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. …

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Toyota asked to increase investment in Indonesia

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government has asked Toyota Motor Corp (TMC) to increase its investment in Indonesia by expanding its production capacity considering the fact that the Japanese car maker is the automotive market leader in Indonesia.

"We hope that Toyota which is the automotive market leader here will increase its investment in order to maintain its major market-share in Indonesia," Director General for Transportation Equipment Industry Budi Darmadi said here on Tuesday.

He said Toyota through PT Toyota Astra Motor (TAM) was the automotive market leader as it controlled 30 percent of the automotive market in Indonesia.

Demand for Toyota brand cars was continuing to increase significantly, he said.

"At present demand for Toyota cars, particularly the Avanza, Rush and Innova models, is increasing. The span of indent orders has even reached three months," the director general said.

In response to a question on TMC`s request to improve access facilities to Tanjung Priok port, the director general said the government already had medium- and long-term plans to improve the access system to the port.

"The government already has plans to overcome the bottle-neck into the port in the next few years," he said adding that the plans included the development of a flyover to overcome traffic jams in industrial zones.

Air Force Hawk-200 fighter plane crashes at Pekanbaru airport

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - A Hawk 200 fighter plane of the Indonesian Air Force`s Pekanbaru air base crashed at one end of the Sultan Syarif Kasim II airport`s runway here on Tuesday.

The plane crashed in an upside-down position at the same spot where another Hawk 200 fighter plane met a similar fate in November 2006.

The accident site lay close to a local residential area in Maharatu village, Marpoyan Damai sub district, Pekanbaru.

Up to now, the Pekanbaru air base had not yet issued any statement regarding the accident. However, an Air Force officer, Major Dede, earlier confirmed that the ill-fated plane was a Hawk 200 but he refused to give more details.

Local residents living around the accident site said that the accident occurred at around 9.00 am on Tuesday (Oct. 30).

Dewi, a local resident, said she had noticed there might be an air force exercise which produced a lot of noise at the airport and suddenly she heard the very loud sound of an explosion.

A few moments later many air force and military officers arrived at the location.

"Before they came, we had already rushed to the location of the explosion. We clearly saw a plane in upside-down position," she said.

Air Force and military officers then tightly guarded the location and barred reporters from approaching the spot.

Jakarta gov announces 100-day priorities

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Governor Fauzi Bowo on Monday unveiled the working plan for his first 100 days in office, with his priorities focused on tackling some of Jakarta's most pressing problems.

Speaking at a press conference at City Hall, the governor said his 100-day plan, which covers the period of Oct. 8 to Jan. 15, included 19 priority programs that "will help create a more comfortable Jakarta for everyone".

"I guarantee you that we'll finalize these 19 programs within 100 days. These programs have also been taken into account in the 2007 revised city budget," Fauzi said.

"I have my staff to support me. I'll bind them with a contract that will stipulate punishments and rewards for those involved. All you have to do is just watch the process."

The governor did not elaborate on the planned punishments and rewards.

One of the priority programs is easing chronic traffic jams caused by the ongoing construction of busway lanes.

Three new corridors are being built, linking Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta to Harmoni in Central Jakarta; Pinang Ranti in East Jakarta to Pluit in North Jakarta; and Cililitan in East Jakarta to Tanjung Priok in North Jakarta.

"We'll expand the streets alongside the busway lane construction and build ramps on busway lanes for motorists temporarily to use them, as well as assigning officers from the public order and city transportation agencies to monitor areas prone to traffic jams," Fauzi said.

The governor also promised the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project, which eventually will stretch 14.3 kilometers from South Jakarta's Lebak Bulus to Central Jakarta's Dukuh Atas, would begin by the end of the year.

"The loan for the MRT, or subway, project is now secured. We're expecting to have a company to handle the project by this year, with recruitment to be opened soon," he said.

The money for the MRT project, which is expected to cost Rp 8.3 trillion (US$910 million), will be provided by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation in soft loans.

Another program calls for the administration to finish acquiring land for the East Flood Canal, a project that is expected to help reduce annual flooding in the capital.

The administration needs to complete the acquisition of 13 hectares of land from residents of North Jakarta's Rorotan and Marunda subdistricts.

Fauzi's priority programs

  1. Mitigating traffic jams caused by the ongoing construction of busway corridors VIII, IX and X
  2. Managing and re-routing traffic
  3. Preparing Mass Rapid Transit project
  4. Improving existing city institutions and issuing related regulations
  5. Mitigating floods
  6. Giving aid to the poor in the form of scholarship, staple foods and health insurance
  7. Providing more regulations, public facilities and easier access for handicapped
  8. Revitalizing Jakarta's slums
  9. Fighting drug abuse
  10. Intensifying communication between the governor and Jakartans

ADB to provide loan for building highway from Penang to Medan

Medan (ANTARA News) - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is planning to provide a loan for the construction of infrastructure including a highway from Penang in Malaysia and Songkla in Thailand to Medan in Indonesia to improve the growth triangle cooperation.

"The result of an evaluation by the ADB has contributed a great deal to the development of the Indonesia- Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT)," Arthur M.D. Batubara, an executive of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), said here on Monday.

He made the statement after an audience with North Sumatra Governor Rudolf M Pardede to discuss the meeting between businessmen and farmers on the agricultural and plantation products from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia to be held in Samosir, North Sumatra in November.

The ADB plan really make the government and businessmen of the three countries enjoy the benefits of the establishment of the IMT-GT.

As to the meeting between the businessmen and farmers of the three countries in Samosir, Arthur said that around 120 delegates from Malaysia and Thailand had expressed readiness to participate in the event.

In the meeting, Arthur hoped the cooperation between the farmers and agriculture/plantation businessmen in Malaysia, Thailand and North Sumatra could become a reality.

