More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal

More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal
Volkswagen has admitted it installed illegal software into 11 million 2.0 liter and 3.0 liter diesel engines worldwide (AFP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Volkswagen emissions scandal

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 commercial jet.

QZ8501 (AirAsia)

Leaders see horror of French Alps crash as probe gathers pace

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Saturday, September 29, 2007

PT KA warns of unguarded crossings

JAKARTA: State railway company PT KA has issued a public warning, especially for Idul Fitri travelers, around the dangers of unguarded railway crossings throughout the country.

"In Java alone, there are a total of 6,602 railway crossings which have no guard posts," PT KA spokesman Noor Hamidi told detik.com. Friday

"Some 6,354 crossings are official and the remaining 248 are unofficial -- they have been made by other people and not us."

He said 158 crossings in Java were prone to traffic accidents including 14 crossings in Jakarta, four in Bandung, West Java; four in Semarang, Central Java; and East Java's Madiun, Surabaya and Jember with 14, 57 and 11 crossings each. -- JP

Busway potential cash cow: Green group

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Experts predict that reduction in carbon emissions resulting from use of the busway may be worth Rp 19 billion (about US$2 million) annually.

Representatives from Swisscontact, a clean air project with technical information about the Kyoto-linked Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), briefed Governor Sutiyoso and Vice Governor Fauzi Bowo on the cash value of carbon credits to be garnered if sufficient numbers of former motorists opt to travel by bus next year.

"Pak Sutiyoso has asked his staff to follow up on our CDM proposal," Swisscontact's project manager Dollaris Suhadi told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

"We predict the five (new) corridors could reduce carbon monoxide (CO2) by 1.8 million tons per year and transport over 900,000 commuters every day," she said, referring to five unfinished busway corridors.

The Jakarta busway currently has seven operational routes with eight other corridors planned or under construction. Three new routes are to become operational in December, the administration has said.

Every day some 2.5 million private cars and 3 million motorcycles operate in the city.

Reductions in CO2 are calculated based on numbers of motorists shifting to public transportation.

City administration plans to implement electronic road pricing on certain streets to make public transportation more attractive. Use of private cars could be reduced by as much as 30 percent when all 15 busway corridors are finished, it said.

A Kyoto Protocol mechanism, CDM encourages developing nations, including Indonesia, to go forward with projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The United Nations Executive Board awards developers of green projects emission reduction certificates which are purchased by wealthier nations.

A ton of CO2 reduction is currently valued at between US$5 and $10.

During the presentation, Dollaris was accompanied by teams from Switzerland-based South Pole Carbon Assets Management and Grutter Consulting, a Bolivia group.

Grutter engineers CDM technology and developed Bogota's busway system --TransMilenio-- the world's first mass transit system to integrate the Kyoto CDM.

TransMilenio demonstrated that it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing more efficient public transportation than was previously available in Bogota.

Dollaris said with 1.8 million commuters using Bogota's busway annually, TransMilenio would generate US$5 million per year as a CDM project.

"As the Jakarta busway is similar to the Bogota project, we believe it is worth Rp 19 billion annually for 21 years," she said.

Separately, deputy chairman of the city CDM team Daniel Abbas said the administration would have to hold a public tender to find a CDM project developer.

Monorail developer denies bankruptcy

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A hearing for a bankruptcy lawsuit against monorail developing consortium PT Jakarta Monorail on Thursday ended with both the plaintiff and the accused being told to prepare evidence for the next court session.

"The court will check on the evidence used to support the arguments of both sides," presiding judge M. Eli Mariani said at the Commercial Court, in the Central Jakarta District Court.

She adjourned the hearing until Monday.

The plaintiff, Adi Prasetyo & Partners, which is the former legal advisor for PT Jakarta Monorail, requested the Commercial Court declare the company bankrupt.

The firm, represented by Octolin H. Hutagalung, said PT Jakarta Monorail owed approximately Rp 2.247 billion (US$245,439) and $872,750, separately.

Outside the court, PT Jakarta Monorail's lawyer Mauliate P. Situmeang said the company refused to be declared bankrupt.

"When the law firm submitted a proposal (to be the legal advisor for the company), it didn't include an official license (to practice)," he said.

He added the consortium had only recently discovered that Adi Prasetyo & Partners did not have a practice permit, after being represented by the law firm for almost two years.

Telecommunications industry wide open for development

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) - The telecommunications industry in Indonesia is still open to further development, both in terms of technology and public service.

"Many investors are still keenly interested in the development of the telecommunications industry in Indonesia, in view of its still low penetration and teledensity compared to these aspects in other countries, especialy in South East Asia," President Director of Smart Telecom, Sutikno Wijaya said here Friday.

For these reasons, he said during the launching of Smart Telecom, Sinar Mas group expressed interest in doing business in the telecommunications business by providing cellular services.

"In providing its services, Smart is supported by the CDMA 20001X and EVDO-Rev A technology at 1900 MHz. The choice for the technology is based on comprehensive business considerations and calculation," he said.

The application of the technology, he said, is prompted by a wish to provide quality and affordable communications services to the public.

"With the cellular license that we already have, we have opened services in several major cities in Java, including Jakarta, Bandung, Bogor, Cirebon, Surabaya, Malang, Semarang, and Yogyakarta," he said.

In the meantime, Director of Smart Telecom Ubaidillah Fatah said that in providing quality services, Smart planned to build 1,500 BTS facilities at a cost of Rp3 trillion.

"We are trying to act fast to secure one million subscribers this year. For Yogyakarta and environs we are trying to secure 100,000 subscribers," he said.

He also disclosed that for 2008, Smart is drawing up a plan to provide services to Sumatera, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi, and later to Maluku and even Papua," he said.

