case that has captivated the country has published a book about his life, his attorney said Wednesday.

Kasman Sangaji - attorney for Verry Idham Henyansyah, better known as Ryan - said 20 copies of his client's book have been printed and the publisher had agreed to print 5,000 more soon.


Terrorism expert: Books by Bali bombers on sale despite crackdown

Jakarta - Indonesia tried to stop books written by three executed Bali bombers from being published but they made it to print in limited copies, a terrorism expert said Wednesday.

Amrozi bin Nurhasyim, Imam Samudra and Ali Ghufran, also known as Mukhlas, wrote the books called The Martyrs Trilogy in prison while they were awaiting execution for the October 2002 bombings.

Sidney Jones, adviser to the International Crisis Group think tank, said there was competition among radical publishing houses for their works before their executions last year.


Indonesian Job losses hit 230,000

Indonesian Job losses hit 230,000Jakarta - More than 230,000 Indonesians lost their jobs between October and March as the world's fourth-most-populous nation was battered by the global economic downturn, media reports said Thursday.

Most of the lay-offs were recorded in the textile, garment, automotive, shoe-making, and paper industries, according to Sofyan Wanandi, chairman of the Indonesian Employers' Association (Apindo).

Thousands of job losses were also recorded at palm oil plantations and in construction projects.


Horse bites off man's testicle in Indonesia

Jakarta - An Indonesian man had to undergo surgery after a horse bit off one of his testicles, news reports said Thursday.

The 35-year-old man was unloading sand from a horse-drawn cart at a construction site in Gorontalo province Tuesday when the horse attacked him and bit his crotch, the state Antara news agency said.

A bystander found a piece of the man's testicle after the victim was taken to a hospital and later gave it to the doctor in charge of the operation.

Budi, the owner of the horse, said his animal often turned wild when it felt threatened.

"He even attacks chickens if they disturb him when he was eating. That's why I and my family are always careful whenever we are near him," he said. (dpa)


Chiefs of Indonesia's largest parties meet

Chiefs of Indonesia's largest parties meet Jakarta - The leaders of Indonesia's two largest political parties met Thursday to discuss a possible alliance ahead of this year's presidential elections.

The meeting between Vice President Jusuf Kalla and former president Megawati Sukarnoputri could pave the way for a coalition that could threaten reelection chances of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Megawati, who chairs the Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), has been nominated to run in the July presidential election and is seeking a running mate that could boost her electability.


Myanmar premier to visit Indonesia, Singapore "soon"

Myanmar premier to visit Indonesia, Singapore "soon" Yangon  - Myanmar's prime minister, General Thein Sein, is to visit Indonesia and Singapore shortly in response to invitations from the leaders of the two South-East Asian countries, state media reported Friday.


Rebels kill army soldier in Indonesia's Papua

Rebels kill army soldier in Indonesia's Papua Jakarta  - Separatist rebels killed an army soldier and set a bridge on fire in Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua, media reports said Sunday.

Army Private Saiful was shot in the head Saturday when rebels of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) attacked security posts in Tigginambut of Puncak Jaya district, district police chief Chris Rihulay said.

It was the latest in a series of attacks by separatists in Papua province in recent days.


Indonesian kicks off nationwide election campaign

Indonesian kicks off nationwide election campaignJakarta  - Leaders of Indonesia's political parties on Monday kicked off their nationwide campaigns for the April 9 parliamentary elections, to be followed by presidential elections in July.

Electoral authorities have registered 38 parties to contest 128 seats in the upper house and 560 seats in the lower house.

In Jakarta, representatives of dozens of parties gathered at an exhibition hall to sign a joint declaration for a peaceful campaign.


Indonesian terrorist pens ‘jihad’ preaching tome

Jakarta, Mar. 16: The Australian embassy attacker, Rois Abu Syaukat a. k. a Iman Darmawan has scripted a book that preaches ‘jihad’.

Syaukat, in his 224 page book named What is Jihad? has claimed that the attack was warranted because it targeted ‘non-believers’. The Sun reports.

He provided the logistics for the September 2004 bombing, in which nine Indonesians were killed.

Syaukat is currently serving a death sentence.

This is not the first instance when any militant has published book justifying their deeds.

Earlier, the three Bali bombers Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra also came out with similar publication known as the ‘martyr trilogy’.


Indonesia, Myanmar in talks on Rohingya boat people

Indonesia, Myanmar in talks on Rohingya boat people Jakarta - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday met Myanmar Prime Minister General Thein Sein for talks on various issues, including the issue of the so-called Rohingya boat people, officials said.

Thein Sein was quoted as saying that his country had prepared to receive the Rohingya boat people on condition that they can prove they were Myanmarese, because some of them came from Bangladesh.


Strong earthquake strikes islands off eastern Indonesia

Strong earthquake strikes islands off eastern Indonesia Jakarta - An earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale struck Monday evening off the northern tip of Indonesia's Sulawesi island, but there were no immediate reports of injury and damage, officials said.

The quake at a depth of 35 kilometres near the Talaud islands between Sulawesi and the southern Philippines occurred at 9:16 pm (1416 GMT), the Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said.


Indonesian cleric arrested over underage marriage

Indonesian cleric arrested over underage marriage Jakarta  - Police arrested a Muslim cleric in Indonesia's Central Java province for marrying a 12-year-old girl in violation of the country's child-protection law, an officer said Wednesday.

Pujiono Cahyo Widianto, 43, revealed in August that he had taken a 12-year-old girl as a second wife in a traditional Islamic wedding ceremony, sparking criticism from child-protection groups.

Police in Semarang, the capital of Central Java, said they had charged Pujiono with sexual exploitation of a child.


Rights groups say child sex abuse rampant in tourism industry

Rights groups say child sex abuse rampant in tourism industry Bali, Indonesia - Sexual exploitation of children in the tourism industry is rampant in Southeast Asia despite efforts to curb the crime, child-protection groups said on Wednesday.

In Indonesia, child sex tourism is a major problem on the resort islands of Bali and Batam, said Irwanto, chairman of the National Coalition against Sexual Exploitation of Children.


Greenpeace says activists beaten during protest rally

Greenpeace says activists beaten during protest rally Jakarta  - Activists of the environmental pressure group Greenpeace were beaten by security guards while protesting against environmental destruction outside the headquarters of one of Indonesia's largest palm oil companies Thursday, the group said.

Greenpeace accused the Sinar Mas Group, whose businesses include pulp, paper and palm oil, of destroying Indonesia's forests with impunity through its operations on Sumatra Island, the Indonesian part of Borneo and Papua.


Indonesia-Singapore defence, extradition pacts shelved

Indonesia-Singapore defence, extradition pacts shelved Jakarta  - Indonesia's defence minister accused Singapore of obstructing an extradition treaty because it fears it would have to hand over businessmen who sought refuge in the city-state with huge amounts of illegally gotten money, a news report said Friday.

Juwono Sudarsono also said a defence cooperation agreement with Singapore, negotiated simultaneously with the extradition pact, appeared to have collapsed as well, according to The Jakarta Post.

"They [the agreements] are frozen," Juwono told the Post.


Exiled Papuan rebel offers olive branch to Indonesia

Exiled Papuan rebel offers olive branch to Indonesia Jakarta - An exiled separatist leader seeking independence for Indonesia's easternmost Papua region called Friday for a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Nicholas Jouwe, 85, the Dutch-based co-founder of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), returned to Indonesia Wednesday for the first time after more than 40 years in exile.

He met with government officials in Jakarta in a move that could pave the way for a peace pact to end the insurgency.