"Cooperation in making use of the plantations and agriculture sector in North Sumatra is quite feasible," he said.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cars to use biofuel in Bali during climate change conference

Prodita Sabarini and Adianto Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Denpasar

All motor vehicles entering the Nusa Dua area in Bali's Badung regency during the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference will run on biofuel, an official says.

"All cars provided by the organizer will use biofuel," special assistant to Environment Minister Agus Purnomo said in Jakarta.

Agus, who is head organizer of the conference, said that they would provide transportation for delegates. He did not disclose the number of vehicles.

Some 10,000 delegates from 191 nations will meet in Bali at the Nusa Dua Resort complex in December to begin talks on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the first commitment phase of which expires in 2012.

Agus said that the fuel was considered to be more environmentally friendly than regular petroleum.

Association of Entrepreneurs in Oil and Gas (Hiswana Migas) Bali chapter head Dewa Astama said Saturday that 10 gas stations in Denpasar and Badung regency would be ready to provide biofuel from state-owned oil company Pertamina.

Pertamina Denpasar office spokesman Pamuji Harjo said that the company would launch its Bio-Pertamax in November.

"It will be a soluble mix of 5 percent plant-derived-fuel and 95 percent low octane petroleum," he said.

"The price will be the same as Pertamax," he said.

Biofuel is liquid or gas fuel derived from biomass. In principle, biofuel creates lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional transport fuels.

However, activists are concerned that land clearing for plantations threatens local wildlife and forests.

The use of petroleum-based pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers ensures that most palm oil cultivation is not only polluting on a local level but also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmentalist Emil Salim is a biofuel skeptic. He said Friday at a discussion on global warming at Paramadina University in Jakarta that biofuel should be the last call after all other alternative sources of energy.

"Biofuel should be the least prioritized after we develop other sources of energy such as solar, wind and river," he said.

He said biofuels needed a lot of land for their plantations.

"Indonesian land should be saved for food supply first," said Emil, who is also a former environment minister.

Flood drill to prepare residents

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post): The East Jakarta municipality civilian police unit and dozens of Cipinang Melayu subdistrict residents took part in a flood drill on Saturday.

The drill included evacuation training and arresting looters who were robbing flooded houses, news portal Detik reported.

In the evacuation training, which was observed by Deputy Governor Prijanto, a team of the National Search and Rescue Agency workers saved flood victims and led them to a nearby refugee camp.

The team also used three dinghies in the drill to save trapped residents on the Kalimalang riverbank.

For the mock arrest, municipal guards moved to capture 11 looters who were raiding empty houses. The guards escorted them to a local police station

Sunday, October 28, 2007

SAS cuts 57 flights after Q400-grounding

Sun Oct 28, 2007 10:36am GMT

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Scandinavian airline SAS (SAS.ST: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Sunday it had cancelled 57 flights because its fleet of Q400 turboprops was grounded following the crash-landing of one of the aircraft in Copenhagen.

The landing gear of an SAS Q400 collapsed on landing at Copenhagen's Kastrup airport on Saturday, but no one was seriously injured.

SAS said in a statement it had cancelled 49 flights on Sunday and eight flights on Monday.

Scandinavian aviation authorities on Saturday issued a new flight ban on all SAS's Q400 turboprops shortly after the incident.

The Scandinavian airline last month grounded its entire fleet of 27 Q400 planes, built by Canada's Bombardier (BBDb.TO: Quote, Profile, Research), after two crash landings in September, one in Lithuania and one in Denmark.

Both incidents involved problems with the planes' landing gear, but no one was seriously hurt.

The Q400 is designed for regional services and carries up to 78 passengers.

SAS, 50 percent owned by the governments of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, restarted Q400 flights this month after hundreds of cancellations after replacing part of the landing gear, and wants compensation from Bombardier to cover the losses.

The collapse of the main landing gear in the September incidents has been attributed to corrosion. But official investigations by Lithuanian and Danish authorities have not yet been completed.

Paving the way to get plastic out of rivers

The Jakarta Post

The rainy season is back! Even though we've only had pre-dawn showers down here at the coast, there are telltale signs on the beach of the deluge in the hills: Plastic wrappers, bottles and rubber sandals are blending in with seaweed, bits of trees and blobs of bitumen. Water is the only reliable cleaning service around here, but she's got to deliver the junk somewhere.

Cleaning and waste disposal is not a sexy topic with local government (yet). This could change if voters demand the service, but for now local government prefer spending their budget on larger commissions, visible high profile projects involve procuring big things: The 16 billion rupiah seawall on our beach, for instance.

Actively trying to ignore the dance and sound intrusion of the three mechanical swans packing giant boulders that crunch and crackle into a sloping seawall, I hardly notice the debris left by the outgoing tide. Preoccupied with cloud formations and the glimmering horizon, our willful dogs tugging at their leash jerk me back to the present.

And onto a sharp shard. I've a hole in my footgiving the burning signs of an infection. As I write, I'm soaking it in warm brine to soften the thick skin before opening it up to clean and disinfect with 70% alcohol. There's a silver lining to this monsoon cloud. This column is due and I can't walk away from this desk for a while.

There are not enough landfills to accept the waste we produce. Rubbish collection is unreliable. In Bali, even municipal rubbish collection trucks resort to dumping into rivers. Up in the hills locals and businesses often dump their waste into ravines to get it out of sight. Once the rains start, this all gets flushed downhill. The debris regularly clogs drains and causes flooding, which is a nuisance to all, but most persist in their habits because of a perception that there is no alternative.

Rivers flow to the sea carrying a wealth of waste. A lot of it is recyclable. There must be an alternative, wouldn't you agree? Imagine yourself as a primary school student at a rural village in Bali sitting your end of year exams. Here is a question from previous years that touches on sanitation: "What is the correct method of disposing your plastic rubbish?"