In the meantime, Deputy CEO of Smart Telecom Djoko Tata Ibrahim said that Smart wished to give a differentiation in setting tariffs as transparent operator, and launch promotions nearer to the market.

"In this context we will offer various bundling handset packages at Rp 300,000 as the cheapest, and this low price is expected a much wider segment of the public will enjoy celluar services," he said.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Nippon Life to build computer centre for real-time redundancy

Tokyo (ANTARA News/Asia Pulse) - Nippon Life Insurance Co. plans to build a new redundant computer centre in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, to allow for rapid recovery of operations in case of fire or other disasters.

The new facility, at an estimated cost of 40-50 billion yen (US$347-434 million), will duplicate the functions of the current centre in Sakai, also in Osaka Prefecture, and operate in synch with it at all times.

The redundancy will allow the firm to test newly developed systems under real conditions, helping to prevent errors such as nonpayment of insurance claims. The system is expected to come into full operation in fiscal year 2011.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Quake drills may help save lives: Expert

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Ivan worked until late and was just about to leave the office when he felt the high-rise building he was in on Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Central Jakarta, begin to sway. In a panic, he and three others from the same floor took the elevator to reach the lobby. It got stuck.

"I thought 'this is it' ... we almost lost hope, but then the elevator started working again," he said, recalling the evening of Sept. 12 when a powerful earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale hit Bengkulu and West Sumatra.

Most building tenants are unaware that the swaying of a building is actually a good sign: meaning the building won't fall down.

Although there are no regulations on earthquake mitigation in high-rise buildings or public places, many building owners have designed their properties to withstand quakes up to a 7-magnitude on the Richter scale.

"However, many building management boards ignore the importance of a disaster mitigation grand plan, which should involve all tenants and authorities in the building.

"The fact that most people tend to forget life-saving measures when they panic in an emergency situation highlights the importance of regular escape drills," said Amtono Prasutanto, a consultant and training instructor at the Disaster Management Institute of Indonesia.

"Drills train your brain and body where to go and what to do in an emergency situation."

Amtono suggested building management boards appoint caretakers on each floor of high-rise buildings to show tenants escape routes out of the building to be used in emergency situations.

"Floor caretakers can set up their own emergency plans, while the building management boards should be responsible for facilitating each plan. It's better to have strategic emergency plans in place. One can never be too careful or too prepared," he said.


What to do in the event of an earthquake

If you are indoors - Stay inside - Drop to the floor, take cover under a heavy piece of furniture or stand against an inside wall. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and it is safe to exit. - Stay away from windows and doors. - Never take an elevator.

If you are outdoors - Move to a clear area away from buildings, trees and power lines. - Drop to the ground until the shaking stops.

If you are in a car - Slow down and drive to a clear area (as described above). - Turn on emergency lights and slow to a stop. Do not stop on overpasses, underpasses or bridges. - Be aware of overhead hazards such as power lines or falling debris from buildings. - Turn off the ignition and set the parking brake. - Stay inside the car until the shaking stops.

If trapped under debris - Do not light a match. - Do not move about or kick up dust. - Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing. - Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. - Shout only as a last resort, as shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous particles.

Source: Disaster Management Institute of Indonesia

City told to prepare for earthquakes

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Jakarta is not among quake-prone regions, but it must prepare for the destructive impact that earthquakes may exert on high-rise buildings.

A seminar Wednesday told the city to make buildings earthquake-ready, improve seismic risk assessment and quickly alert residents about quake activity.

The seminar aimed to evaluate existing disaster policies and improve earthquake safety awareness.

Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso said, at the opening of the event held at City Hall, that the city was vulnerable to earthquakes because of subsurface instability and buildings that were not up to modern earthquake standards.

"We must therefore set a new standard for building construction here; the buildings must be able to withstand quakes measuring up to 9 on the Richter scale."

According to the governor, most Jakarta buildings were high tech and built with underlying soil conditions in mind.

However, even modern buildings would not necessarily be able to tolerate a quake measuring eight plus on the Richter scale, said the head of the city's building planning and control agency, Hari Sasongko.

"It's very costly to prepare (buildings) to withstand the more powerful earthquakes, and it will require redesign," he told reporters on the sidelines of the seminar.

He added that all buildings with permits were already in line with current earthquake risk compliance standards.

In a presentation, coordinator of the city administration's building construction consulting team, Widyanyana Merati, said that Jakarta should conduct a detailed seismic disaster risk assessment involving the formulation of strategic plans for anticipating and mitigating the impacts of quakes.

Widyanyana also said the administration should prepare a system for issuing community alerts and facilitate the development of an emergency rescue system.

Head of the data and geophysics information center of the Meteorological and Geophysics Agency, Sunarjo, told the audience in the event of an earthquake-triggered tsunami, Jakarta could minimize the number of victims by publicizing news of earthquakes as soon as possible after their occurrence.

"The information could be delivered via SMS, email or fax in less than five minutes."

But this type of emergency notification system would only be available, he said, after completion of the Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System (year-end 2008 completion date).

Within the last two years, Jakarta residents have felt the vibrations of three earthquakes whose epicenters were far from the capital: the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Pangandaran, West Java, in July 2006; the 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Indramayu, also in West Java, last August; and the 8.4 magnitude earthquake in Bengkulu earlier this month.