South-East Asia urged to crack down on child sex tourism

South-East Asia urged to crack down on child sex tourism Bali Island, Indonesia - South-East Asian nations must take stronger measures to curb sexual exploitation of children in the tourism industry, delegates at an international conference on child sex tourism said Friday.

A statement issued at the end of the conference on Indonesia's resort island of Bali warned that the current global financial crisis would increase children's vulnerability to child sex tourism.


Indonesian plane makes emergency landing

Indonesian plane makes emergency landingJakarta - An Indonesian airplane with 112 people on board made an emergency landing at Batam airport, just south of Singapore, on Monday due to an engine problems, officials and passengers said.

A Boeing 737-200 jetliner belonging to Sriwijaya Airlines, one of the Indonesian private carrier, was bound for Jakarta from Tanjungpinang airport of Bintan island, airport and company official said.

An airline official said the plane with 122 passengers and crew onboard managed to land safely at Batam island, just south of Singapore, and no one was injured.


Aceh deputy governor: Killings not political

Banda Aceh, Indonesia - Recent killings of former rebels-turned-politicians in Indonesia's Aceh province were not politically motivated, the province's deputy governor said Tuesday.

Four members of the Aceh Party, the political wing of the former separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM), have been killed in the past two months by unknown assailants, sparking fears of further violence ahead of the April 9 general elections.

The Aceh Party is one of six local parties allowed to contest for provincial legislative seats under a 2005 peace pact between the government and GAM, which ended decades of conflict in the province.


Bali airport, seaports to shut down for Day of Silence

Bali airport, seaports to shut down for Day of Silence Bali Island, Indonesia - Government authorities on Bali ordered the island's airport and all seaports closed Thursday and told visitors not to try to enter the resort island when local residents are observing their Lunar New Year, also known as the Day of Silence.

"Both domestic and foreign tourists who want to go to Bali on Thursday are advised to change their schedule because it will be a day of absolute silence without lights, work, traffic, etc," I Putu Suardhika, Bali's provincial administration spokesman, said Tuesday.


Prosecutors seek prison terms for five suspected terrorists

Prosecutors seek prison terms for five suspected terrorists Jakarta - Government prosecutors on Tuesday demanded prison term ranging from seven years to 15 years for five suspected Islamic militants on trial for allegedly plotting to bomb a cafe and kill a Christian priest.

Prosecutors told the South Jakarta court that the defendants were guilty of violating the country's tough anti-terrorism laws, enacted just weeks after the October 2002 bombings of two nightspots on the resort island of Bali that killed at least 202 people.


Indonesia releases Dutch journalist, keeps three others detained

JIndonesia releases Dutch journalist, keeps three others detainedakarta - Indonesian authorities in Papua province released one of four Dutch journalists detained for allegedly violating immigration laws, an immigration official said Wednesday.

Elske Schouten, the NRC Handelsblad newspaper's Jakarta correspondent, was released overnight but the three others were still not allowed to leave the province, said Raden Hendiartono, the head of the Jayapura immigration office.


Indonesia's Bali marks New Year's Day of Silence

Indonesia's Bali marks New Year's Day of SilenceBali Island, Indonesia  - Residents and tourists on the popular Indonesian resort island of Bali on Thursday celebrated the annual Day of Silence, a Hindu New Year observance during which the island shuts down and people are banned from the streets.

The New Year, called Nyepi, is one of the most important religious events for Balinese Hindus, and this year, they welcomed the Saka New Year of 1931.


Dam burst kills 20 in Indonesia

Dam burst kills 20 in IndonesiaJakarta - At least 20 people were killed and many more injured after a dam broke near the Indonesian capital Jakarta Friday, officials said.

The Situ Gintung dam in Tangerang district, just outside the capital Jakarta, collapsed at about 2 am (1900 GMT Thursday), sending water crashing into a crowded residential area, said Rustam Pakaya, the head of the Health Ministry's crisis centre.

Hundreds of homes were submerged and many swept away, he said. "It was like a tsunami," Pakaya said.


Malaysian mother, daughter plead guilty to maid abuse in Singapore

Malaysian mother, daughter plead guilty to maid abuse in SingaporeSingapore - A Malaysian mother and daughter pleaded guilty Friday to maid abuse in Singapore as their trial was under way, a newspaper reported.

Housewife Loke Phooi Ling, 38, was charged with 32 counts and Teng Chen Lian, 67, with six counts of abusing their 23-year-old Indonesian maid from March to July 2007. They pleaded guilty after nine days of testimony in their trial in Singapore District Court, the Straits Times said.


2ND ROUNDUP: Dam burst kills 58 in Indonesia

Dam burst kills 58 in IndonesiaJakarta  - At least 58 people were killed and up to 72 were missing Friday after a dam burst, sending a wall of water crashing into the residential area near the Indonesian capital, officials said.

The Situ Gintung dam in the Tangerang district, 50 kilometres south of Jakarta, collapsed about 2 am (1900 GMT Thursday), sending water crashing into a crowded residential area, officials said.

Hundreds of homes were submerged and many swept away while trees were uprooted.


Authorities look for missing in Indonesia dam break as toll hits 67

Authorities look for missing in Indonesia dam break as toll hits 67 Jakarta  - The number of people killed after a dam broke near Jakarta rose to 67 Saturday as authorities searched for the missing, police and officials said.

Estimates for the number of missing ranged from 22 to 78 after the Situ Gintung dam in the Tangerang district, 50 kilometres south Indonesia's capital, collapsed early Friday, sending water crashing into a crowded residential area.


Dam break death toll hits 91, dozens missing

Dam break death toll hits 91, dozens missing Jakarta  - Rescue teams searched Sunday for more than 100 people listed missing after a dam burst on the outskirts of Jakarta as the death toll climbed to 91, officials said.

The National Disaster Coordinating Agency said up to 109 people were also injured after the Situ Gintung dam in the Tangerang district, just south of the capital, collapsed early Friday, unleashing a torrent of water that tore through a low-laying valley, inundating flimsy houses and surprising residents in their sleep with waves of mud and water.


Toll in Indonesian dam break hits 98 amid search for missing

Toll in Indonesian dam break hits 98 amid search for missing Jakarta  - Indonesian rescue teams intensified their search Monday for more than 100 people missing in a dam break on the outskirts of Jakarta as the death toll rose to 98, officials said.

The National Disaster Coordinating Agency said 11 of the 98 people confirmed dead were unable be identified while as many as 115 people remained unaccounted for. Up to 113 others were injured in the accident.


Two rare Sumatran elephants killed

Two rare Sumatran elephants killed Jakarta  - Two Sumatran elephants have been shot and killed in Indonesia's Bengkulu province, a conservation official said Tuesday.

The elephants were killed last week in the Kerinci Seblat National Park, said Dudy Wuryanto, head of the nature conservation agency in the neighbouring province of Jambi.

He said the motive for the killings was unclear.


Earthquakes jolt Indonesia, Papua New Guinea

Earthquakes jolt Indonesia, Papua New Guinea Jakarta  - An undersea earthquake registering 6.1 on the Richter scale struck the western coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra Wednesday, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, the Indonesian seismology agency said.

The quake struck at 1:29 pm (0629 GMT) and was centred in the Indian Ocean, 227 kilometres south-west of Bintuhan in Bengkulu province, Indonesia's National Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said.

It occurred 30 kilometres beneath the seabed, but the statement did not say if the quake was a tsunami threat.


Asian Development Bank expands trade finance to 1 billion dollars

Asian Development Bank expands trade finance to 1 billion dollars Manila - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Wednesday it has expanded its trade finance facilitation programme to 1 billion dollars to help ease a "dramatic reduction" in funding caused by the global financial crisis.