The exam is multiple choice, so take a pick: (a) Throw it in the river, (b) Burn it, (c) Bury it, or (d) None of the above. Sorry, recycling hasn't quite made it to the school curriculum yet. Obviously we've got to find other options for `none of the above' but for the time being, if you want to ace that exam, the correct answer according to the marking schedule is (b) Burn it.

According to recent studies, plastics can remain as long as 4500 years in the environment.

Dry plastic burns beautifully like wax candles, but it's the carcinogenic dioxins, furans and styrene readily absorbed through lungs and skin I'm worried about.

Household burning of rubbish can increase the risk of heart disease, aggravate respiratory ailments such as asthma and emphysema, and cause rashes, nausea, or headaches. It can damage the nervous system, kidney or liver, and also has a detrimental effect to the reproductive and development systems.

I happen to be one of those hippies who refuse unnecessary plastic bags to the bemusement, amusement or utter confusion and blank disbelief of denizens of checkout counters. A ban on the use of plastic, however, is likely to be futile. Indonesia is too `democratic' -- for lack of a better word -- to be able to enforce such a rule.

The risks to health and safety through increased chances of damage or contamination would also be so great that it would be irresponsible to ban plastic without offering a feasible economic alternative.

As Indian Physicist S. S. Verma puts it, the crux of the issue is more "the judicious use and re-use of plastic".

It's early days of trials yet, but in an article titled "Roads from plastic waste" in India's The Tribune S.S. Verma boasts how roads made of bitumen mixed with plastic can carry heavier loads and can last at least twice as long as their bitumen-only cousins.

The trial plastic roads in India use mainly plastic carry-bags, disposable cups and polyethylene (PET) bottles that are collected from garbage dumps as ingredient material. Mixed with hot bitumen, the plastics melt to form an oily coat over the aggregate and the mixture is laid on the road surface like a normal tar road.

Research has found that shredded plastic waste can act as a strong binding agent for tar, making the asphalt last longer. These plastic roads withstand hotter temperatures on sunny days without melting.

Reducing the porosity of the road, the use of plastic could reduce water-damage to roads, saving money from road repairs. Verma estimates that each km of road with an average width requires over two tons of polyblend.

Wonderful: yet another use for plastic. We know the stuff is valuable, is it time to for a concerted effort to collect and reuse it?

Kadek Krishna Adidharma can be reached at kadek@adidharma.net

Indonesia`s record-breaking bridge on shaky foundations


Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia has brushed aside fears of graft and disaster to pursue plans to build the world's largest suspension bridge -- in one of the most earthquake-prone areas on earth.

The planned Sunda Strait bridge will cross at least 29 kilometres (18 miles) between the country's two most populous islands, Java and Sumatra, and pass at its closest point a mere 50 kilometres from the still-active Krakatau volcano.

That volcano's famous 1883 eruption killed an estimated 36,000 people, mostly from resulting tsunamis.

The current proposal follows the signing of an agreement between two provinces on opposite sides of the strait at the start of October, and represents the culmination of a 40-year dream of connecting the islands.

The 10-billion-dollar bridge, which is in the "pre-feasiblity" study phase, will pass over three smaller islands and include a single uninterrupted span 2.5 kilometres long.

Professor Wiratman Wangsadinata, whose consultancy is involved in the study, says the planned bridge will be around 200 kilometres from the "subduction zone" where the Australian and Asian plates come together.

Wangsadinata says that records show the maximum earthquake that can occur in the zone is 8.5 on the Richter scale. He says plans will work on the assumption that no higher earthquake can occur in that area as the biggest recorded in the region was 8.0.

The bridge will be safe, he says, but it will require international help to pull off.

"To tell you frankly, maybe our expertise domestically is not enough to solve all the problems associated with this project. So we are going to invite experts from all over the world to participate, to give advice and also active participation in the study, in the design, and later on in the construction," he said.

Pri Hariadi, from the Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, thinks Wangsadinata makes the right assumptions, saying: "I believe that (an earthquake) will not pass the 8.5 record."

It will be a long time before the project can be considered safe -- the pre-feasiblity study is scheduled to be completed in 2009 and the feasibility study in 2013 -- but if it does get the green light it will go some way to filling Indonesia's massive infrastructure shortfall.

The Sunda Strait is a key transit point for goods and people between the two islands.

At the moment, around 350,000 people and 25,000 vehicles cross the strait daily in a fleet of between 20 and 30 rusting ferries. The breakdown of only a handful of these ships can cause traffic to snarl for more than a dozen kilometres.

But safety is not the only concern with the plans for the bridge.

Fear of high price tag

The bridge's high price tag -- and the high risk involved in such a long term project -- means there is a possibility the project will fall victim to the kind of cosy financial arrangements that plague business in Indonesia, according to economist and member of Indonesia Corruption Watch, Faisal Basri.

Basri says the head of the construction company currently pushing the bridge, Artha Graha's Tommy Winata, will not go ahead with the project without the involvement of at least some of the nation's big business families.

He says at least one of three big companies -- the Bakrie Group, owned by the family of Coordinating Minister for the People's Welfare Aburizal Bakrie, a member of former dictator Suharto's Golkar Party; Bukaka, owned by Vice President and Golkar member Jusuf Kalla; and Bosawa, owned by Kalla's brother-in-law, Aksa Mahmud -- will be let in on the project.

"Tommy Winata of Artha Graha will cooperate with one of them -- no doubt," he said.

Wangsadinata himself is candid about the bridge's ability to attract unsavoury attention. However, he says the fact the project will be done by the private sector -- and funded by foreign investment -- means the risk of corruption will be much lower.