In Jakarta, none of these earthquakes caused significant structural damage or claimed human life. (11)

Emergency numbers in case of earthquakes

Crisis center : (021)3822212, 3500000, 3862022

Fax: (021)3862022 and (021)3823412

SMS: 0811 920 203

Ambulance : 118

Fire department : 113, 344, 1309, 7507

PLN (power company) : 123

Tollway operator : 801, 1735

Search and Rescue : 115, 550, 1111, 2111

Police : (021)5250110, 3857974, 110, 112, 525

Red Cross (PMI) : (021)3906666, 7992325

Amsterdam route plan still on: Garuda

Andi Haswidi, The Jakarta Post, Nusa Dua, Bali

Garuda Indonesia plans to revive its Jakarta-Amsterdam route as soon as the European Commission (EC) lifts its ban on Indonesian airlines flying to the continent, hopefully later this year, the company's top executive says.

Garuda president director Emir Syah Satar said Wednesday that the government was hopeful that after the lifting of the ban, the national flag carrier would quickly revive the service, which was discontinued in 2004 for financial reasons.

"We are also planning to add new routes to Japan and India," Emir told the press on the first day of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Travel Mart, which was officially opened by Vice President Jusuf Kalla .

Emir said that as Garuda had recently passed an International Air Transport Association (IATA) safety audit, the EC had no more grounds for barring it.

He said that the EC was expected to lift the ban by not later than November of this year.

"We had a discussion with the transportation minister and the vice president this morning. He said that there will be a decision on the ban in November," Emir said.

The EC imposed the ban in June, barring all Indonesian airlines from flying to the 27-nation bloc after a series of aircraft accidents at home.

At the beginning of this month a special team was dispatched to Brussels, Belgium, to lobby the relevant commission committee. Upon returning, the head of the team, Cheppy Hakim, said that the committee would put the matter to a vote some time this month.

Also present during the discussions with the minister, PATA president and CEO Peter de Jong said that there would be a review of the EC's policy on Indonesian airlines.

"Let it be known by the European authorities that the flight ban is an unfair measure. For those who don't know, the problem arises when tour operators cannot get insurance for their clients," Jong said.

"It has jeopardized tourism, not only in Bali, but also in other travel destinations in the country. The good news is that we expect a new development in the next 8 weeks or so," he concluded.

Earlier, Jong had said that despite the ban on Indonesian carriers, the attendance of European delegates at the PATA Travel Mart 2007 had not been affected.

"PACTO, which organizes pre and post tours, has not received any cancellations. The time for a show in Bali is, in fact, perfect as the destination has been in full recovery since the beginning of the year," he said as quoted by Travel Weekly on Wednesday.

According to Garuda's Emir, after passing the IATA safety audit (IOSA), Garuda needed no other certification.

Aside from improving its safety and maintenance procedures, Emir said Garuda would also continue to invest in new aircraft. He revealed that Garuda was considering buying 25 Boeing 737-800 aircraft next year, and hoped to have 10 Boeing Dreamliners in operation by 2011.

"Airbus has also offered us 20 of their 320 series." Emir said.

After years of suffering losses, Garuda reported a profit of Rp 148 billion (about US$15.9 million) in the first semester of this year, as compared to a net loss of about Rp 361 billion during the same period last year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wi-MAX of Indonesian Version to be Launched May 2008

Tuesday, 25 September, 2007 | 17:44 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The government will launch the Indonesian version of the worldwide interoperability for microwave access (Wi-MAX) in May next year on the same day with National Awakening Day on May 28.

Information and Communication Minister, Muhammad Nuh, said that the Indonesian version of Wi-MAX technology is needed to lower the dependency on foreign technology.

Nuh said that more than half of the national telecommunication’s budget, reaching between Rp40 trillion and Rp50 trillion, is used for buying the imported technology product.

Thus, he said, now several universities and companies in the information technology sector in Indonesia are conducting research to complete creating the Wi-MAX.

“I forgot the names of the involved companies,” said Nuh. Yet, the universities that are involved include the Sepuluh Nopember Technology Institute, Bandung Institute of Technology, University of Indonesia, Gadjah Mada University and Hasanuddin University. Nuh did not remember the budget for the technology research either.

In the meantime, Director General of Post and Telecommunication at the Information and Communication Department, Basuki Yusuf Iskandar, said that the Indonesian version of Wi-MAX technology can be used in providing communication and information access service in rural areas or universal service obligation (USO).

Wi-MAX is a technology that makes it possible to provide wireless broadband communication access. This technology is adjusted with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.16 standard.

Wi-MAX technology can be applied as the last mile connection in broadband network. In addition, Wi-MAX—which can reach a 50 kilometers radius—can be used for hotspots and cellular network backup.This electricity project is currently being carried out and is targeted to be completed in 2009 and 2010.

New players may get to sell subsidized fuels

Ika Krismantari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Downstream oil and gas regulator BPH Migas may allow Dutch-based oil giant Shell and Malaysia's Petronas to join state-owned oil and gas firm Pertamina in selling subsidized fuels.

BPH Migas representative Adhi Subagio Subono told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday that the designation of Shell and Petronas as subsidized fuel distributors, despite their lack of storage facilities, would benefit consumers as the increased competition would force Pertamina, currently the sole distributor of subsidized fuels, to provide better services and reduce prices.

"New players could establish joint storage facilities, or if Pertamina agreed, they could share Pertamina facilities to overcome their lack of space," Adhi said.

Pertamina still holds the exclusive right to distribute subsidized fuels, despite the partial liberalization of the country's retail fuel market in 2005.

The government has said that the exclusive right continued to be awarded to Pertamina as no other operators had been able to meet the requirements, such as having sufficient distribution networks and storage facilities.

As a result, the newcomers, including Shell and Petronas, have only been able to sell non-subsidized high-octane gasoline in Indonesia.

BPH Migas has not decided whether to hold a tender or to resort to the direct appointment mechanism to select the distributors of subsidized fuels for next year.

As a result, the appointment of distributors, which should have been announced in August, has been delayed.

