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

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission

Iran's 'catastrophic mistake': Speculation, pressure, then admission
Analsyts say it is irresponsible to link the crash of a Ukraine International Airline Boeing 737-800 to the 737 MAX accidents (AFP Photo/INA FASSBENDER)

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. …

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Contract for US-funded Banda Aceh-Calang road to be signed in May

Banda Aceh (ANTARA News) - The contract for the construction of Banda Aceh-Calang road section which is to be financed by the United States is expected to be signed next month, a regional government official said here on Saturday.

"The contract for the construction of the road is expected to be signed by the government and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in May," Assistant II to the Aceh Regional Government Secretary, Usman Budiman, said when opening a workshop on the Aceh Recovery Forum.

He said that the land clearance was now in progress and was expected to be completed late this month or early in May.

The United States government through the USAID will rebuild the 150-km long Banda Aceh-Calang (Aceh Jaya district) road which was damaged by the tsunami which hit the province in December 2004.

Head of the Nias-Aceh Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR), Kuntoro Mangkusubroto said 54 percent of the land clearance had been finished.

"We are still facing a problem with the land clearance in Aceh Besar district, while in Aceh Jaya, the land clearance is almost finished," he added.

He said that the United States for International Development had repeatedly asked about the land clearance problem.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Japan allocates $15.7 million for Jakarta MRT

JAKARTA (Antara): The Japanese government reiterated that it would lend Indonesi US$15.7 million to develop Jakarta Mass Rapid Transit System (MRT) in order to reduce traffic congestion and improve Indonesian investment climate through infrastructure development, a Japanese official said.

The Japanese readiness to provide Indonesia with the loan was first conveyed in a meeting between Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Hassa Wirajuda and his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso on Nov. 28, 2008 when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited Japan, deputy Japanese Ambassador Satoru Satoh said Friday.

The MRT project will be built from Lebak Bulus area in South Jakarta to Dukuh Atas area which already has a railway track. The system will have 4 km track under the ground and 10.5 km above the ground. Construction of the MRT system is slated to be finished in 2014.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Indonesia Model for Air Traffic Management

Thursday, 26 April, 2007 | 12:00 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Indonesia has been appointed as a model country for the application of an air traffic contingency plan to manage world flights.

The appointment was based on the size and strategic value of Indonesia’s aerial area.

The contingency plan is air traffic management that anticipates the disturbance of aviation traffic services guiding by the air traffic service unit.

A disturbance may be caused by natural disasters, technical errors, fires or crimes.

Kyotaro Harano, Regional Officer for Air Traffic Management of the International Civil Aviation Organization Asia Pacific region, has stated that Indonesia’s aerial area has an significant role in the air traffic system of the Asia Pacific region.

“It is used by carriers from east to west and vice versa,” he said after an opening of Air Traffic Management Contingency Plan Finalization Meeting at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta, yesterday (04/25).

Kyotaro went on to say that Indonesia was also measured as disaster-prone country--including earthquakes, tsunami waves and volcanic eruptions--as the basis of the appointment.

Those sorts of disasters had the potential to seriously disturb air traffic serviced.

Should a natural disaster cause any dysfunctions at two area control centers in Indonesia, this would affect international flights.


'Ojek' keep on the left side of the law

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

If you can't beat them, befriend them. That was the catch cry as police invited more than 3,500 ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers to the opening of their keep-left safety campaign on Wednesday.

The ubiquitous, zig-zagging public transportation mode, based at an estimated 10,000 ojek posts throughout the city, has often been blamed for worsening the city's traffic chaos.

Head of the traffic unit at the city police, Sr. Comr. Djoko Susilo, said the campaign is being held to promote safe riding habits among the ojek drivers.

"We want to improve their riding skills and their understanding of the importance of safe riding as well as their obedience of traffic signs," he said.

The campaign is urging motorists to equip themselves with compulsory gear, including helmets. It is also aimed at improving ojek drivers' knowledge of traffic rules and signs.

Police records show the massive number of motorcycles on Jakarta's streets have made a significant contribution to the city's hefty road toll.

Between January and March this year, police recorded 150 accidents resulting in 51 deaths, 14 serious injuries and 68 light injuries. The data also shows that 15 of those who died were victims of hit and run accidents.

Police also issued around 9,000 tickets for traffic violations during the period, a reflection of Jakarta motorist's notorious tendency to flout road rules.