Wangsadinata says dealing with bureaucracy will be the biggest corruption risk. But even with this, he concedes he may not "succeed a hundred percent".

U.S. and Chinese carriers launch regional airline

Sat Oct 27, 2007 11:01pm EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - Kunpeng Airlines, a venture between China's Shenzhen Airlines Ltd and U.S.-based Mesa Air Group Inc (MESA.O: Quote, Profile, Research) has begun operating in China's northwest Shaanxi Province, Xinhua said late on Saturday.

The new airline is the first such venture by a U.S. carrier in the growing Chinese market, and hopes to expand rapidly before next year's Beijing Olympic Games.

The airline gives Mesa a foothold in one of the world's fastest growing economies at a time when expansion for regional carriers in the United States is slowing.

Kunpeng Airlines, in which the Chinese partner has a controlling stake, has three 50-seat Bombardier (BBDb.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) CRJ-200 jets, said Xinhua. The airline plans to expand its fleet to six aircraft by the year-end and to 20 before next August's Olympics.

Mesa flies regional routes for several U.S. carriers, including US Airways Group Inc (LCC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Delta Air Lines Inc (DALRQ.PK: Quote, Profile, Research). It also runs an inter-island service in Hawaii.

Shenzhen Airlines, with a fleet of 45 aircraft, flies 100 routes in China and Southeast Asia.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Accident, theft put train trips at risk

Suherdjoko and Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, Semarang, Medan

Central Java Police have recorded more than 100 train accidents in the province from January to October this year, as well as some 30 cases of theft, with train rails and the bolts that hold them in place among the items stolen.

Meanwhile, train company PT Kereta Api Indonesia in North Sumatra has declared an alert because railway theft -- suspected to be the work of organized groups -- has been rampant over the past three years.

Director of Central Java Police traffic division, Sr. Comr. Gatta Chaeruddin, said the latest train accident occurred when one of the cars on a cargo train went off the track in Batang, some 100 km west of Semarang, the provincial capital, Wednesday.

The theft cases, he said, were concentrated along the northern route, between Tegal and Bojonegoro.

"The worst accident was when a Gumarang passenger train derailed in Grobogan after the tracks were cut by saboteurs. The other cases were pure accidents," he said in Semarang on Friday.

Director of Central Java crime division, Comr. Mashjudi, said the police had apprehended 20 people for stealing railway material.

He said preliminary investigations indicate the crimes are driven by poverty.

Suspects are selling the stolen goods at prices of Rp 2,300 to Rp 3,000 per kilogram.

Mashjudi said the thieves were conducting operations in eight towns, but the majority of them worked alone, not in a network.

"They did not belong to a syndicate and did not know each other."

He said eight of the suspects were arrested in Karanganyar, Surakarta, Blora, Tegal, Grobogan, Semarang, Brebes and Banyumas. Two of them -- suspected of stealing materiel in Gondangrejo and Karanganyar -- were teenagers living near the railway.

In Blora, police found railroad ties being stolen by farm workers to fashion ax handles.

Train company spokesman Warsono said the company had taken action to prevent similar thefts in the future.

"Now we'll be checking the tracks twice instead of once a day. Obviously, this type of theft poses a serious threat to the safety of train passengers," Warsono said.

He said on the Semarang-Jakarta route, certain checks could be done electronically; unexpected circumstances automatically set off alarms.

Other routes, such as the one running east of Semarang through Bojonegoro and Surabaya, must be checked manually, making it difficult for the authorities to timely discover and remedy obstructions.

In North Sumatra, the train company has, of necessity, requested assistance from the police, regency leaders and mayors to secure theft-prone stretches of track, company spokesman Suhendro Budi Santoso said.

There are three train routes in the province: the 400-km Medan-Rantau route which is prone to theft, the 125-km Medan-Pematang Siantar route and a 21-km stretch between Medan and Binjai.

The railway is not blaming poverty. "Those involved in stealing train material in this area are organized and we need help, including from the police, to deal with this," he told The Jakarta Post.

From January to September this year, three train accidents have taken place in the province. One of them was allegedly due to sabotage of the tracks.

New cargo plane to serve Wamena

The Jakarta Post

WAMENA, Papua: Trigana Air Service on Thursday extended its air cargo service to the Jayawijaya region. The service is expected to improve the flow of certain staple foods into the remote regency.

Trigana will operate a Hercules L100-30 plane making four daily trips between Jayapura and Wamena, seven days a week. The plane can carry up to 20 tons of cargo.

Jayapura administration secretary Chris Wopari said he thought the service would ease the food supply problems that frequently plague the area.

"Hopefully, the availability of a regular air cargo service will help bring in a steady supply of basic necessities and push down prices," he said.

The region's remoteness and difficult terrain has resulted in sky-high prices for basic necessities. In Wamena, a liter of cooking oil sells for Rp 20,000, more than double the Jakarta price.

In the neighboring regency of Puncak Jaya, cement costs as much as Rp 1.5 million per sack, nearly four times prices in Java.

Seven-year-old crash survivor still recovering

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A 7-year-old survivor of a car crash that claimed her parents lives over the Idul Fitri holiday is still recovering.

A doctor at Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital in Central Jakarta said Thursday doctors and relatives of Rasya had decided not to tell her about the death of her parents in the accident.

"She's still traumatized," the doctor treating Rasya in the intensive care unit, Rismala Dewi, said.

"But Rasya seems to have acknowledged her parents' death already ... she has said many times, crying, 'Aunty, my mom has gone,' to her aunt," Rismala said.

The hospital has provided Rasya with psychological care to help her recover from the trauma, she said.

Rasya lost her parents -- Isran, 38, and Santi, 35 -- after a car accident that also took the life of the family's maid, 25-year-old Yani, last Sunday evening on the Jakarta-Merak tollway.