A committee made up of BPH Migas, the Finance Ministry and the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry is still discussing a number of contentious issues, which are reported to include policy changes so as to allow more players to become involved in the distribution of subsidized fuels.

Adhi said that the other mechanism being discussed involved a competitive tender under which the winners would be selected based on the price margin offered and the scope of their distribution areas.

Only those bidders that offered lower price margins and wider distribution areas would be allowed to sell the subsidized fuels, he added.

Pertamina marketing and trading director Ahmad Faisal said Tuesday that his company had sent a letter to BPH Migas to express its readiness to serve as the distributor of subsidized fuels next year.

Indonesia, with a population of some 220 million people, represents an attractive market for gas retailers as motor vehicles account for almost half of national fuel consumption, which currently stands at some 60 million kiloliters per year.

A number of oil giants, such as U.S.-based Chevron and French oil firm Total, have been lining up to enter the country's retail fuel market, but are still waiting for the government's latest decision on subsidized fuels, which account for 95 percent of Indonesia's fuel market.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

EU to decide on RI air travel ban in November

Alvin Darlanika Soedarjo, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The EU will decide on whether to lift the air travel ban for Indonesian airlines in November after a recent preliminary meeting between an Indonesian delegation and EU officials in Montreal, Canada.

"The meeting was a technical one. It involved our clarification on aviation safety documents as requested by the EU. So there is no decision yet from Montreal," Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal said Monday as quoted by Detik.com newsportal.

Speaking after a meeting with the House of Representatives Commission V overseeing transportation issues, Jusman said Director General of Air Transport Budhi M. Suyitno and National Team for the Evaluation of Transportation Safety and Security chief Chappy Hakim led the Indonesian delegation.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) general assembly with the EU represented by its safety committee consisting of France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain.

On July 6, the EU prohibited all Indonesian air carriers from entering European airspace, despite the fact that at the time there were no Indonesian airlines that flew to European destinations.

Jusman added the Indonesian delegation also presented the ministry's plan for zero accidents and policy on local airlines compliance ratings.

"In the meeting, I addressed the Indonesian government's disappointment on the EU flight restriction. We believe if the ban is to be continued, then there would be unhealthy air transportation competition.

"Several countries can simply give sanctions without coordination with the affected country," he said.

Indonesia also proposed that the ICAO regulate the mechanism on such bans and lift the restriction.

"All ICAO members should use the same standard. That way there will be no one-sided decisions."

Jusman said Garuda Indonesia, which had planned to resume its service to the Netherlands just before the ban, should be exempt from the ban as it is Indonesia's flag carrier.

The Indonesian government had called on the EU to send its technical delegates to directly inspect Indonesian airlines.

The Saudi Arabian General Authority on Civil Aviation (GACA) in July planned to join the EU in banning Indonesian airlines from flying to the country.

However, the GACA sent a team of technical delegates to Indonesia and cleared Garuda in August. Garuda is the only Indonesian airline serving routes to Saudi Arabia.

Several local major airlines, including Garuda, have attempted to highlight their improvements by obtaining official certification through an operational safety audit from the International Air Transport Association.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Indonesian jetliner forced to land after losing cabin pressure

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (AP): An Airbus jetliner operated by an Indonesian carrier was forced to land Monday after losing cabin pressure, a spokesman said.

The Batavia Air flight with 134 passengers diverted to the Sumatran city of Padang, several hundred kilometers from its destination, Batavia Air spokesman Anton Situmeang said.

No one was hurt and passengers were transferred to another Batavia Air plane that took off 90 minutes later for Medan.

"Due to causes we are still trying to uncover, there was a pressurization problem," he said. "Oxygen masks were dropped automatically and the pilot had to divert the plane."

The 10-year-old Airbus A-320 was flown back to Jakarta without passengers for technical examination, the spokesman said.

Indonesia is trying to improve its safety image after three plane accidents this year prompted the European Union to blacklist all its airlines. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration also downgraded the nation's rating to its lowest category.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

President inspects Gambir Railway station

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - After visiting East Jakarta`s Kramat Jati Wholesale Market, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono inspected the Gambir Railway station in Central Jakarta on Saturday.

In the Kramat Jati Wholesale market, the president held a dialog with traders to monitor prices of essential commodities while in Gambir, the head of state observed the station`s preparations in the face of Idul Fitri holiday travelers.

During the observation in the railway station, the president was accompanied by Police Chief Gen. Sutanto and Minister for State Enterprises Sofyan Djalil.

The president received a briefing from the Railway Company (PT Kreta Api) and Transportation Ministry`s officials in the VIP room of the railway station.

Presidential Spokesman Andi Mallarangeng said the president`s tour of the Gambir Railway station was part of the agenda discussed during a cabinet limited meeting held several days ago.

Land Transportation Director General Iskandar Abubakar estimated that Idul Fitri travelers using trains this year would increase two percent from last year`s two million passengers.

According to Iskandar Abubakar, PT Kreta Api has prepared all of its coaches and reserve wagons which would be deployed to cater travelers in case there is unexpected jump in the number of passengers.

Mandala to buy four new Airbus planes

Surabaya, E Java (ANTARA News) - Mandala Airlines will buy four new A-319 and A-320 planes until late this year to replace its Boeing planes that are still operational, the company`s commercial director said.

An A-319 plane with a capacity of 144 seats was delivered by its maker in Hamburg, Germany, to Mandala on Sept 19, Iranda Susilo said during the launch of New Mandala - Lowfarexperience here on Friday.

Mandala was expected to operate the A-319 plane starting Oct 1, he said.

Mandala, which is 51 percent owned by Cardig International and 49 percent by Indigo Partners is the first Indonesian airline company to be operating an A-320 plane.