The police are monitoring at least eight accident-prone areas in Greater Jakarta: Jl. Letjen Soeprapto in Central Jakarta, Jl. Gatot Subroto in South Jakarta, Jl. S. Parman in West Jakarta, Jl. Perintis Kemerdekaan in North Jakarta, and Jl. D.I Panjaitan in East Jakarta, as well as Jl. Thamrin in Tangerang, Jl.A. Yani in Bekasi, and Jl. Margonda in Depok.

During the safe riding campaign, the ojek drivers rode from the city police courtyard on Jl. Gatot Subroto to Slipi, West Jakarta, then turned around, heading to Cawang, East Jakarta, and back to the Jakarta police headquarters.

Eco-driving campaign to cut emissions

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The clean air campaign group Swisscontact has stepped-up its effort to promote environmentally friendly driving in order to cut car emissions, the main contributor to Jakarta's air pollution.

The group's campaign officer, Tory Damantoro, said the company will perform training in so-called "eco-driving" techniques for drivers working in the private transport company Hiba Utama.

"In the first stage, we will train 100 Hiba Utama drivers, starting in May," Tory told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

Hiba Utama currently operates around 2,000 passenger buses.

Eco-driving was first promoted in Indonesia by Swisscontact last year when the group trained 50 truck drivers from the publicly listed cement maker PT Holcim Indonesia.

Tory said truck drivers using eco-driving techniques could save fuel consumption by up to 10 to 15 percent.

"With small improvements in driving style, drivers can save significantly on fuel consumption and cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (CO2)," he said.

"So if 3 million cars traveling across the city applied eco-driving techniques, there would be an energy saving of Rp 400 billion per year. It's an easier way to clean the city's air," he said.

Eco-driving techniques have been developed in several European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Britain and Switzerland since the mid-1990s.

The British government is now planning to make eco-driving training a requirement for obtaining a driver's license.

Swisscontact has long pushed the Jakarta administration to clean the city's air.

The organization's massive campaigns led the administration to issue a bylaw on air pollution control requiring, among other measures, compulsory emissions tests for all private cars.

The bylaw also makes the use of more eco-friendly compressed natural gas (CNG) compulsory for all public transport.

However, the bylaw has not come into full effect due to poor law enforcement.

The administration has also tried to discourage people from driving private cars into the city by increasing parking fees and improving busway services.

The administration also plans to implement electronic road pricing this year to substitute the current three-in-one lane system.

Experts have said emissions from road vehicles contribute to up to 70 percent of the city's air pollution.

Tory said his company would analyze CO2 emission reductions resulting from the eco-driving program.

"If possible, we will develop the eco-driving style to reap money from the clean development mechanism (CDM)," he said.

The CDM is part of Indonesia's commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, which allows developing nations to trade carbon credits gained through reduced emissions.

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

Eco-driving Tips:

1. Anticipate the traffic, look as far ahead as possible 2. Drive smoothly and at a constant speed 3. Change gears economically, shift up gears quickly 4. Stay in higher gears with lower engine RPM (revolutions per minute) whenever possible 5. Coast a lot 6. Decelerate smoothly 7. Avoid breaking abruptly 8. Use engine breaking

Source: Swisscontact

Govt seeks air traffic services from the region

Alvin Darlanika Soedarjo, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Indonesian government is planning to use the air traffic control (ATC) services of other countries such as the Philippines and India to compliment its own controllers in Jakarta and Makassar to ensure the safety of all international flights in Indonesian airspace.

"Indonesia is seeking backup air traffic control and management services in case its two ATCs fail to work at the same time," said International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) air traffic management regional officer Kyotaro Harano.

Harano was speaking Wednesday at the "Air Traffic Management Contingency Plan" meeting with the Transportation Ministry, state-owned airport operators PT Angkasa Pura (AP) I and II and officials from various countries.

The meeting is to be held over three days.

"Right now, if the Jakarta ATC was to shut down, then the Makassar ATC could cover its activities and vice versa. But if both failed, no controller could cover them," Harano told reporters.

"A contingency plan is needed for Indonesia, which has a vast amount of space to monitor, so international flights can continue," he added.

Jakarta's area control center, managed by AP II, oversees air traffic for western Indonesia, while the Makassar center in South Sulawesi, managed by AP I, oversees air traffic for Indonesia's eastern regions.