When the axle on a speeding Sri Kerta Bumi bus heading toward Merak broke, the bus crashed into two oncoming vehicles.

Twelve people died in the accident, including Rasya's parents, while 19 others were injured.

Rasya, who was initially taken to Serang hospital, was admitted to Cipto Mangunkusumo the following day.

The girls father Isran was a medical school graduate from Andalas University in Padang, West Sumatra, and a resident at Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital's post-graduate program.

Rismala said Rasya -- who suffered two broken legs in the accident -- had an operation Monday evening to insert steel rods into her legs.

"Rasya is well and getting better. She has been conscious since she was admitted to the hospital," the doctor said. "She knows where her school is and recognizes her closest aunt."

"Apart from her broken bones and several bruises, her physical condition is fine."

Hospital spokeswoman Erna Zain said the only family member who has been with Rasya is her closest aunt, Titi.

"Rasya always holds her aunt's hand, even when she is asleep ... Her aunt can hardly get away to go to the toilet," she said.

Erna said Rasya would be moved to a regular room as soon as one became available.

Rasya and her extended family declined to talk to the press.

Custody of Rasya, an only child, remains unclear. 

Residents unprepared for early floods

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Despite warnings of possible imminent major flooding from the Meteorology and Geophysics Bureau (BMG), few subdistrict administrations have prepared contingency plans or warned residents of the danger.

Authorities in flood-prone Manggarai in South Jakarta said they had yet to intensify activities in anticipation of the floods.

"One of our dinghies is currently being repaired so we only have one that works," head of the subdistrict youth organization Karang Taruna, Boedi Vincent, said.

Karang Taruna organized members to help residents during Jakarta's last major floods.

"We have not done much to prepare yet," another member of the organization, Budi, said, "but I think we will hold a meeting about it soon."

Sumini who has lived on Jl. Manggarai Utara I since 1981, several hundred meters from Karang Taruna's office, said she was not aware of imminent flooding.

She said no one had warned her before the previous floods, nor had she received any help from district officials in the aftermath.

The last major floods in early February this year inundated 70 percent of the city and claimed the lives of 48 people.

Roni, a resident of Bukit Duri in South Jakarta, which was heavily affected in the same floods, said he was not given any warnings.

"Residents usually observe the height of the Ciliwung River early in the year when floods usually occur. I don't think people have done this yet because we have never seen floods at the end of the year," Roni, whose two-story house was submerged in February's floods, said.

"We usually start (monitoring the river) in December to for the next year's floods which usually come either in January or February ... the height of Ciliwung River is normal now," a flood emergency worker in Bukit Duri, Suryanto, said.

Haryoko, a flood emergency worker in Cipinang, East Jakarta, said he would organize a meeting to discuss floods next week.

"Many residents were taking their Idul Fitri holiday over the last two weeks, so we couldn't organize it earlier," he said.

Haryoko's own home is usually flooded several times a year.

BMG last month warned that eastern Jakarta, including Cipinang and Cipayung, would be worst affected in the coming floods.

The city administration has prepared 3,500 staff from search and rescue teams, the Indonesian Red Cross, the police and the military to evacuate residents.

Jakarta's public works agency has begun dredging rivers and fixing blocked sewers in preparation for the flood season.

The state electricity company has also taken precautionary measures to protect substations in several areas which were affected in the previous floods.

"It will be one and half meters ... presently it is only half a meter (off the ground)," a worker at an electricity substation in Manggarai said.

Bali braces for classic bike invasion

Trisha Sertori, Contributor, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar

More than 1,000 classic motorbikes from across the nation Saturday will roar into Denpasar to celebrate the 18th anniversary of the Association for Old Motor Bikes (HMT).

The bikers are currently en route for the two-day celebration, riding from Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Sumatra, Java and Lombok astride motorbikes dating back almost 100 years.

"The oldest bike in the association is a 1916 JAP and it still runs like new. The newest are from 1961," an HMT member and prime mover behind the national event, Komang Wisnaya, said.

Visitors to the mega motorbike event, hosted by HTM's Bali chapter in East Parking, will see classics from Norton, Triumph, Royal Enfield, B.S.A, AJS and the German Zundab, along with old Harley-Davidson "dream bikes" -- all in mint condition.

Denpasar will come alive to the grunts and growls of the big bikes as they tour the city, passing Saturday morning shoppers and re-living the "Rebel Without a Cause" dream.

This image is actually way off the mark, Wisnaya said. Biker associations around the world are known for their regular "charity runs" and the Bali HTM Chapter is no exception.

Last year the association traveled the length and breadth of Bali, bearing gifts of money, food and clothing to numerous orphanages across the island.

Wisnaya said HTM was formed in 1989 when a few classic bike enthusiasts joined to discuss ways to find new areas. At that time there were old bike owners across the country but they did not have an association to link them together.

"It was felt by becoming a community we could pool our resources and information. If someone needs a rare spare part we can look through the association or use our overseas contacts," Wisnaya said.

Better access to spare parts keeps these magnificent bikes on the road, Wisnaya said. Many are found in pieces and must be rebuilt from the ground up.

"It takes around six months to rebuild a bike. After that they never have mechanical problems. They run like new."

The bikes are almost revered like religious icons, being ridden only a few times a year on association bike tours.

"Before we tour the bikes are first washed and polished, and when we return they are cleaned and covered up until next time," he said.

When he first became interested in bikes at 17, Wisnaya's father was not impressed at his choice of hobby.

"My Dad used to have a problem with old bikes because he thought if I got into motorbikes, I'd get into drugs and alcohol. He now understands it's a great hobby. When I go for a ride with the HTM community, all my problems disappear," Wisnaya said.