The airline company is putting an order for 25 Airbus 320 Family planes priced at US$60-70 million each to modernize its fleet as well as to increase its domestic routes to 20.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Posco begins feasibility study on East Kalimantan rail project

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A business consortium led by South Korean conglomerate Posco Engineering and Construction Ltd. has begun a feasibility study on the construction of a 350-km railway in East Kalimantan.

The railway, which will be specially designed for the transportation of coal in the province, will require an investment of about Rp 22 trillion (about US$2 billion), Antara reported Wednesday.

Other consortium members are Kenertec Co. Ltd., also of South Korea, and two local firms, PT Nuansa Cipta Coal Investment (NCCI) and PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI).

"We are optimistic that the project will prove to be feasible. We only have to wait for the feasibility study results, which will come through in October," representative director of Kenertec, Guang Yil Hong, told reporters after a meeting with the East Kalimantan administration Tuesday.

Guang said that the rail line would be 350 km in length and link East Kalimantan with Central Kalimantan.

Head of accident prevention at KAI, Budi Noviantoro, said that coal had been transported to date in East Kalimantan by barge to Balikpapan.

He said that the rail line would be able to carry 18.5 million tons of coal per year.

He said that according to a 2006 report by Nippon Koe and Marubeni, the Mahakam route was the preferred one as it passed through areas with the biggest reserves of coal in Kalimantan.

"Construction will start from Balikpapan through Kalipapak, Central Kalimantan, and end in Muara Tuhuk, which is projected to become a coal terminal," he said.

NCCI director Makbul Sujudi said that if the project turned out to be feasible, the consortium would start construction work in 2009, with completion expected within three or four years.

Disaster training for medical officers

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (Antara): The Ministry of Health said it has established an international training consortium on disaster risk reduction (ITC-DRR) this month to better handle disaster response management.

The ministry's spokesperson Lily Sulistyowati said the consortium, which involves universities, hospitals, and health institutions, will provide training for disaster relief workers.

Disaster relief efforts have been in progress for some time, with ongoing emergency management training for 1,149 medical officers posted across nine regional crisis centers, she said.

"The training program began in 2006, and involves officers from Medan, Palembang, Jakarta, Semarang, Surabaya, Bali, Banjarmasin, Makassar and Manado," the spokesperson said Friday.

Training areas include disaster management, radio communication, emergency treatment, medicine and logistics management, rapid health assessment, advanced cardio life support, as well as advanced trauma life support.

Medical officers need specialized skills in disaster relief management, including categorizing patients, setting priorities and how best to deliver medical assistance.

Lily also said disaster response management, especially health services, facilities and equipment, needs improvement because disasters are often followed by various health problems.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

TNT Express Indonesia to focus on growing European market

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

TNT Express Indonesia, a top business-to-business express carrier firm, has launched a Euro Expert program under its TNT Economy Express service to expand business and focus on the European market.

TNT Express Indonesia director Peter Langley said in a statement that the program was aimed at encouraging more customers to use TNT Economy Express, which offers an economical alternative for less urgent shipments.

He added that shipments could contain items ranging in weight from 20 kg up to 500 kg, such as heavyweight electronics, automotive and computing equipment to textiles and fragile life science goods.

"As the trade between Indonesia and EU looks set to grow further and expand into various sectors, the launch of TNT's Euro Expert Economy Express offers enhanced connectivity, efficient and reliable economy services," Langley said.

Currently, the EU is Indonesia's second largest trading partner after Japan.

TNT Express Indonesia, which started its business in 1979 under the name of PT Skypak International, now has more than 17 branch offices, 14 agents and 600 staff, and operates through six gateways -- Jakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, Balikpapan, Medan and Batam.

Indonesian government awards Rp3.2 trln toll road project to Bakrie

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian conglomerate PT Bakrie & Brothers said Tuesday the government has named its consortium the winner in the tender to build a 25-kilometer toll road in east Jakarta at an estimated cost of 3.2 trillion rupiah.

The Bakrie consortium beat the other contender for the project, namely the Thiess-Waskita consortium, Bakrie president Bobby Gafur Umar told Thomson Financial.

He said the Bakrie consortium also includes Global Financindo and Malaysian toll road operator Projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan Bhd (PLUS), a unit of Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the investment arm of Malaysia's ministry of finance.

Gafur said construction of the project will start in the third quarter 2008 and is targeted to be completed in 2010.

The consortium will be granted a concession period of 35 years during which it will generate revenue from the toll road.

Existing Indonesian law stipulates that toll road fares should be raised every two years. The last hike was just implemented two weeks ago.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Some systems to detect wind shear were not working at time of Thai crash: Official

The Jakarta Post

PHUKET, Thailand (AP): Half of the systems to detect potentially dangerous wind shear were not working at the time of a crash at a Phuket airport that killed 89 people on board and injured more than 40 others, officials said Tuesday.

The budget One-Two-Go Airlines flight OG269 was carrying 123 passengers and seven crew from Bangkok to Phuket when it skidded off a runway Sunday while landing in driving wind and rain, catching fire and engulfing some passengers in flames as others kicked out windows to escape.

Investigators have said wind shear - a sudden change in either wind speed or direction in an aircraft's flight path that can destabilize a plane - was among the possible causes of the crash.

"Three out of six low-level wind shear alert systems were not working at the time," said Vuttichai Singhamanee, director of flight standard bureau of Transport Ministry's Aviation Authority Department.

Vuttichai said the solar-powered systems - which were out of power at the time of the crash - could have made it difficult for the pilot Arief Mulyadi, to judge whether it was safe to land.

Mulyadi, who died in the crash, had come under fire from some Transport Ministry officials for landing, despite warnings from the flight tower about treacherous wind shear at the airport.