Air traffic control units coordinate aircraft flight paths both on the ground and in the air to prevent collisions and other accidents. An ATC also provides information to pilots, such as on weather, navigation and "notices to airmen".

"Both controllers have sophisticated systems. The tragic events surrounding the Indonesian aviation industry in the recent past have had nothing to do with their ATCs," Harano said.

Critics have highlighted, however, that Indonesia's ATC at Makassar was unable to detect the missing Adam Air jetliner that plunged into the Sulawesi sea earlier this year.

The ICAO, which is currently providing assistance to Indonesia, said that other countries might follow in the footsteps of Indonesia if its project was a success.

Director General of Air Transportation Budhi M. Suyitno said the main components of an ATC, such as facilities and human resources, could still be disrupted by natural disasters.

"These are earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, tsunamis and fires, among others," said Bambang Tjahyono, secretary at the directorate general for air transportation.

"To face these inevitable events, an air traffic service (ATS) contingency plan must be prepared and implemented," he said.

The Transportation Ministry said it hoped the meeting could discuss in more detail the draft to harmonize the implementation of an ATS contingency plan.

The National Transportation Safety and Security Evaluation Team (EKKT), an ad hoc group formed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has previously said that to improve air traffic management, Indonesia should place its ATCs under the supervision of one body.

The chairman of the EKKT, Chappy Hakim, said that after careful examination, the team recommended that Indonesia pursues a single provider policy like those implemented in Australia, the U.S. and Europe.

Chappy said that air traffic in Indonesia was still being managed by five operators. These are AP I, AP II, the Transportation Ministry Technical Unit, the Batam authority and the Singaporean Civil Aviation Authority.

Having a single provider, he added, could ensure better safety controls and coordination to safeguard air traffic against disasters.

Government allocates Rp9 trln to renew old railway tracks

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) - The government has allocated Rp9 trillion to renew worn-out railway tracks, Transportation Minister Hatta Rajasa said here Thursday.

"The government will repair old railway tracks, rails and railway bridge," he said after attending a meeting of Indonesia's second largest Islamic movement the Muhammadiyah.

Most of wooden rails were no longer in good condition as they were set up in Dutch colonialism, he said.

The minister attributed railway accidents in many factors.

"Heavy downpour and landslide were the cause of derailment of carriages of Serayu train in Garut district in West Java last week," he said.

Yet other railway accidents were mostly triggered by worn-out railway tracks and rails, Hatta said.

Renewing railway tracks, rails and railway bridge will take time as damage has been found in many railway tracks, he said.

"Railway bridges which were made during Dutch colonialism will not be removed but renewed," he said.

Hatta was one of some ministers who observed the Muhammadiyah meeting.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Another train derails on new Garut track

Yuli Tri Suwarni, The Jakarta Post, Bandung

An economy-class train was derailed in Garut, West Java, on Tuesday, while traveling on a new track constructed to replace on that was damaged in a landslide and caused another train to derail last Saturday.

One car of the Pasundan economy-class train, which was carrying at least 400 passengers from Bandung to Surabaya in East Java, left the track at Sukamaju village in Kersamah district in Garut at 10:28 a.m. No casualties were reported.

The accident took place three days after two passenger trains, the economy-class Citra Jaya (Serayu) and the executive-class Argo Lawu, suffered accidents on Saturday.

Around 70 passengers were injured when five of the Serayu's cars jumped off the track in Kersamah district and fell into a ravine.

Following the latest accident, train company PT Kereta Api Indonesia has announced it will not use to route until the tracks are fit for use.

The company's spokesman in Bandung, Sukendar Mulya, said two trains scheduled to leave Bandung on Tuesday night would travel by another route.

"We advised the last two trains to take the northern train route, through Cikampek and Cirebon," he said.

He could not provide details on when the tracks in Garut could be used, but said that once the repair works were complete, trains traveling through the area could not exceed five kilometers an hour.

Sukendar said passenger numbers from Bandung had dropped around 15 percent recently from the usual 2,000 passengers a day

He blamed the decline on the moving of train routes through Cikampek.

New park to teach traffic rules

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

One Indonesian dies on average every hour in traffic accidents, with the total number of deaths having reached 15,762 in 2006, data from the Indonesian police office shows.