The Manila-based ADB said the programme's expansion could generate up to 15 billion dollars in much-needed trade support by the end of 2013.


Recovered Ganesha statue from 12th century one of its kind in Indonesia

Recovered Ganesha statue from 12th century one of its kind in Indonesia, April 2 : Archaeologists, in Indonesia, have recovered a rare 12th-century stone statue of Lord Ganesha, which is the only one in the country in which the elephant-headed deity is depicted as riding atop a mouse.

According to a report in the Jakarta Post, a research team from the Mpu Purwa Historical Object Preservation Center in Malang, East Java, recovered the statue.


Indonesian asylums prepared for depressed election losers

Indonesian asylums prepared for depressed election losers   Jakarta - Mental hospitals across Indonesia are prepared to treat politicians who may need psychiatric therapy after they lose next month's legislative elections, the Health Ministry said Thursday.

More than 600,000 candidates are vying for some 18,000 seats in national, provincial and district legislatures in the April 9 elections, the third democratic polls since the fall of former autocratic president Suharto in 1998.


Indonesian shares rise 2.6 per cent

Indonesian shares rise 2.6 per cent  Jakarta - Indonesian shares were up more than 2 per cent Thursday, sparked by increases on markets across Asia after a rally on Wall Street overnight.

The Jakarta Composite Index ended at 1,499.73, climbing 37.99 points or 2.6 per cent. (dpa)


Indonesia cuts interest rate for fifth month in a row

Indonesia cuts interest rate for fifth month in a row Jakarta  - Indonesia's central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 7.5 per cent Friday to stimulate growth amid the slowing global economy.

Bank Indonesia has reduced the rate by 175 basis points so far this year and has cut it for five-straight months.

"The global economy is still grappling with uncertainty even though there has been positive sentiment related to the G20 agreement to push for improvement in the global capital and financial markets," Bank Indonesia said in a statement.


Thousands rally in Indonesia's Papua for poll boycott

Thousands rally in Indonesia's Papua for poll boycott Jayapura, Indonesia - Thousands of independence supporters rallied in Indonesia's Papua region Friday to call for a boycott of next week's national legislative elections, activists said.

The protestors gathered in the Papuan provincial capital, Jayapura, and three other districts - Nabire, Wamena and Biak - to demand a referendum on self-determination for the easternmost province.

Activists said the rallies coincided with the launch of a pressure group called International Lawyers for Papua in the United States.


Earthquake shakes islands of eastern Indonesia

Earthquake shakes islands of eastern IndonesiaJakarta  - An undersea earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale struck Saturday afternoon off the northern tip of Indonesia's Sulawesi island, but there were no immediate reports of injury and damage, meteorologists said.

The quake at a depth of 10 kilometres near the Talaud islands between Sulawesi and the southern Philippines occurred at 12:31 pm (0531 GMT), the Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said.

A powerful 7.4-magnitude quake jolted the same area on February 12, injuring dozens of people and damaging hundreds of buildings. (dpa)


Indonesia ends nationwide election campaign

Indonesia MapJakarta- Indonesia's dozens of political parties ended Sunday their nationwide campaigns for the April 9 parliamentary elections, to be followed by presidential elections in July.

More than 171 million voters are eligible to elect some 18,000 national, provincial and district legislators across the country as well as the regional representatives council.


Indonesian man crushed to death doing community work in Malaysia

Malaysia Kuala Lumpur - An Indonesian man was crushed to death when an 8-metre-long slab of concrete fell on him during a community clean-up in Malaysia's central state of Selangor, news reports said Monday.

Shuhaidi Suardi Jawari, 47, was helping to clear rubble on a piece of land that was to be turned into a parking lot in his community, city police chief Arjunaidi Mohamed said.

The slab fell on him suddenly, severely injuring him in Sunday's incident, the New Straits Times daily reported.

The victim died before reaching a nearby hospital, it said. (dpa)


Yudhoyono tipped to win, but recession Achilles' heel

Yudhoyono tipped to win, but recession Achilles' heel Jakarta  - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono looks poised for re-election this year in the absence of a credible challenger, but his popularity could wane as Indonesians begin to feel the effects of the global financial crisis, analysts said.

Opinion polls show Yudhoyono is a hands-on favourite in the July 8 presidential election, be the second time for a president to be directly elected by the people, with about 50 per cent of the vote.


Aceh rebels trade bullets for ballots

Aceh rebels trade bullets for ballotsBanda Aceh, Indonesia  - Just four years ago, Yahya Muad and his comrades were hiding in the jungle while fighting a guerrilla war against the Indonesian army for an independent Aceh.

Now, sitting in a literally smoke-filled room in the headquarters of the Aceh Party, of which he is secretary general, he talks about democracy and peace under "a united Indonesia."


Indonesian air force plane crash in West Java capital

Indonesian air force plane crash in West Java capital Jakarta  - An airplane belonging to the Indonesian Air Force crashed Monday afternoon in West Java capital of Bandung, claiming some lives, news reports and officials said.

The Fokker airplane crashed at about 12:30 pm (0530 GMT) at Bandung's Hussein Sastranegara airport, reported detik. com online news portal.

An official at Bandung's Hassan Sadikin hospital said that an ambulance carrying eight body bags had been sent to the airport, but she was not sure how many people have been killed in the accident.


Indonesian pilot sentenced to two years for deadly crash

Indonesian pilot sentenced to two years for deadly crash Jakarta  - An Indonesian court on Monday sentenced to two years in prison the pilot of a Garuda Indonesia jetliner that crash-landed at Central Java's Yogyakarta airport two years ago, killing 21 people.

The majority of a panel of five judges at Central Java's Sleman District Court found Marwoto Komar guilty of negligence that caused deaths, the state-run Antara news agency reported.


Japan, Indonesia agree to double currency swap amount

Japan, Indonesia agree to double currency swap amount Tokyo  - Japan and Indonesia signed an agreement on bilateral currency swap to increase the amount from 6 billion dollars to 12 billion dollars under an initiative to stabilize the financial state of the South-east Asian region, Japanese Finance Ministry said Monday.

Under the agreement, Indonesia would be able to swap rupiah worth up to 12 billion dollars when short-term liquidity support is needed.


Indonesian serial killer gets death sentence

Indonesian serial killer gets death sentence Jakarta - An Indonesian man who confessed to murdering 11 people was sentenced to death on Monday.

The court in West Java's Depok district, just south of Jakarta, found Verry Idham Hermansyah, better known as Ryan, guilty of murdering Hery Santoso, who was stabbed and bludgeoned to death before being dismembered.

The man was believed to be Ryan's last murder victim.

Santoso's body parts were discovered by the Jakarta city police in a bag at a roadside the southern Jakarta on July 11, 2008.


Three Indonesian militants jailed for 12 years

Three Indonesian militants jailed for 12 years Jakarta - An Indonesian court on Tuesday sentenced three Islamic militants to 12 years each for plotting terrorist attacks and killing a Christian teacher.

The three men - Sugianto, Adityawarman and Heri Purwanto - were among 10 people arrested in the South Sumatran provincial capital Palembang last year for alleged involvement in a plot to bomb a cafe and to kill Christian priests as part of a jihad campaign waged by the Jemaah Islamiyah regional militant group.


In Indonesia's Aceh, some discontent over Islamic law

In Indonesia's Aceh, some discontent over Islamic lawBanda Aceh  - In Indonesia's Aceh province, stories about young unmarried couples arrested by religious patrol officers make frequent headlines in local newspapers with tabloids exposing details of the offenders' sexual trysts.

Staunchly Muslim Aceh has imposed some aspects of sharia, or Islamic law, since 2002 under an autonomy scheme granted by the central government as part of attempts to pacify a clamour there for independence.