While it is too early to definitively say what caused the crash, Kajit Habnanonda, president of Orient-Thai Airlines, which owns One-Two-Go, also pointed to wind shear as a possible factor.

Kajit also defended the pilot Tuesday as having "plenty of aviation experience under his belt."

Kajit said the pilot who flew the doomed aircraft was one of the best pilots in his firm.

Pilot of doomed Thai flight knew of wind threat

Bangkok (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian pilot of a budget airliner that crashed on the Thai resort island of Phuket tried to land despite being warned of windshear threats, a Thai air traffic control official said on Tuesday.

Two other pilots had reported dramatic changes in wind speed and direction as they landed minutes before the doomed One-Two-Go flight, which crashed in a fierce monsoon storm, killing 89 people.

"The pilot definitely knew about the windshear because he was on the same radio frequency as the previous two planes," Kamtorn Sirikorn, a senior executive at air traffic controller Aerothai, told Reuters.

"The control tower repeated the conditions to him and he acknowledged them just before the landing. The tape I listened to verified this," he said, referring to the communications between the control tower and the plane.

The McDonnell Douglas MD-82 veered off the runway before smashing into a wooded embankment and bursting into flames.

Most of the dead were foreign tourists.

The Indonesian flight captain and his Thai co-pilot were both killed, but 41 people survived a crash likely to raise more safety questions about the budget carriers that have sprung up across Asia in the last decade.

"We did not ask him to abort the landing because it was not our job to do so. We would advise against landing only if the runway was not clear or there was no visibility," he said.

There have been reports that the pilot could not see the airstrip, but Kamtorn said visibility was 4 km (2.5 miles), "which was quite sufficient for a safe landing and for the pilot to see the runway".

Monday, September 17, 2007

Regional government leaders should not joint evacuation, Yudhoyono says

Bengkulu (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered regional government leaders not to leave their tasks behind and join evacuation when a national disaster hit their areas.

"Leaders must have the sense of willing to sacrifice for their people in handling a natural disaster though it is something difficult to face," the president said when observing the center of Bengkulu Natural Disaster Mitigation Task Force (Satkolak PBA) here on Monday.

President Yudhoyono, who was accompanied by Chief Minister for People`s Welfare Aburizal Bakri, Health Minister Siti Fadillah Supari and Indonesian Defense Forces Commander Djoko Suyanto, symbolically handed over relief aid to Bengkulu Governor Agusrin Maryono Najamudin.

He said that he could not accept if regional leaders were also `evacuated` when there were emergency situations such as the ones befalling the provinces of Bengkulu, West Sumatra and other regions.

The president said the disaster impacts would be difficult to be managed well and maximally if the leaders left their tasks behind.

"I will not blame them if they evacuate because there are aftershocks or tsunami but they can still issue instructions from their evacuation places so that the people would not lose control," he said.

A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 rocked Indonesia`s Bengkulu province at 6.10 p.m. on Wednesday, claiming the lives of 14 people and injuring 23 others.

The president said that in an emergency situation a leader must be ready to stay awake all the time if needed. "If a leader does not carry out his or her tasks well it could be ascertained that the job would not be settled effectively," he added.

On the occasion, the president also asked regional governments not to provide misleading information from irrelevant agencies aside from, for example, the Geophysics and Meteorology Agency.

He also made the same appeal to the media publications, electronic or print, advising them they quote news from official sources.

President to spend night in quake-hit place

Bengkulu (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said here Monday he would spend the night in a quake-affected place in Sumatra so as to show local community leaders what they should among other things do when there was a natural disaster in their jurisdiction.

Speaking during a visit to Bengkulu`s Provincial Natural Disaster Handling Center (Satkorlak), the president said he wanted to spend the night in a quake-hit place in order to make sure that government decisions, instructions and policy on mitigation of the disaster were right.

The president, who had just listened to a report on the impact of last Wednesday`s powerful earthquake from Bengkulu Governor Agusrin Maryono Najamudin, said he would sleep in a disaster-hit spot to set an example to district heads (who were responsible for disaster mitigation efforts in the field) on how they could make sure that their measures to deal with an emergency were right and effective.

"I will bave no tolerance for any regional chief who fails to do his or her job in an an emergency situation," Yudhoyono said.

The president said, a leader who avoided taking a risk, was not a good leader. Therefore, he called on district chiefs across the country to prepare themselves and, if necessary, take risks to help residents when there was a disaster.

Yudhoyono said when earthquakes hit Nabire in Papua, Nias and other areas, he did the same thing.

"I slept in a makeshift tent in Nabire while the area was being rocked by aftershocks," the head of state said.

On the occasion, the president also expressed his condolences to the families of earthquake victims in Bengkulu, and his gratitude to all the parties involved in emergency response efforts.

After his visit to Bengkulu`s Satkorlak, the President and his entourage boarded helicopters to visit quake-hit locations and victims in Muko Muko district and later proceeded to West Sumatra.

Indonesia August motorcycle sales up 17 pct from July, led by Honda

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian domestic motorcycle sales in August rose 17 percent from July to 429,156 bikes, with Honda taking the biggest market share, data released Monday by the Indonesian Motorcycle Industry Association show.

Honda regained its market leadership after losing it to Yamaha in July, with sales in August of 187,544 bikes compared to Yamaha's 168,708, Thomson Financial reported citing the association.

In July, Honda's sales reached 143,305 compared to Yamaha's 162,111 units.

Honda bikes sold domestically are produced by PT Astra Honda Motor, a 50-50 joint venture between PT Astra International and Japan's Honda Motor Co.