"It means that last year, traffic accidents killed 1,300 people every month, 45 every day, or two people every two hours," the chairman of the national boy scout movement, Asrul Azwar, said on Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the Taman Lalulintas Saka Bhayangkara traffic park in Cibubur, East Jakarta.

Asrul said he was deeply concerned that most accidents were caused by people's ignorance of traffic rules.

Operational deputy of the national police, Insp. Gen. FX Soenarno added that a lack of understanding and obedience of traffic regulations resulted in more than 2.6 million traffic infringements last year.

Soenarno said the traffic park, which was initiated by the Indonesian police headquarters and the national boy scout movement, was intended to educate people about traffic rules.

The park will also be aimed at educating children to become traffic conscious and obey traffic rules when they become drivers.

The park comes complete with traffic signs, transportation simulations and miniature cars for the children.

A miniature of the National Monument (Monas), Gambir railway station, and the parliamentary building were also built in the garden.

First Lady Ani Yudhoyono officially opened the park, which was built on a five hectare former camping ground contributed by the boy scout movement.

Mufidah Jusuf Kalla, members of United Cabinet Solidarity, the national Police Chief Gen. Sutanto and Henny Sutanto, the chairwoman of the organization for the wives of police officers, Bhayangkari, also attended the event.

The First Lady urged all motorists to obey traffic rules, including wearing helmets, for their own safety.

"People should use the pedestrian bridge to cross the street whenever possible," she said.

Toyota tops world`s largest carmaker GM in first-quarter sales

Tokyo/Washington (ANTARA News) - Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp has for the first time topped US giant General Motors (GM) Corp as the world`s largest automaker, on Tuesday reporting higher sales figures for the first three months of 2007.

Toyota said first-quarter sales rose to a record 2.35 million vehicles, a rise of 9.2 per cent on the year-earlier period. Detroit-based GM last week said sales climbed 3.3 per cent to 2.26 million units, also a record.

Most analysts expect Toyota to be the world`s top automaker by the end of 2007, ending GM`s 76-year dominance of the global market. The Toyota City-based company has projected sales of 9.34 million vehicles for the year, a 6-per-cent increase on 2006, while GM is cutting back production in an effort to return to profitability.

Asian automakers have continued to make inroads into the global market as the so-called Big Three in the US - GM, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler Group - have announced plant closures and worker lay-offs to stem losses.

Domestic sales for major Japanese carmakers fell in the fiscal year 2006, but Toyota and Honda Motor Co saw their exports and global output rise, the companies announced Tuesday. Nissan Motor Co struggled, however, with declining exports and production.

Including subsidiaries Daihatsu Motor Co and Hino Motors Ltd, Toyota`s sales in its home market fell to 2.33 million units in fiscal 2006, which ended March 31, a drop of 2.7 per cent from the previous year, but its exports surged 22.8 per cent to 2.8 million units.

Japan`s top automaker also increased its global production by 7.3 per cent to 9.01 million units. However, for March, Toyota`s global output dropped 0.2 per cent from the same month a year ago to 861,951 units.

Honda`s domestic sales for fiscal 2006 dipped 2.6 per cent to 691,529 units, but exports soared 19.7 per cent to 645,203 units. Honda`s global output rose 7.5 per cent to a record 3.7 million units.

In March alone, Honda`s global output expanded 5.7 per cent to 356,031 units from the same month a year before, but its domestic sales fell 9.4 per cent to 89,668 units, Honda said.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Train derails during a railway test in Garut

JAKARTA (JP): A number of train cars derailed from a railway section in Garut regency, West Java during a test after workers repaired the damage railway Saturday, causing two train cars fell into ravine.

MetroTV television reported that the Tuesday incident had panicked hundreds of passengers, who rushed out from the train cars, fearing that the cars would fall again into ravine.

At least 70 train passengers Saturday were injured after train cars derailed from their tracks.

The workers have to work hard to repair the railway in Sukamaju village, Kersamanah district, since Saturday, Antara news agency reported.

Hartono, an officer on duty with state owned railway operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia, said that before the passenger train was allowed to pass the railway, a 240 ton cargo train could pass itsmoothly.

ASEAN air transportation directors meet in Palembang

PALEMBANG (Antara): Some 80 senior air transportation officials from ASEAN member countries will begin a two-day meeting on Wednesday to discuss various issues of common concern, including the ASEAN Open Sky 2008 concept.