Voting begins in Indonesia

Voting begins in IndonesiaJakarta/Jayapura  - Indonesians begin voting Thursday in parliamentary elections amid concerns of logistical problems and alleged widespread fraudulent voter lists.

Voting began at 7 am (2200 GMT Wednesday) in Indonesia's easternmost Papua province in the sprawling archipelago nation of more than 17,000 islands spanning three different time zones.


Light aircraft crashes in Indonesia's Papua

Light aircraft crashes in Indonesia's Papua Jakarta - A light airplane crashed Thursday morning in Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua, and all four of its crew members were feared killed, news reports and officials said.

The Avia Star aircraft was en route from the capital Jayapura to Wamena district, carrying cargo and four crew members. It crashed at about 7 am (2200 GMT Wednesday) on Pike Mountain, said Papua police chief Bagus Eko Danto.

Bagus told Elshinta private radio that so far two bodies had been founded and a search was underway for the other two. He said the plane broke into pieces.


Indonesia votes amid concerns over logistics, voter lists

Indonesia votes amid concerns over logistics, voter listsJakarta/Jayapura, Indonesia  - Indonesians went to the polls Thursday for parliamentary elections amid concerns of logistical problems and alleged widespread fraudulent voter lists.

Voting began at 7 am (2200 GMT Wednesday) in Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua in the sprawling archipelago nation of more than 17,000 islands spanning three time zones.

Hours before polls opened, violence hit Papua, home to a low-level separatist insurgency, leaving one person dead, Papuan police chief Bagus Eko Danto said.


New orangutan population discovered in Indonesia

New orangutan population discovered in IndonesiaLondon, April 13 : Conservationists have recently discovered a new population of orangutans in a remote area of Indonesia, giving a rare boost to one of the world’s most endangered great apes.

A team surveying mountainous forests in eastern Borneo counted 219 orangutan nests, indicating a “substantial” number of the animals, Erik Meijaard, of the US-based charity The Nature Conservancy, told the Guardian.

“We can’t say for sure how many,” he said, but even the most cautious estimate would indicate “several hundred at least, maybe 1,000 or 2,000 even”.


Indonesian party leaders intensify coalition talks

Indonesian party leaders intensify coalition talks Jakarta - Leaders of Indonesia's political parties Monday intensified talks to form alliances for the July presidential election July, as criticism over widespread irregularities in last week's parliamentary polls mounts. The Democratic Party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the big winner of Thursday's election, is expected to ink a coalition pact with other parties by this weekend.

Final election results are not expected until May, but first counts put the Democrats ahead with about 20 percent of the votes.


Indonesian man arrested for smuggling heroin

Indonesian man arrested for smuggling heroin Jakarta - Police arrested an Indonesian man Tuesday for trying to smuggle three kilograms of heroin estimated to be worth about 270,000 dollars into the country. The Indonesian citizen, identified only as W, was arrested by anti-narcotics police at the parking lot of Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International airport, after he arrived on an AirAsia flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Brigadier General Harry Montolalu, director of the national police's criminal investigation department, said the man successfully got through the airport's security checkpoints.


Opposition parties allege Indonesian elections rigged

Jakarta - Political parties led by the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle said Tuesday that last week's elections were rigged, calling the vote the "worst" since the fall of autocratic president Suharto in 1998. The Democratic Party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was leading in early vote counting after Thursday's parliamentary elections, and pollsters said the party would win about 20 per cent of the total votes.

Former presidents Megawati Sukarnoputri and Abdurrahman Wahid as well leaders of smaller political parties met at Megawati's house on Tuesday to forge a common stance on alleged election irregularities.


Countries meet in Bali to discuss people smuggling

Countries meet in Bali to discuss people smuggling Bali Island, Indonesia - Ministers and officials from 40 countries began a two-day meeting on the Indonesian resort island of Bali Tuesday to discuss people smuggling and the fate of migrants from Myanmar's Rohingya ethnic group. The meeting, co-hosted by Indonesia and Australia, will discuss Asia-Pacific solutions to people smuggling and trafficking and ways to improve border security.


Rebel ambush kills policeman in Indonesia's Papua

Rebel ambush kills policeman in Indonesia's Papua Jakarta - Separatist rebels ambushed a police truck in Indonesia's Papua province Wednesday, killing one officer and wounding five others, state media reported.

The officers were travelling in Jayawijaya district to pick up ballot boxes from last week's elections when they were attacked, Papua police chief Bagus Eko Danto said, according to the Antara news agency.

One officer died while being airlifted to the provincial capital Jayapura, Bagus said.


Earthquake jolts Indonesia's West Sumatra at magnitude 6.4

Earthquake jolts Indonesia's West Sumatra at magnitude 6.4 Jakarta  - An undersea earthquake registering 6.4 on the Richter scale struck the western coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra early Thursday, but there were no immediate reports of injury or damage, the Indonesian seismologist agency said.

The quake struck at 3:01 am (2001 GMT Wednesday) and was centred in the Indian Ocean, 32 kilometres south-west of Mentawai Islands, off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia's National Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said in a statement.


Indonesian maid puts menstrual blood in Hong Kong employer's meal

Indonesian maid puts menstrual blood in Hong Kong employer's meal Hong Kong  - An Indonesian maid was in a Hong Kong jail Thursday awaiting trial for mixing her menstrual blood in a pot of vegetables she was cooking for her employer.

Indra Ningsih, 26, allegedly told police afterwards she mixed the blood into the meal in a superstitious effort to make her Chinese employer "more amiable and less picky" towards her.


Indonesian court overturns own verdict against Time magazine

Indonesian court overturns own verdict against Time magazineJakarta - Indonesia's Supreme Court said Thursday that it had overturned its own verdict that awarded ex-dictator Suharto 1 trillion rupiah (93 million dollars) in damages in a lawsuit he brought against the US-based magazine Time.

A panel of three Supreme Court judges accepted that a Time story published in May 1999 that alleged Suharto had stashed billions of dollars abroad was not defamatory, the court said in a statement posted on its website.


Indonesian Muslims outraged as companies sell pork under beef’s label

Indonesian Muslims outraged as companies sell pork under beef’s labelJakarta, Apr. 17 : Muslims in Indonesia have been left outraged, following the discovery that Indonesia's popular dry-meat-product-selling companies were substituting beef with pork.

After conducting DNA tests on jerky samples from traditional markets in Java and Sumatra, Indonesia''s National Food and Drug Monitoring Agency BPOM found that five companies were deceiving Muslim sentiments by contaminating their products with pork.


Plane crashes in Indonesia's Papua with 11 aboard

Plane crashes in Indonesia's Papua with 11 aboardJakarta - A small plane crashed Friday in Indonesia's Papua province, but the fate of the 11 people on board was unknown, the state Antara news agency reported.

The plane was travelling from Ilaga to Mulia district when it crashed in a mountainous area, Antara said.

Among the nine passengers were officials of the local election commission and two children, the news agency said.

Police and officials could not be reached immediately for comment.


Indonesia arrests 70 Australia-bound Afghan migrants

Indonesia arrests 70 Australia-bound Afghan migrantsJakarta - Indonesian police have arrested 70 migrants from Afghanistan seeking asylum in Australia, a police officer said Friday.

The Afghans were arrested late Thursday at a hotel in the resort area of Anyer in West Java, said Retno Windarti, an officer in the Cilegon district.

"They said they wanted to go to Australia - Indonesia is only a transit point," she said, adding that they had been taken to the immigration office.


Indonesia to extradite suspected people smuggler to Australia

Kevin Rudd Sydney - An alleged people smuggler accused of ferrying more than 900 asylum seekers to Australia is to be extradited from Indonesia to face court in Australia, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Tuesday.