The community spirit will emerge in the weekend program, with dangdut, games, bike contests, Negara Jegog bamboo ensemble, biker clothing and accessories and a door prize "that will knock your socks off".

"Bali HTM has a classic DKW 500 cc motorbike for one very lucky winner. Tickets for the competition cost Rp 25,000 (US$2.50) each but entry to the event is free," Wisnaya said.

The Bali HTM chapter has raised funds for the event independently with assistance from Penzoil.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Indonesian police use new report in Garuda crash probe

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian police said Thursday that they were using a new report criticising the pilots of a Garuda jet that crashed this year to help them compile evidence of negligence.

A final report into the accident that killed 21 people written by Indonesia's National Transport Safety Committee said that the pilot had ignored some 15 warnings not to land and that his co-pilot had failed to step in.

"Our investigation is still ongoing. We are gathering evidence and testimony from witnesses," national police spokesman Sisno Adiwinoto told AFP.

The new report released this week "is an input (showing) that there is an indication of human error," Adiwinoto said, declining to elaborate further.

He said that the pilot, co-pilot and crew of the Boeing 737 had already been questioned by the police.

"We need to gather the necessary preliminary evidence and witnesses to show that there was negligence that led to the loss of lives and injuries," he said.

Police in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta, where the crash occurred, were in charge of the investigation, he added.

There were 133 passengers and seven crew on board the ill-fated jet. Five Australians were among the 21 killed after it slammed into the runway, careened off into rice paddies and burst into flames.

The final safety report also found that the airline and local airport authorities were at fault.

The committee, however, said that under international aviation rules, the report could not be used in court and that the police had to seek their own evidence to build up their case.

Police urged to investigate railway line theft, sabotage

Yuli Tri Suwarni, The Jakarta Post, Bandung

State railway company Kereta Api (KAI) has urged police to immediately start an investigation into a recent theft attempt involving train rails in Central Java.

The attempt occurred at 10:15 p.m. Monday on the section of line lying between Kaliyoso and Solo Balapan stations.

KAI spokesman Noor Hamidi on Tuesday told reporters bolts holding the rails in place had been removed along a 60-meter stretch of railway line.

The rail was removed but not taken, left alongside the tracks instead.

A train from Malang, East Java, bound for Senen station in Jakarta was forced to stop at the Jebres station in Surakarta after track inspectors reported the incident. The train had five passenger cars.

"We remind train crew, especially drivers, to use extra caution if they find anything suspicious on the tracks. We also urge the police to take this case seriously and severely punish the perpetrators, because this crime could cause an accident," said Hamidi in Bandung on Tuesday.

Hamidi said theft of train rails was increasingly common due to the rails' high quality iron and the high price of scrap iron on the local market. He also cited the limited number of track inspectors as one of the causes for the many thefts that go unsolved.

The attempted theft in Central Java took place just 26 hours after an alleged railway sabotage near Jakarta. Unidentified persons placed a three-meter long rail beam across the railway tracks between Dawuan and Kosambi stations, east of Bekasi.

According to Hamidi, the Cirebon Express train, pulling 10 passenger cars, hit the object.

"Luckily, nothing bad happened," said Hamidi

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Garuda airplanes sealed by custom office

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post): Authorities have sealed six aircrafts of the national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia for failing to meet customs requirement.

The seal has forced Garuda to cancel four flights and delay seven others on Wednesday.

Eko Darmanto, head of the Control and Supervision department at the custom office, said his officers sealed five Garuda airplanes on Tuesday and another one on Wednesday.

"Garuda failed to fulfill its administrative obligation on customs over the operation of the six aircrafts," he said. "My office sent a warning to Garuda in May to settle the problem but they ignored it."

Garuda spokesman Pujobroto said his firm had been dealing with the custom office to release its airplanes after Tuesday's seal. (Multa Fidrus)

VP urges major cities to develop mass transport systems

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (Antara): Vice President Jusuf Kalla on Wednesday asked major city administrations in the country to soon develop mass transport systems to overcome transportation problems and anticipate a continuous increase in the prices of fuel oil.

"We must develop ideal and low-priced mass transport systems as a solution to transportation problems," he said when opening Indonesia Transport & Logistics Expo 2007 at the Jakarta Convention Center.

With global crude prices hitting a record high of US$95 per barrel now, Indonesia could no longer rely on highway transport systems which were getting crowded and congested, he said.

"Therefore, more mass transport systems must soon be developed in major cities in Indonesia," he said.

Without mass transport systems, people would be exposed to high-cost economy due to transportation difficulties, he said.

Airbus' A380 superjumbo set for virgin S'pore flight

Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:12am EDT

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The world's biggest jumbo jet was set to fly from Singapore on Thursday on its long-delayed first-ever commercial flight, as part of the Singapore Airlines daily service to Sydney.

The Airbus' A380 superjumbo will leave the city-state's Changi Airport at 8 a.m. (midnight Wednesday GMT), returning to Singapore the following day.

Passengers paid between $560 and $100,380 to be on the inaugural flight, after they had bid for the tickets as part of a charity auction to drum up publicity.

Airbus's new aircraft -- which boasts two passenger decks and, in the Singapore Airlines version, first-class suites with proper beds -- suffered two years of delays caused by wiring glitches, which pushed the planemaker into a loss and led to 10,000 lost jobs.

Singapore Airlines is to take delivery of another five A380s in 2008.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

City to host crisis management conference

Evi Mariani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Rapid urbanization in Asia has resulted in the region's large cities being more prone to crises resulting from both natural and man-made disasters.

In response to this situation, The Asian Network of Major Cities (ANMC21) in 2003 held the first of what would become annual Asian Crisis Management Meetings.