Suzuki was the third biggest-selling brand, with sales of 65,334 bikes in August, up 22 percent from July.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

More than 15,000 buildings damaged in Indonesian quake

Ketahun, Indonesia (ANTARA News) - More than 15,000 buildings collapsed or were seriously damaged by a series of massive earthquakes striking Indonesia's Sumatra, authorities said Saturday as the death toll rose to 17.

An initial 8.4-magnitude quake struck at dusk off Sumatra's west coast on Wednesday and was followed by a series of major aftershocks, jolting the coastal provinces of Bengkulu and West Sumatra most severely.

In Bengkulu, nearly 2,000 houses were totally flattened and nearly 4,000 others badly damaged, said Bowo Santoso from the governor's disaster rescue centre. About 90 local hospitals and clinics were also damaged, he added.

In West Sumatra, more than 9,700 houses collapsed or were too badly damaged to be inhabitable, said Suryadi from the disaster rescue centre there. More than 100 mosques and about 20 school buildings were also damaged, he said.

Meanwhile Hercules transport planes were to try to drop aid on several islands in the Mentawai group off Sumatra which were badly hit by the quake and a small tsunami, said an official in the city of Padang.

Frans Karel, an official on Pagai Utara island, said no aid had yet been received and many frightened villagers were still sheltering in the hills.

"We haven't yet received aid. All the kiosks have collapsed and their food stocks are wet," he told AFP by telephone.

"Almost 75 percent of houses on the coastline along a 10-kilometre (eight miles) stretch are badly damaged and collapsed."

Rescue workers were still scouring rubble to hunt for victims feared to be trapped under collapsed houses, Rustam Pakaya from the health ministry's crisis centre told ElShinta radio.

The death toll was now at 17, and 88 people were injured, he said.

Bus-truck collision in Indonesia kills 10, injures 15

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (AP): Ten people were killed and 15 others injured when a truck collided head on Saturday with a packed bus, sending it hurtling into a river in East Java's city of Ngawi, police said.

The accident occurred as the speeding truck changed lanes to miss a pothole in the town of Ngawi in East Java.

The truck slammed into the bus hauling 30 people, then plunged into a river near Ngawi, about 520 kilometers east of Jakarta, said local police Capt. Irfan Susanto.

Six passengers were killed instantly, and four others, including the bus driver, died in nearby hospitals, he said.

Fifteen others were hospitalized with cuts and broken bones. Some remained in critical condition, including the truck driver and a 3-year-old boy, Susanto said.

"It's the most unsafe road in this area due to holes and damaged pavement that has not yet been repaired," Susanto said. "Drivers have to watch out and slow down."

Road accidents are common on Indonesia's crowded highways, where buses and trucks are poorly maintained and traffic laws are often ignored.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

High rises unaffected by quakes: BMG

Mustaqim Adamrah and Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) said Thursday the earthquake and aftershocks that rattled western Sumatra on Wednesday would not affect buildings in the capital.

"All buildings and infrastructure in Jakarta have been designed to adapt to quakes," earthquake division head Suhardjono said at the agency's headquarters.

The epicenter of Wednesday's 7.9-Richter-scale earthquake was some 100 kilometers southwest of the capital of Bengkulu and at a depth of about 15 kilometers.

Bystanders on Jl. Jend. Sudirman, Central Jakarta, reportedly saw office buildings sway during the quake.

The Jakarta disaster coordinating task force head, Bobby Aryono, said the unit had not received any reports of damaged buildings as of Thursday afternoon.

Suhardjono said the buildings and infrastructure were designed to sway according to the movement created by an earthquake and thus were safe from it.

"So, Jakartans should not have panicked or been hysterical. Moreover, the epicenter was far (from the capital). It would have been another story if the epicenter were nearby," he said.

However, geotechnical engineering researcher at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences Adrin Tohari said that Jakarta's northern coastal area was vulnerable to liquefaction during earthquakes as it sat on unsolid soil.

Liquefaction makes the ground lose its ability to support structures.

"It would ruin buildings and blow up pipelines planted below the surface. The reclamation areas on the northern coastline are prone to liquefaction," he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

Adrin made the prediction based on his research on the impact of an earthquake on liquefaction risks in Bengkulu.

The research, carried out in July, found that an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale that hit Bengkulu in 2000 caused land subsidence of between 20 centimeters to 30 cm in coastal areas.

"The composition of Bengkulu's coastal areas is mostly cohesion-less sands and clay similar to Jakarta's northern coastal zone," he said.

Houses in coastal areas of Bengkulu collapsed in the 2000 earthquake.

The Jakarta administration is reclaiming a 32-kilometer stretch of northern coastline to add about 2,700 hectares of land to the city.

The land will be used for industrial parks, hotels, office buildings and upscale accommodation for up to 1.19 million residents.

The BMG recorded three aftershocks in Sumatra on Wednesday and Thursday and issued a tsunami warning.

Suhardjono said that the quake and its aftershocks resulted from clashes and friction between the Indo-Australian tectonic plate and the Eurasian tectonic plate.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Govt declares emergency response status for Bengkulu and Padang

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government has declared an emergency response status for Bengkulu and Padang respectively for a week and three days following quakes that had rattled the two regions on Wednesday and Thursday.

The decision to that effect was made at a limited cabinet meeting chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at the Halim Perdanakusuma air force base here on Thursday evening.

In the meeting which was also attended by Vice President Jusuf Kalla and a number of cabinet ministers it was reported that 10 people had so far been found killed in the disaster, namely six in Bengkulu and four in West Sumatra.

At a press conference after the meeting President Yudhoyono said he had told heads of the regions rocked by the quake who happened to be out of town or abroad to immediately return home to direct emergency response efforts.