Hadi Ahmadi, a dual Iraqi-Iranian national, is believed to have arranged the dispatch of four boats to Australia in 2001.

"This action further demonstrates the absolute importance for cooperation between the Australian and Indonesian governments in dealing with the scourge of people smugglers," Rudd said.


Indonesian shares fall nearly 2 per cent

Indonesian shares fall nearly 2 per centJakarta  - Indonesian shares dropped almost 2 per cent Tuesday, in line with falls on markets across Asia, following a decline on Wall Street overnight.

The Jakarta Composite Index ended at 1,628.85, down 33 points or 1.99 per cent.(dpa)


Indonesian court jails four militants over murder, attack plots

Indonesian court jails four militants over murder, attack plotsJakarta - An Indonesian court on Tuesday sentenced four Islamic militants to between four and 12 years in jail over the murder of a Christian teacher and a plot to bomb a cafe.

Judges at the South Jakarta District Court sentenced Abdurrahman Taib and Ki Agus Muhammad Toni to 12 years in jail.

A separate bench jailed Anis Sugandi and Sukarso Abdillah for five and four years, respectively, for being accessories to acts of terrorism.


Australia captures another refugee boat

AustralianSydney - An Indonesian fishing boat carrying 32 male asylum seekers was intercepted Wednesday off Australia's west coast.

It was the seventh boat to arrive so far this year, the same number of boats that arrived in the whole of 2008.

The men were taken aboard HMAS Wollongong and are being transported to Australia's Indian Ocean territory of Christmas Island for processing.


Coalition talks collapse in Indonesia

Indonesian asylums prepared for depressed election losers   Jakarta - Coalition talks between Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party and the Golkar Party of Vice President Jusuf Kalla have collapsed, a Golkar official said Wednesday.

The Democrat Party was set to win the elections that took place April 9 with about 20 per cent of the vote while Golkar and the opposition Democratic Party of Struggle
(PDI-P) of former President Megawati Sukarnoputri were tied at around 14 per cent in early results.

An official final result of the vote count is not due until May 9.


Indonesia renames Buddha Bar after protests

Indonesia renames Buddha Bar after protestsJakarta  - The Indonesian outlet of the hip Paris-based Buddha Bar said Wednesday that it had changed its name after protests by Buddhists who complained that the name was sacrilegious.

The restaurant and lounge has been renamed Bataviasche Kunstkring after the Dutch-era building that houses it after a request from the Religious Affairs Ministry, manager Henry Marheroso said.

"There's been no change in concept or design because there's no regulation banning it," Marheroso said.


German man missing in Indonesia's Kalimantan province

German man missing in Indonesia's Kalimantan provinceJakarta  - A German traveller reportedly went missing when travelling from East Kalimantan province to West Kalimantan on the Indonesian part of Borneo island, a police official said Thursday.

Jason Clint Richard, born in Schwarzwald, reportedly left the East Kalimantan capital, Samarinda, in January, a West Kalimantan police spokesman said.

Brigadier Joko Marwoto said that according to a report from the Foreign Ministry, the man went missing when travelling on foot from Samarinda to Pontianak in West Kalimantan.


Indonesia's Golkar Party nominates chairman for presidential race

Indonesia's Golkar Party nominates chairman for presidential race Jakarta - Indonesia's Golkar Party on Wednesday named its chairman, Vice President Jusuf Kalla, as its presidential candidate, breaking away from the ruling coalition of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Golkar announced Tuesday that coalition talks with Yudhoyono's Democratic Party had collapsed because it did not agree with the terms.

Kalla has been asked to set up a team for his campaign for the July 8 presidential election and approach other parties to discuss a possible coalition, said a Golkar deputy chairman, Syamsul Muarif.


Nine dead, four missing in boat accident off Indonesia's Sumatra

Nine dead, four missing in boat accident off Indonesia's Sumatra Jakarta  - Nine people died and at least four others were missing and feared drowned after a ferry boat sank off Indonesia's Sumatra island, media reports said Sunday.

Survivors said the ship carrying around 60 people when it went down on Saturday afternoon in strong winds a kilometre off Dumai, Riau province, as it ferried guests to a wedding, detik. com online news portal reported.

Nine bodies and 43 survivors had been rescued Sunday morning.


Indonesia imposes ban on pork imports to contain swine flu

pork importsJakarta - Indonesia imposed an import ban on pork, in addition to increasing surveillance at all entry points for travelers with flu-like symptoms, to prevent the spread of swine flu, a cabinet minister said Monday. "The import of pork will be temporarily halted until a further progress concerning the swine flu, or until the condition was safe," said Aburizal Bakrie, the coordinating minister for people's welfare.


Wild elephants kill elderly woman in Sumatra

Wild elephants kill elderly woman in Sumatra Jakarta - Two wild elephants went on a rampage in Lampung province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, trampling an elderly resident to death, state-run media reported Monday.

The elephants entered the Belimbing Bengkurat village early Saturday, trampling 70-year-old Punirah, said Kurnia Rauf, head of the Bukit Barisan National Park.

Rauf was quoted as saying by the state-run Antara news agency that the wild elephants ran amok after they strayed from their herd and into the human settlement.


Indonesian court sentences Singaporean for murder, attack plots

Indonesian court sentences Singaporean for murder, attack plots Jakarta - An Indonesian court Tuesday sentenced a Singaporean-born Islamic militant to 18 years in jail for the murder of a teacher and attack conspiracies. Judges at the South Jakarta District Court found Mohammad Hasan bin Saynudin guilty of planning the fatal shooting of a Christian teacher in Indonesia's South Sumatra province in
2007.

He was also involved in the planning of an aborted attack on a cafe in West Sumatra last year, the court said.


Australia captures two more asylum-seeker boat

AustraliaSydney- Two boats carrying more than 70 asylum-seekers were intercepted by Royal Australian Navy patrol boats Wednesday off Australia's north coast. The seizures bring to 10 the number of boats to arrive this year. Only seven boats arrived last year and Australian officials are worried that many more will come bringing mostly Afghan and Middle Eastern illegal immigrants.

Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus said the latest batch would be sent to the immigration detention centre on Australia's Indian Ocean territory of Christmas Island for health and security checks.


South-East Asia taking measures to deal with swine flu

South-East Asia taking measures to deal with swine flu Jakarta- South-East Asian nations are working together to deal with swine flu amid fears the disease could spread to the region, the Association of South-East Asian Nations
(ASEAN) said Thursday. "I am now also coordinating with all ASEAN ministers of health in order to provide the necessary cooperation and support," ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said in a statement.


Soldiers mutiny against commander in Indonesia's Papua province

indonesiaJakarta - About 100 soldiers mutinied against their battalion commander and fired shots into the air Wednesday in Indonesia's rebellious Papua province, Metro TV reported. The soldiers stormed the commander's office in Sentani, near the provincial capital Jayapura, and stole rifles from an armory in their headquarters, the television channel said.

No one was injured in the mutiny and the situation had been brought under control, said a spokesman for the regional military command, Lieutenant Colonel Susilo.


Indonesia advises citizens not to travel to swine flu-hit countries

Indonesia advises citizens not to travel to swine flu-hit countriesJakarta - Indonesia, the country worst hit by bird flu, on Thursday warned its citizens against travelling to Mexico and eight other countries that have been hit by an outbreak of swine flu.

Authorities were also tightening control at all entry points to prevent the spread of swine flu to the country, said Bayu Krisnamurthi, head of Indonesia's commission dealing with bird flu.