The 15th ASEAN Air Transport Working Group Meeting (ATWG) will start Wednesday and last until Friday, M Taufik of the meeting's organizing committee said on Tuesday.

Indonesia was to hold two ATWG meetings this year. After the upcoming Palembang meeting, the second meeting will take place on Bali Island in August 2007.

The Palembang meeting would be attended by delegations from ASEAN's 10 member countries, namely Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, the Philippines and Thailand.

The meeting would also be attended by representatives of the United States and the European Union, sub-division head of the Domestic Air Transport Directorate Lilien Ambarwiyati said recently.

The representatives of 57 airline companies have confirmed their participation in the meeting, she said.

The meeting would among other things discuss issues relating to the liberalization of air transportation in the ASEAN region.

17 Asia-Pacific Airlines Holding Conference in Bali

Tuesday, 24 April, 2007 | 15:56 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The representatives of 17 airlines in the Asia-Pacific are gathering in Bali Tuesday –Wednesday (24-25/4) to discuss the management of carrier materials. The conference is expected to be able to improve the distribution link of carrier components in order to reduce the costs of material and maintenance.

“Therefore, we will also involve airlines and manufacturers that produce spare parts,” said Andrew Herdman, Director of the Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines (AAPA) in Nusa Dua, Bali. The conference is also being attended by vendors, suppliers, service providers and experts in the aviation industry.

For the aviation industry group in Indonesia, the meeting will be a chance to promote their ability. One of the promoters is PT GMF Aero Asia (Garuda Indonesia Group) that showed their capability in providing various services, especially in supplying carrier material in addition to carrier maintenance.

Managing Director of PT GMF Aeroasia Agus Sudarya stated that as the largest maintenance company in Indonesia, their activity has always been aimed at meeting the aspects of quality, competitive prices and complete services.

According to Agus Sudarya, carrier materials supply and management that PT GMF Aeroasia controls is also capable of restricting various risks such as lack of materials, overstock and obsolete risk. The efficient material management, according to him, is assured of improving the company's profit because 60 percent of revenues are generally allocated for components and maintenance.

GMF Aeroasia, established in 2002, said Agus Sudarya, has been approved by civil aviation authorities in Indonesia, that is the Directorate of Air Qualification Certification (DSKU). In addition, the company has been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Rofiqi Hasan

Guv vows progress on city projects

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA: Governor Sutiyoso has said he will focus on achieving progress on key infrastructure projects in the final months before his term expires in October.

"I will do my best to make way for the construction of big projects such as the East Flood Canal, the monorail, the Mass Rapid Transportation system (MRT) and low-cost apartment buildings," Sutiyoso told reporters in City Hall Monday.

He said that most of the projects had started so he hoped that his successor would be able to complete them.

For the monorail, he said he hoped there would not be any future problems with the its construction, since the government had issued a letter to guarantee any operation shortfalls for the project.

He said he hoped construction of the MRT would run smoothly after the government received a letter of guarantee from Japan.

Last year, Japan signed an engineering assistance agreement with the central government to develop the MRT and gave a one billion yen loan for the project.

When asked about infrastructure projects that have not yet been finished, Sutiyoso said he talked to several potential investors during his trip to the Middle East last week.

"I met with the president director of Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and he showed his interest in the deep tunnel project," he said.

The city administration is planning to build a deep tunnel reservoir system that will run 17 km along the West Flood Canal. --JP

Govt mulls incentives for biofuel sales

Ika Krismantari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government is considering offering financial incentives so as to encourage gas stations to stock biofuel blends, says an official.

Evita H. Legowo, an assistant to the energy and mineral resources minister, told The Jakarta Post on Monday that the incentives, which could take the form of tax relief or subventions, were necessary to ensure that biofuel retailers could continue to operate profitably.

"It is important to provide incentives because if oil prices fall below US$70 per barrel, the market prices of biofuels will be higher than the prices of pure hydrocarbon-based fuels," Evita explained.

She added that the government was in the process of formulating a mechanism for providing the proposed incentives so as to ensure that retailers would be interested in stocking biofuels.

Evita, who is also the first secretary of the National Biofuel Development Committee, said that the committee had proposed to the President that a subvention mechanism might be the best way forward to encourage retailers to stock biofuels.

"Sales of biofuels could be subsidized, like the premium gasoline sold by Pertamina," she said.