This year's meeting, to be hosted by the Jakarta administration from Oct. 24 to 25, has been themed "Damage Mitigation and Maintenance of Major Cities' Primary Services in a Disaster".

Representatives from Bangkok, Delhi, Hanoi, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo and Yangon are scheduled to attend the meeting.

The first day of the conference will include presentations from several of the city's agencies concerning public order, public infrastructure and fire-fighting, as well as presentations from ANMC21 representatives.

Delegates will visit the city's crisis center at the City Hall, the Meteorology and Geophisics Agency (BMG) and the Fire Department Training Center on the second day of the conference.

At past conferences, issues such as urban disasters and terrorism were focal points.

The network's fourth conference held in Singapore last year focused on "new threats" such as terrorism, while delegates at the network's third conference in Seoul predominately discussed fires.

The most common disasters to strike Asia in recent years have been earthquakes, floods and fires.

In developing cities, the impact of disasters is often exacerbated by a lack of urban planning and facilities.

"We expect to learn a lot from the experiences of other cities," the head of Indonesia's Inter-city Cooperation Bureau Aisa Tobing said.

Jakarta's recent efforts to manage and prevent crisis situations have been seen as substandard by many, with floods continuing to hit the city year after year.

Aging fire departments and trucks have contributed to the city's poor record in fire prevention and management in recent years.

Last week the city's fire department told new Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo that more personal and fire trucks were required.

The governor promised to look into greater funding for the department.

Last year there were more than 900 fires in the city, the majority of which started in densely populated areas according to data from the city's fire department.

Between January and September this year some 680 fires had already been reported in the city.

Idul Fitri air travel increases in popularity: Airport operator

Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Tangerang

State airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II announced Monday an increase in the number of people using air transportation over Idul Fitri this year.

"The number has increased 17.36 percent from the same period last year; from 15.3 million to 17.9 million passengers," Angkasa Pura II corporate secretary Sudaryanto said at a press conference at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

The figures come from 12 airports managed by Angkasa Pura II in western Indonesia, including the main international airport.

Sudaryanto said the number of flights serving holidaymakers from Oct. 6 to Oct. 21 had also increased from 17,231 last year to 19,729 (19.7 percent).

Meanwhile, Hariyanto, executive general manager of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, said the peak in the exodus occurred two days before and six days after Idul Fitri, which fell on Oct. 12.

The peak in domestic passengers was 149,520 people a day, three days before, and 167,473 six days after Idul Fitri, he said.

With 361 extra flights provided the 12 airports worked up to 7 hours overtime over the holiday period.

Airport security chief Iskandar Harry said officers arrested 124 people for various offenses at Soekarno-Hatta airport, including illegal ticket selling, scavenging and driving unauthorized taxis.

121 people were tried and fined between Rp 30,000 and 500,000, depending on their offense.

"Only 18 paid fines, 48 were sent to Tangerang prison for a few months for their failure to pay, and 55 were sent to the police," Iskandar said.

Initial investigations into ticket scalping found suspects were working with airline ticketing staff, he said.

"We know the three airlines most often available from ticket scalpers. The airport authorities will punish the airlines soon."

Experts to gather in Jakarta to discuss RI transportation woes

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Transportation businesspeople and planners from China, Britain, Malaysia and Japan will attend a conference in Jakarta from Wednesday to Friday to discuss how Indonesia can solve its land, air and sea transportation problems.

The three-day international conference and exhibition, which is slated to be opened by Vice President Jusuf Kalla at the Jakarta Convention Center, will discuss infrastructure issues on Wednesday, transportation problems on Thursday and logistics on Friday.

Kalla will deliver the keynote speech at the opening of the conference, titled "Indonesian Transportation & Logistics Excellence: Enhancing Industry Competitiveness".

"We have had a series of problems in the transportation sector recently. Beside, as a venue for extending business ties in the transportation sector, we hope our businesspeople and officials can draw lessons from these events," said HM Syukur Sakka, president director of PT Wahyu Promo Citra, which is organizing the conference.

A series of air, land and sea accidents in the country have claimed hundreds of lives, drawing heavy criticism of the country's transportation management system.

The European Union has banned Indonesian carriers from flying into its member states, and has advised citizens in the EU from using Indonesian carriers.

China Railway Engineering Group president Li Changli, British Port & Terminal Group director Ken Gibbons, En N Sankunny of AGM Logistics Northport Malaysia, Ryuichi Yoshimoto of Japan Institute for Logistics System and Tetsuo Shibata of Japan External Trade Organization are among the international experts and businesspeople scheduled to speak during the conference.

Indonesian officials, including Transportation Minister Djusman Syafii Djamal, director general for sea transportation Harijogi, director general for land transportation Iskandar Abu Bakar and director general for air transportation Budi Mulyawan Suyitno, will share their experiences in dealing with the country's transportation problems.

There will also be an exhibition of the latest technology in the transportation sector.

"Some 65 international and local transportation and logistics companies have confirmed their participation in the expo so far," Syukur said.

NASA Sits on Air Safety Survey

By RITA BEAMISH – 1 hour ago

Google/AP

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (AP) — An unprecedented national survey of pilots by the U.S. government has found that safety problems like near collisions and runway interference occur far more frequently than previously recognized. But the government is withholding the information, fearful it would upset air travelers and hurt airline profits.

NASA gathered the information under an $8.5 million federal safety project, through telephone interviews with roughly 24,000 commercial and general aviation pilots over nearly four years. Since shutting down the project more than one year ago, the space agency has refused to divulge its survey data publicly.

After The Associated Press disclosed details Monday about the survey and efforts to keep its results secret, NASA's chief said he will reconsider how much of the survey findings can be made public.

"NASA should focus on how we can provide information to the public, not on how we can withhold it," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said in a statement. He said the agency's research and data "should be widely available and subject to review and scrutiny."