Indonesian parties sign coalition deal

Indonesian parties sign coalition dealJakarta - Political parties led by the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle on Friday formed a coalition in the incoming parliament but failed to announce a presidential candidate to challenge incumbent Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the July polls.

Other factions involved in the coalition were the Golkar Party of Vice President Jusuf Kalla, which is now part of Yudhoyono's ruling coalition; the Great Indonesia Movement, or Gerindra; and the People Conscience Party, or Hanura.


Indonesia's anti-graft watchdog chief named suspect in murder case

Indonesia's anti-graft watchdog chief named suspect in murder caseJakarta - The head of Indonesia's anti-corruption watchdog was named a suspect Friday in a murder case, dealing a blow to the agency and posing a potential disruption in President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's bid for re-election.

Antasari Azhar, the head of the Corruption Eradication Commission, is one of the suspects in the March 14 murder of businessman Nasrudin Zulkarnaen, the attorney general's office said.

The office also requested a travel ban against Azhar to prevent him from leaving the country.


Asian Development Bank to set up 3-billion-dollar emergency fund

Development bank projects lowest growth in Bangladesh in five yearsBali Island, Indonesia - The Asian Development Bank plans to set up a 3-billion-dollar fund to help developing member countries cope with the global economic crisis, its president, Haruhiko Kuroda, said Saturday. The fund would provide emergency loans faster and cheaper than under the bank's existing programmes, Kuroda said.


Japan to provide up to 60 billion dollars in crisis fund

Japan to provide up to 60 billion dollars in crisis fund Bali Island, Indonesia  - Japan will establish a fund of up to 60 billion dollars in emergency financing in the event of an Asian financial crisis, Japanese Finance Minister Kauru Yosano said Sunday.

The fund is separate from the amount Japan committed to the Chiang Mai Initiative, a 120-billion-dollar regional foreign-exchange reserve pool, Yosano told a seminar of the Asian Development Bank's board of governors on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.


Development bank president: Asia should rebound next year

Development bank president: Asia should rebound next year Bali Island, Indonesia  - Developing countries in Asia should be able to rebound from the global economic crisis and reach 6-per-cent growth next year, the president of the Asian Development Bank, Haruhiko Kuroda, said Monday.

Growth in the region was expected to fall to 3.4 per cent this year from 6.3 per cent last year and record growth of 9.5 per cent in 2007, Kuroda said.


Indonesia is "cash cow" for cigarette industry, says SEATCA

World Health Organization (WHO)Bangkok - Of South-East Asia's 125 million cigarette smokers some 46 per cent are in Indonesia, the only country in the region that has no legislation banning cigarette advertisements, the South-East Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) said Monday.

The anti-smoking group said Indonesia has become a "cash cow" for Philip Morris International (PMI), the owner of Indonesia's PT HM Sampoerna Company which last year claimed 30 per cent of the Indonesian market and an estimated revenue of 1 billion dollars.


Indonesian police name anti-graft chief as murder suspect

Indonesian police name anti-graft chief as murder suspectJakarta - Hours after being questioned as a witness Monday, the chief of Indonesia's anti-corruption watchdog was named a suspect in a murder case, a police said.

Antasari Azhar, the chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission, was named as a suspect in the killing of businessman Nasrudin Zulkarnaen on March 14, said Jakarta city police chief Inspector General Wahyono.


Indonesia cuts prime interest rate for sixth straight month

Indonesia MapJakarta- Indonesia's central bank reduced its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 7.25 per cent Tuesday to support growth amid the slowing global economy.

The reserve bank's sixth consecutive monthly cut brought the prime lending rate to its lowest level since July 2005.

"Bank Indonesia feels the global economy may still be contracting although at a slowed pace," the central bank said in a statement.


Alert level raised for Mount Krakatau after increased activity

Alert level raised for Mount Krakatau after increased activityJakarta - The offspring of the Krakatoa volcano in the Indonesian Strait of Sunda has increased its activity and prompted authorities to raise its alert status to keep visitors away, volcanologists said Thursday.

Tremors from Anak Krakatau have been on the rise since early this month, and it spewed volcanic debris as far as 700 metres from its crater, experts said.


World Ocean Conference draws horror scenarios on climate change

World Ocean Conference draws horror scenarios on climate changeManado, Indonesia - Politicians and climate experts predicted dreary effects of climate change on the world's oceans at an international conference opening Monday on Indonesia's Sulawesi island.

The state of the oceans and the role they play in the world's changing climate must be a central issue in the upcoming negotiations on a new global climate pact, participants at the World Ocean Conference said.


Yudhoyono to pick central bank chief as running mate

Yudhoyono to pick central bank chief as running mate Jakarta - Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, seeking reelection in July's presidential election, has picked the central bank's governor as his running mate, politicians said Tuesday.

Yudhoyono's Democratic Party was confirmed Saturday as the winner of the April 9 legislative elections, winning 20.8 per cent of the vote.


WWF: Coral climate crisis could displace millions

WWF: Coral climate crisis could displace millionsManado, Indonesia - Coral reefs will disappear from the Coral Triangle by the end of this century unless effective action is taken on climate change, according to a study released Wednesday.

The Coral Triangle, considered the world's richest marine environment, spans the coasts, reefs and seas of Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and East Timor.


Ocean conference: Not enough money for adapting to climate change

Ocean conference: Not enough money for adapting to climate changeManado, Indonesia  - Efforts to battle the effects of climate change are short billions of dollars in needed funds, experts at an international conference focusing on the effects of climate change on the world's oceans said Wednesday.

Up to 1 trillion dollars are needed for mitigation and adaptation, said Al Duda, a water expert with the Global Environment Facility, at the World Ocean Conference held in Indonesia this week.


Indonesian maid falls to death from Hong Kong high-rise

Indonesian maid falls to death from Hong Kong high-rise Hong Kong - An Indonesian maid who forgot her keys and tried to climb from the roof of a Hong Kong high-rise to her employer's 20th-floor flat, fell to her death, police said Thursday.

The 30-year-old, whose employer lived on the top floor of the luxury Flora Gardens development on Hong Kong's Chun Fai Road, was found dead by a security guard Wednesday.

A police spokesman said it appeared the maid had forgotten her keys and tried to get into the apartment by climbing down from the roof.


Fishermen, coastal residents sidelined at ocean conference

Fishermen, coastal residents sidelined at ocean conferenceManado, Indonesia - At the first-ever World Ocean Conference held on Indonesia's Sulawesi island this week, the devastating effects of climate change on the seas are the focus of international attention.

The survival of millions of costal residents is at stake - they are endangered by rising sea levels, increasing salinity of the oceans and decimated fish stocks.


Indonesian shares fall 3.58 per cent

Wall StreetJakarta - Indonesian shares tumbled 3.58 per cent Thursday, sparked by falls on markets across Asia after a decline on Wall Street overnight.

The Jakarta Composite Index ended at 1,785, down 66.33 points.


Ocean conference agrees to protect South-East Asia Coral Triangle

Ocean conference agrees to protect South-East Asia Coral TriangleManado, Indonesia - The leaders of six South-East Asian nations adjoining the region's so-called Coral Triangle agreed Friday to implement comprehensive measures to protect the world's most diverse marine region.

At the World Ocean Conference in Manado, Indonesia, the leaders of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and the Solomon Islands passed an action plan declaring one fifth of the coastal waters a protected zone.


Indonesia's Yudhoyono announces bank chief as running mate

Indonesia's Yudhoyono announces bank chief as running mateBandung, Indonesia - Incumbent Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Friday declared the central bank's governor as his running mate for his re-election bid in July.

Yudhoyono's nomination of Bank Indonesia Governor Boediono as his vice-presidential running mate is likely to be welcomed by the financial markets as the central banker has a reputation for being a capable and market-friendly economist.