"As aftershocks still continued, he called on residents in affected areas to remain alert. They must be in full alert while continuing their emergency response efforts and must not panic as operating procedures for dealing with natural disasters are already in place and trainings in dealing with disasters were about to be started," he said.

On the occasion the President also offered his condolences to the families and relatives of the quake victims and called for immediate attention to the injured.

He said although the tremors were quite strong, reports and results of inspections in the quake-ridden areas said the damage caused to the two affected regions was minimum, including the number of deaths.

He praised the people who had learnt a lesson from the quakes and tsunami in Aceh in 2004. "I heard that the local governments` response to the disaster and the swiftness of the people in seeking safety have been better. This deserves an appreciation. The results are good," he said.

In spite of the fact he said that the government would contine to improve the system of disaster handling including logistics supply, so that any disaster could be handled quickly by local governments and the central government would only help in case of a huge disaster.

Information minister Muhammad Nuh meanwhile said two islands namely Mentawai and Muko-Muko still remained isolated after the quake and telephone lines there had also been cut off so that the real situation in the areas was still not known.

Bengkulu quake detected in five minutes only

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) managed to detect the tectonic quake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale which rocked Bengkulu on Wednesday in five minutes only, the agency said.

"We managed to obtain the data on the epicenter of the quake in a relatively short time. Only in five minutes, after which we could release the information," Dr P.J. Prih Harjadi, BMG Deputy for Data and Information Systems said when contacted from Jakarta on Thursday.

He said the speed of detection depended on the magnitude of the quake.

"If the magnitude is high, many BMG seismographic stations in different parts of the country will be able to catch the signals, so that within three or four minutes information can be sent to BMG head office," Prih said.

"The ability of BMG stations to detect quakes in a relatively short time is an improvement," he said.

In the past, BMG stations were only equipped with apparatuses and devices to record the vibrations, but now they have instruments to detect the speed and magnitude of a quake to predict tsunami, he said.

Compared to data from the US Geological Survey Institution (USGS), the BMG stations in Indonesia are much quicker than the USGS which could release the result of its detection in ten minutes.

The death toll of the powerful earthquake that rocked the southern coast of Sumatra island on Wednesday evening has reached nine by Thursday afternoon.

"Six people were killed in Bengkulu and three in West Sumatra," Deputy Head of the National Disaster Mitigation Coordination Board Thabrani said.

The earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 also left 43 people injured, 23 of them serious, he said.

In Bengkulu which bore the brunt of Wednesday`s earthquake, at least 32 houses were levelled to the ground and 335 others seriously damaged, he said.

VP thankful early warning system proved beneficial in Bengkulu quake

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Vice President Jusuf Kalla has expressed gratitude for the fact that people in coastal areas had benefited from existing early warning systems when a powerful earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale rattled Bengkulu and West Sumatra provinces on Wednesday evening.

"The public`s awareness about unpredicted disasters has improved. When the earthquake struck, people in coastal areas immediately fled their homes to escape a possible ensuing tsunami. Therefore, I am thankful that the early warning systems worked," Kalla said in his capacity as chairman of the National Coordinating Board for Refugee and Natural Disaster Mitigation here on Thursday.

He said the small number of fatalities in the powerful earthquake which hit Bengkulu and Jambi on Wednesday proved that the people had already become aware of the advantages of having early warning systems.

"There are two measures that we should take in the future. The first is we have to prepare people to face disasters, the second is train them continually while preparing the logistics and medical supplies when we are in emergency situations," Kalla said.

He said people should also improve the structures and foundations of their houses in order to be able to survive earthquakes.

Kalla said the government had already made examples and prescribed good standards of quake-resistant buildings, although it would take time for people to follow them.

On the occasion, the vice president also expressed his gratitude to the media which had continued to warn the people against the possible occurrence of tsunami.

"My sincere gratitude also goes to the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) which has accurately warned the people of impending disaster," Kalla said, adding that he was also thankful that only minor damage was done by Wednesday`s earthquake.

PMI begins sending relief aid to Bengkulu quake victims

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) on Thursday began sending relief aid to victims of the earthquake that hit Bengkulu province on Wednesday.

The humantarian organization on Thursday sent 1,000 pieces of tarpaulin, 1,500 hygiene kits, 150 packages of family kits from its warehouses in Padang, West Sumatra, and medicine for about 1,000 patients from its warehouse in Jakarta, the PMI said in a statement.

"The aid will be handed over to Bengkulu`s PMI office which will distribute it to victims," the head of PMI`s Disaster Handling Division, Arifin Muh. Hadi, said.

In the meantime, PMI Bengkulu had deployed 30 volunteers to carry out a field assessment in North Bengkulu, the worst-hit area.

PMI`s assistance would be distributed based on the results of the field assessment.

A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 that rocked Indonesia`s Bengkulu province at 6.10 p.m. on Wednesday has claimed the lives of six people, injured 23 others and damaged tens of houses, public buildings and infrastructure facilities.

According to reports received by the Bengkulu branch of the Natural Disaster Mitigation Coordination Agency (Bakorna) at 11 am on Thursday, the newly discovered victims were residents of Bengkulu Utara and Muko Muko districts, Hamsyir Lair, the chief of the agency`s local unit, said.

Some 32 houses and shophouses were totally destroyed -- eight in Bengkulu City and 24 in Bengkulu Utara --, 430 buildings were seriously damaged and 609 others suffered minor damage.

Hamsyir said the natural disaster had also wreaked havoc on eight houses of worship in Bengkulu City and Bengkulu Utara while three school buildings suffered minor damage.

Although the tremblor was not as catastrophic as the 7.3 magnitude quake of June 4, 2000 when 95 people were killed and tens of thousands of house buildings were damaged, it caused anxiety about a tsunami.