Last week, NASA ordered the contractor that conducted the survey to purge all related data from its computers. Congress on Monday announced a formal investigation of the pilot survey and instructed NASA to halt any destruction of records. Griffin said he already was ordering that all survey data be preserved.

The AP learned about the NASA results from one person familiar with the survey who spoke on condition of anonymity because this person was not authorized to discuss them.

A senior NASA official, associate administrator Thomas S. Luedtke, said earlier that revealing the findings could damage the public's confidence in airlines and affect airline profits. Luedtke acknowledged that the survey results "present a comprehensive picture of certain aspects of the U.S. commercial aviation industry."

The AP sought to obtain the survey data over 14 months under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

"Release of the requested data, which are sensitive and safety-related, could materially affect the public confidence in, and the commercial welfare of, the air carriers and general aviation companies whose pilots participated in the survey," Luedtke wrote in a final denial letter to the AP. NASA also cited pilot confidentiality as a reason, although no airlines were identified in the survey, nor were the identities of pilots, all of whom were promised anonymity.

Griffin said NASA will reconsider its denial for the data to the AP.

Among other results, the pilots reported at least twice as many bird strikes, near mid-air collisions and runway incursions as other government monitoring systems show, according to a person familiar with the results who was not authorized to discuss them publicly.

The survey also revealed higher-than-expected numbers of pilots who experienced "in-close approach changes" — potentially dangerous, last-minute instructions to alter landing plans.

Officials at the NASA Ames Research Center in California have said they want to publish their own report on the project by year's end.

Although to most people NASA is associated with spaceflight, the agency has a long and storied history of aviation safety research. Its experts study atmospheric science and airplane materials and design, among other areas.

"If the airlines aren't safe I want to know about it," said Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., chairman of the House Science and Technology investigations and oversight subcommittee. "I would rather not feel a false sense of security because they don't tell us."

Discussing NASA's decision not to release the survey data, Miller said: "There is a faint odor about it all."

Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., wrote to NASA on Monday announcing an investigation by the House Science and Technology committee which he chairs, and directing the agency not to destroy documents. The letter instructed NASA to provide Congress results and background on the survey and any communications from airlines about how the data might harm them.

"I cannot imagine any good public purpose being served by destroying records," Gordon said in a statement. "The committee will get to the bottom of all of this."

The survey's purpose was to develop a new way of tracking safety trends and problems the airline industry could address. The project was shelved when NASA cut its budget as emphasis shifted to send astronauts to the moon and Mars.

NASA said nothing it discovered in the survey warranted notifying the Federal Aviation Administration immediately and data showed improvements in some areas. Survey managers occasionally briefed the FAA. At a briefing in April 2003, FAA officials expressed concerns about the high numbers of incidents described by pilots because NASA's results were dramatically different from the FAA's own monitoring systems showed.

An FAA spokeswoman, Laura Brown, said the agency questioned NASA's methodology. The FAA is confident it can identify safety problems before they lead to accidents, she said.

In its space program, NASA has a deadly history of playing down safety issues. Investigators blamed the 1986 and 2003 shuttle disasters on poor decision making, budget cuts and improperly minimizing risks. NASA decided to go ahead with a 2006 shuttle launch and is moving ahead with one this week despite safety concerns by NASA engineers in both cases.

Aviation experts said NASA's pilot survey results could be a valuable resource in an industry where they believe many safety problems are underreported, even while deaths from commercial air crashes are rare and the number of deadly crashes has dropped in recent years.

"It gives us an awareness of not just the extent of the problems, but probably in some cases that the problems are there at all," said William Waldock, a safety science professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz. "If their intent is to just let it sit there, that's just a waste."

Officials involved in the survey touted the unusually high response rate among pilots, 80 percent, and said they believe it is more reliable than reporting systems that rely on pilots to report incidents voluntarily.

"The data is strong," said Robert Dodd, an aviation safety expert hired by NASA to manage the survey. "Our process was very meticulously designed and very thorough. It was very scientific."

Pilot interviews lasted about 30 minutes, with standardized questions about how frequently they encountered equipment problems, smoke or fire, engine failure, passenger disturbances, severe turbulence, collisions with birds or inadequate tower communication, according to documents obtained by the AP.

Pilots also were asked about last-minute changes in landing instructions, flying too close to other planes, near collisions with ground vehicles or buildings, overweight takeoffs or occasions when pilots left the cockpit.

"I don't believe it's in NASA's purpose and mission statement to protect the underlying financial fortunes of the airlines," David Stempler, president of the Potomac, Md.-based Air Travelers Association, said Monday. "They're to provide safety information, and the consequences will fall where they may. We still believe this is an extremely safe air travel system, but it could be made even safer."

NASA's survey, known officially as the National Aviation Operations Monitoring Service, started after a White House commission in 1997 proposed reducing fatal air crashes by 80 percent as of this year. Crashes have dropped 65 percent, with a rate of about 1 fatality in about 4.5 million departures.

NASA had begun to interview general aviation pilots and initially planned to interview flight attendants, air traffic controllers and mechanics before the survey was halted.

In earlier interviews that helped researchers design the NASA survey, pilots said airlines were unaware how frequently safety incidents occurred that could lead to serious problems or even crashes, said Jon Krosnick, a survey expert at Stanford University who helped NASA create the questionnaire. Krosnick also led a Stanford team that paid for a joint AP-Stanford poll on the environment.

"There are little things going on everyday that rarely lead to an accident but they increase the chances of an accident," said Krosnick. "It's the little things beneath the surface that cause the very infrequent crashes. You have to tackle those."

NASA had directed its contractor Battelle Memorial Institute, along with subcontractors, on Thursday to return any project information and then purge it from their computers before Oct. 30.