Endangered birds lay eggs on exclusive beach in Indonesia

Wildlife Conservation SocietyWashington, May 17 : An endangered bird found only on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, has been provided an exclusive stretch of sand as a protected nesting area, where it can lay eggs.

The bird in question is the maleo, a chicken-sized bird that lays its eggs in sand heated by either the sun or volcanism that occurs in its habitat on the island of Sulawesi.


Logging plans will destroy endangered apes in Sumatra

Logging plans will destroy endangered apes in Sumatra Jakarta  - A massive logging plan by one of the world's largest paper companies is likely destroy the Indonesian forest home of Sumatran orang-utans that are part of the only successful reintroduction programme for the great apes, activists said Tuesday.

A coalition of five conservationist groups said a joint-venture of Asia Pacific Pulp & Paper (APP) and Sinar Mas Group had received a license to clear the largest portion of natural forest remaining outside the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Jambi province on Sumatra.


Military plane crashes on Java, scores feared dead

Military plane crashes on Java, scores feared dead Jakarta  - A Indonesian military plane with more than 100 people on board crashed Wednesday in East Java province, television channels reported.

The SCTV television channel said bodies had been recovered, including that of a person who was on the ground when the Hercules C- 130 crashed into a residential area. The plane was on a regular flight from the capital Jakarta and the East Java district of Madiun. (dpa)


Investigators search plane wreckage after deadly crash

Investigators search plane wreckage after deadly crashMagetan, Indonesia - Indonesian military investigators on Thursday sifted through the wreckage of an Air Force plane a day after it crashed into a residential neighbourhood in East Java, killing 99 people.

The Hercules C-130 transport plane was carrying military personnel and their families on a routine flight when it slammed into a row of houses and careened into a rice field in Magetan district on Wednesday.

Fifteen people survived the crash and two people on the ground were killed.


Indonesia Muslim scholars weigh social networking

Magetan, Indonesia  - Hundreds of Islamic scholars in Indonesia's East Java province met Thursday to discuss a ruling on online activity, including the use of popular social networking sites such as Facebook.

Indonesians are increasingly using sites such as Facebook and Friendster to get in touch with each other as the internet is becoming more accessible and less costly.

Muslim clerics are worried such activity could lead to illicit extra-marital affairs, said the head of the East Java branch of the Indonesian Council of Muslim Scholars, Abdussomad Buchori.


Indonesia Muslim scholars weigh social networking

Magetan, Indonesia  - Hundreds of Islamic scholars in Indonesia's East Java province met Thursday to discuss a ruling on online activity, including the use of popular social networking sites such as Facebook.

Indonesians are increasingly using sites such as Facebook and Friendster to get in touch with each other as the internet is becoming more accessible and less costly.

Muslim clerics are worried such activity could lead to illicit extra-marital affairs, said the head of the East Java branch of the Indonesian Council of Muslim Scholars, Abdussomad Buchori.


Muslim clerics ban gossiping, flirting on Facebook

Muslim clerics ban gossiping, flirting on FacebookMagetan, Indonesia - Muslim clerics in Indonesia's East Java province Friday banned the faithful from gossiping and flirting on social networking websites such as Facebook and Friendster.

The clerics also urged Facebook and Friendster to curb what they called "lewd and pornographic" content and warned that they would request the government to block the sites if their call went unheeded.


Malaysian police kill Indonesian armed robbery suspect in shootout

Malaysian police kill Indonesian armed robbery suspect in shootoutKuala Lumpur  - Malaysian police shot dead an Indonesian robber armed with stolen firearms after he held a family hostage for more than 13 hours, news reports said Sunday.

The 27-year old suspect, armed with weapons stolen from a police volunteer corps unit nearby, had allegedly broken into a home in the central Malacca state pre-dawn Saturday, the Star daily reported.


Malaysian siblings detained over death of Indonesian maid

Malaysian siblings detained over death of Indonesian maidKuala Lumpur - Malaysian police have detained a man and his sister for allegedly beating their Indonesian maid to death, a news report said Monday.

Hospital authorities were alerted of an accident on Saturday, and upon arriving at the suspects' home, found the maid dead with bruises on her head and body, the Star daily said.

The maid in her 20s had started working at the home of her employer two months ago, the report said.


Facebook given green signal by Indonesian imams; but no flirting

Facebook given green signal by Indonesian imams; but no flirting It was recently announced by Muslim clerics who were debating the exploding popularity of Facebook in Indonesia that the networking site could be used by the followers to connect with friends or for work - but not to gossip or flirt.

The decision came after a two-day meeting of clerics in the world's most populous Muslim nation.


Thick haze forces schools to shut on Indonesia's Sumatra

Thick haze forces schools to shut on Indonesia's Sumatra Jakarta - Haze from forest burnings and ground fires blanketed parts of Indonesia's Riau province on eastern Sumatra Friday, forcing schools to close, state media said Tuesday.

The head of Riau's Rokan Hilir district environment agency, Suma al-Falah, was quoted as saying by the state-run Antara news agency that a number of elementary schools in the area had been shut indefinitely to prevent students suffering from respiratory-related ailments.


Orangutans mistreated in Indonesian zoos

Orangutans mistreated in Indonesian zoos Jakarta - Zoos in Indonesia are mistreating endangered orangutans, forcing the great apes to live in cages and depriving them of adequate water and food, a conservation group said Wednesday.

The Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) said its study showed that most zoos in five major Indonesian cities locked up orangutans in cages instead of keeping them in more spacious enclosures.


Giant underwater volcano found off Indonesia

Giant underwater volcano found off IndonesiaJakarta - Scientists have discovered a giant undersea volcano off Indonesia's Sumatra island, the state-run Antara news agency said Friday.

The volcano spans 50 kilometres at its base with a height of 4,600 metres, said Yusuf Surachman, a director at the state-run Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology.


Nine Afghan migrants killed after boat sinks off Indonesia

Nine Afghan migrants killed after boat sinks off IndonesiaJakarta - Nine people were killed and 11 were missing after a boat carrying 36 undocumented migrants from Afghanistan sank off Indonesia's Sumatra island, police said Friday.

Sixteen people were rescued by fishermen after the boat capsized Thursday off Riau province, said Arifin, a local police officer who like many Indonesians uses only one name.

Indonesia's Immigration Department has said about 900 asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka and other countries are currently being detained pending an examination of their status.


Landslide kills six in eastern Indonesia

Landslide kills six in eastern IndonesiaJakarta  - A landslide buried alive a family of six in eastern Indonesian province of South Sulawesi, the state-run media said Sunday.

The landslide occurred Saturday in Rarukan village of Tanah Toraja district, burying four other houses and cutting off road links to the damaged village.

Rescue workers recovered four bodies on Saturday afternoon and continue searching for two more family members who remain buried and feared dead under tons of soil, the state-run Antara news agency reported.


Road accidents kill 16 on Indonesia's Java, Sumatra

Road accidents kill 16 on Indonesia's Java, SumatraJakarta  - At least 16 people were killed and several others injured in two separate road accidents in Indonesia's Sumatra and Java islands, media reports said Monday.

At least 12 people were killed and seven others injured when an intercity passenger bus with 37 people on board plunged into a ravine in West Sumatra district of Padang Panjang on Sunday, the state-run Antara news agency reported.


Indonesian shares surge 4.26 per cent

Indonesian shares surge 4.26 per cent Jakarta - Indonesian shares rose more than 4.2 per cent Monday, in line with a surge on other Asian markets sparked by positive gains on Wall Street over the weekend.