Evita also said that the government should consider adopting the methods employed by developed countries in promoting the sale of biofuels, such as imposing additional taxes on conventional fuels.

"Germany, one of the world's biggest biodiesel producers, has imposed a tax on fossil fuels. It might be worth our while to see how they do things over there," she said.

She added that the government could also consider the Philippine and Thai approaches, where it was mandatory for fuel retailers to also stock biofuel.

"However, before we would be able to introduce such a system, where retailers are required to sell biofuel blends, the government would firstly have to create enabling circumstances by providing financial incentives," Evita stressed.

She pointed out that state oil and gas firm Pertamina, which is currently the only biofuel distributor in the country, was finding it difficult to boost biofuel sales because of their higher prices.

Under the government's biofuel promotion plan, Indonesia will increase its usage of biofuels to 5.29 million kiloliters by 2010 and 9.84 million kiloliters by 2015.

Pertamina currently sells Biodiesel-5, a blend of 95 percent hydrocarbon-based fuel and 5 percent biodiesel, in Jakarta and Surabaya, and Bioethanol-5, a mix of 95 percent hydrocarbon-based gasoline and 5 percent ethanol in Malang and Jakarta.

In addition to the proposed incentives for biofuel retailers, the government has issued a regulation providing tax relief for investments in biofuel production.

In January, the government signed 58 agreements worth US$12.4 billion with 59 local and overseas energy firms for the development of oil-palm plantations and processing facilities.

Local lenders Bank Rakyat Indonesia, Bank Mandiri, Bank Bukopin, the West Sumatra regional development bank and the North Sumatra regional development bank have pledged to provide loans of up to Rp 25 trillion for the development of plantations and Rp 25 trillion for the building of processing plants.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hypermarkets Allowed in City Centers

Monday, 23 April, 2007 | 14:29 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The Zoning Decree that Parliament passed on March 26 regulates the zoning of modern market.

As for more-detailed arrangements, they will be included in the regional zoning made by regional governments.

Based on the zoning policy, for example wholesalers are allocated in suburban areas, hypermarkets in the major cities, supermarkets in satellite cities and mini-market in districts and sub districts.

“Modern markets cannot be built anywhere, although the allocation is not strict,” said Hermanto Dardak, Director General of Zone Planning at the Public Works Department, when contacted on Thursday (19/4) in Jakarta.

The arrangement is related to the environment, such as traffic jam potential and facilities, as well as infrastructure needs.

“What hasn’t talked about yet is competition with traditional market,” said Hermanto

The Trade Department complained about the zoning in the Government Regulation Draft on Modern Markets.

RR Ariyani

Mandala passengers complain over delay

TANGERANG (The Jakarta Post): Hundreds of would-be Mandala airlines passengers were stranded for hours at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Saturday.

Passengers due to fly on the 9 a.m. Yogyakarta flight finally lost their patience after about 1 p.m. With no explanation for the delay forthcoming from the airlines, the passengers turned in their tickets and switched to another carrier.

"After one hour of the delay, we asked for an explanation from airline management at the airport, but there was no clear reason for the delay and we were even told that the flight would leave at 1 p.m.," said Azis, one of the stranded passengers.

Disappointed with the poor service, all passengers finally flocked to the airline office to cancel their tickets.

"I was supposed to be in Yogyakarta at 12 a.m. to attend job training," said Azis, a resident of Ciputat, Tangerang, after waiting for about three hours.

Azis said however that he had no plan to demand compensation from the airline.

"They fine us if we cancel our tickets, but they don't offer compensation to passengers suffering from such long delays."

Dedi, an employee at the airline's operations department at the airport, insisted the delay was not caused by any damage to the plane. -- JP

Indosat launches 3.5 G broadband service with speed of 3.6 Mpbs

Batam (ANTARA News) - State telecommunications operator PT Indosat has launched a 3.5 Generation (G) mobile telecommunication broadband focused on Internet data service with a speed of 3.6 Mpbs here on Sunday.

"The 3.5 G broadband Indosat focuses on Internet data service," Indosat marketing director Wahyu Wijayadi said.

He said the 3.5 G broadband service was offered in light and medium packages respectively with a capacity of 1 GB and 2.5 GB.

"These packages could be adapted to the subscribers` need," he said.

Until July 2007 Indosat will give a 50 percent discount to 3.5 G Broadband subscribers which is equal to the discount on 3.5G service that has just been launched only in Batam.