The Jakarta Composite Index closed at 1,998.58, jump 81.75 points or 4.26 per cent. (dpa)


Indonesian exports down 23 per cent in April

Indonesian exports down 23 per cent in April Jakarta - Indonesian exports in April fell 22.5 per cent from the same month a year ago to 8.46 billion dollars, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Monday.

Indonesia, South-East Asia's largest economy, had a trade surplus of 2.08 billion dollars in April because its imports dropped 45 per cent to 6.38 billion dollars, the bureau said.

Consumer prices rose 6.04 per cent in May from a year earlier, the lowest increase in 23 months, after climbing 7.3 per cent in April, the bureau said.


Residents evacuate after Indonesian volcano spewing lava

Residents evacuate after Indonesian volcano spewing lava Jakarta - Residents were evacuated after Mount Karangetang volcano on an eastern Indonesian island began spewing lava and hot ash, threatening a major eruption, officials said Tuesday.

There were no reports of casualties in connection with the increased activity of Mount Karangetang, the officials said.

Volcanologists upgraded the alert status to the highest level on Sunday for the 1,784-metre volcano on the remote island of Siau, part of the Sulawesi chain, about 2,340 kilometres north-east of Jakarta.


Indonesian presidential campaign starts

Indonesian presidential campaign startsJakarta - Campaigning began Tuesday for Indonesia's July 8 presidential election, with incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono looking poised for victory.

Opinion polls indicate that Yudhoyono would win more than 60 per cent of the vote and avoid a run-off scheduled for September.

His Democratic Party won the legislative elections in April with 21 per cent of the vote, tripling its gains from the 2004 polls.


Alcohol brew kills 25 in Indonesia

Indonesia MapBali Island, Indonesia - A traditional alcoholic brew has killed 25 people, including four foreigners, on Indonesia's resort islands of Bali and Lombok over the past two weeks, a doctor and media reports said Tuesday.

Police on Bali have arrested two people from a factory that produced the beverage for allegedly adding excessive levels of methanol to the brew, known locally as arak.

American Rose Johnson died Monday at Bali's Sanglah hospital after losing consciousness because of methanol poisoning, said Ida Bagus Putu Alit, a doctor at the hospital.


Indonesia cuts prime interest rate for seventh-straight month

Indonesia cuts prime interest rate for seventh-straight month Jakarta - Indonesia's central bank reduced its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 7 per cent Wednesday to help bolster the country's economic growth.

Bank Indonesia's seventh-consecutive monthly cut brought the prime lending rate to its lowest level since 2005.

The bank said inflation at the end of the year would still be in line with earlier estimates of 5 to 7 per cent.


Malaysian police arrest man accused of forcing maids into sex

Malaysian police arrest man accused of forcing maids into sexKuala Lumpur - Malaysian police have detained a man who allegedly forced his three Indonesian maids to have sex with him before they could get their monthly wages, a news report said Wednesday.

The three alleged victims fled their employer's home early Tuesday and sought help from police, saying their 400 ringgit (108 dollars) monthly salaries were withheld if they did not have sex with the suspect.

The women, aged between 23 and 26, also claimed that they were beaten, punched and choked until they gave in, the Star daily said.


Asian Development Bank OK's 1-billion-dollar loan for Indonesia

Asian Development Bank OK's 1-billion-dollar loan for IndonesiaManila - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Thursday it has approved a 1-billion-dollar loan to help Indonesia sustain key public expenditures for poverty alleviation, social protection and infrastructure maintenance amid the global economic crisis.

The Manila-based ADB said the loan will allow Indonesia to enhance its financial safety net, better mobilize funds for commercial markets and maintain financial sector stability.

The bank noted that the crisis has significantly hindered Indonesia's ability to access funds from credit markets.


IMF: Indonesian economy to grow 3-4 per cent this year

IMF: Indonesian economy to grow 3-4 per cent this yearJakarta - Indonesia's economy is likely to grow 3 to 4 per cent this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Friday, praising the way the country has dealt with the global financial crisis.

"We are revising upward our projection for Indonesia GDP [gross domestic product] growth this year, and now we see it in the range of 3 to 4 per cent," said Thomas Rumbaugh, IMF division chief for Asia and the Pacific.

In April, the IMF had projected Indonesia's economy would grow 2.5 per cent, Rumbaugh told reporters in Jakarta.


Indonesian police raids Papua rebel's headquarters , kills three

Indonesian police raids Papua rebel's headquarters , kills threeJakarta  - At least three people were killed and several others wounded after Indonesian police anti-terror units raided a headquarters of suspected separatist rebels in the easternmost province of Papua, state-media report said Sunday.

Police stormed the lair of the Free Papua Movement that has occupied an isolated airstrip in Papua's Kasepo sub-district for weeks. The raid followed the breakdown of negotiations to end that occupation.


Indonesian military helicopter crashes on Java, kills two

Indonesian military helicopter crashes on Java, kills twoJakarta - An Indonesian military helicopter crashed in West Java province Monday, killing two soldiers and injuring another, media reports said.

The Bolkow BO-105 chopper belonging to the Indonesian army, with five people on board, crashed in West Java's Cianjur district, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

Army spokesman Brigadier General Christian Zebua was quoted as saying that the helicopter was being used by the army's Kopassus elite forces unit for a rescue training course when the accident took place.


US, India agree to revive WTO talks

World Trade Organization (WTO) Chief Pascal LamyUnited States and India, in principle, have agreed to re-initiate the stalled WTO talks in a meeting of 19 leading agricultural exporters held in Indonesian Resort Island, Bali on Monday.

Indian trade minister Anand Sharma and World Trade Organization (WTO) Chief Pascal Lamy hopes for amicable solution of agriculture subsidies and other trade barriers. The negotiation originally started in 2001 in Qatari capital to discuss global free-trade pact and its impact.


Acquittal of 5 Australians upheld in Indonesia's Papua

Acquittal of 5 Australians upheld in Indonesia's Papua Jakarta - Five Australians arrested last year after landing a small plane in Indonesia's eastern-most province of Papua should be able to go home soon after a court upheld their acquittal, their lawyer said Thursday.

In January, a court in Merauke district sentenced the Australians to between two and three years in prison after convicting them of landing a small plane illegally and entering Indonesia without visas in September.


Indonesian Air Force helicopter crashes, kills two

Indonesian Air Force helicopter crashes, kills twoJakarta  - A helicopter belonging to the Indonesian Air Force crashed Friday afternoon in West Java province, killing two people and injuring five others, officials and media reports said.

The Puma SA-330 chopper with seven people on board - a pilot, co-pilot and five technicians - came down just south of Jakarta, the state-run Antara news agency reported.

Air Force spokesman Bambang Sulistiono said the helicopter was on a flying test after undergoing maintenance when it crashed and burst into flames.


Islam takes a back seat in Indonesian politics

Islam takes a back seat in Indonesian politicsJakarta - Muhammad Imran says he is a devout Muslim who performs five-time daily prayers and reads the Koran regularly, but he did not vote for an Islamic party in Indonesia's legislative elections held in April.

"I vote for the Democratic Party because I support the president's programmes on eradicating corruption and improving the economy," said 41-year-old Imran, who works for a shipping company.


Explosion in coal mine kills seven on Indonesia's West Sumatra

Explosion in coal mine kills seven on Indonesia's West SumatraJakarta - An explosion rocked a coal mine in the Indonesian province of West Sumatra on Tuesday, killing at least seven people, with more than 20 others trapped inside, media reports said.

The cause of the blast was not immediately known, Sawahlunto district police chief Adjunct Commissioner Jasman said the explosion may have been caused by methane in the mine. He confirmed that seven people were killed in the accident.