Wahyu said Indosat 3.5 G provided better sound, video call service and Internet data access than other telecommunications companies.

He said during the promotion period, Indosat would provide a 10-minute free of charge video and TV mobile calls and a discount of 50 percent of the normal rate for continuing minutes of local and long distance calls to ordinary Indosat subscribers.

Indosat on Sunday also launched a Community Festival which is a customer appreciation program.

Wahyu said "we also plan to hold the event in 12 other cities in Indonesia."

The program includes Meet and Greet, Gaming Competition, Music community Gathering, Live Music Corner and Press Conference.

Indonesia to give import tax exemption on cars above 3,000 CC

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - With a view to protecting the automotive industry in Indonesia, the government will only grant an import tax exemption on cars above 3,000 cc.

"Only cars above 3,000 cc will be exempted," the director general for transportation equipment industries, Budi Darmadi, told ANTARA News here on Sunday.

Some automotive producers in the country were worried that the government might open its market to cars of all categories in the framework of the Japan-Indonesia Economic Partnership Agreement (JIEPA) currently still in the making.

Budi said the government would not liberalize its market for cars of all categories because the automotive industry at home had already developed not only to meet domestic needs, but also for exports.

Under the current circumstances, he said the tax exemption would only apply to cars above 3,000 cc while cars below that would continue to enjoy protection.

"We have not produced cars with engines above 3,000 cc and likely will not do it in the near future or will not completely include it in our development plan," he said.

He said the local market share of cars above 3,000 cc was still relatively small as the cars were still considered a luxury and therefore their tax reached more than 75 percent.

He said the government would not offer to liberalize the market for cars below 3,000 cc to Japan because the domestic industry was just developing the type of cars such as Toyota Innova and Fortuner that have engines above 2,000 cc.

"So far the focus of development is on multi-purpose vehicles, sport utility vehicles and small sedans to meet both the domestic and export market," he said.

Budi admitted that the offer to liberalize the market of cars above 3,000 cc was not yet settled because Japan still sought for the liberalization of cars below 3,000 cc.

"Japan wishes for the liberalization of the market for all categories. We will not open the market of cars that we have already made and will make in the future," he said.

In the 3,000 cc segment Japanese cars will compete with cars from Europe and the US such as Mercedes, BMW and Ford.

Astra Honda ready to increase production capacity

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - PT Astra Honda Motor is ready to increase its production capacity of its plant in Cikarang, Bekasi, to anticipate increasing demand for motorcycles.

"It will not be done now but we are ready to increase the capacity because expansion is still possible to be done at the plant compound in Cikarang," the company`s president director Miki Yamamoto said to ANTARA last weekend.

Its third plant in Cikarang, Bekasi, West Java, which was inaugurated by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in September 2005 sits on a 30-hectare land and has drawn an investment of around US$140 million.

Yamamoto said the use of the plant compound could still be optimized to increase the plant`s production capacity if the motor cycle market in the country continued to rise.

He predicted the motorcyle market in Indonesia would grow by 10 to 20 percent this year compared to around 4.4 million units last year.

"The 10 percent growth is a conventional figure but a 20 percent growth may occur if economic and political stability in Indonesia continues to improve. Strong demand for motorcyles in Indonesia may still continue as there is still room for it," he said.

The motorcyle demand in the country could still grow higher than 10 percent in view of the country`s increasing population, he said.

He said Astra Honda Motor would continue to increase its investment in the country especially for providing components of new models currently being developed.

Yamamoto said the capacity of Astra Honda Motor at present was around three million units a year which could still meet the market demand in short term.

In 2007 the company, according to marketing director Johannes Loman, expects to control 50 percent of the national motorcycle market which is projected to reach 4.6 million to 5.0 million units.

In view of that the company`s production this year is expected to reach between 2.4 milion and 2.5 million units which are still below the company`s installed capacity of three million units a year.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dozens injured in train accident

The Jakarta Post

Dozens of passengers were injured in two separate train accidents in Central and West Java on Saturday.

At least 70 passengers were injured when three cars from a Citra Java (Serayu) economy-class train jumped their tracks in Kertasamah district, Garut regency, West Java, at 3:20 a.m. (see photo).

The eight-car Serayu train departed from Pasar Senen station in Central Jakarta carrying around 600 passengers and was bound for Kroya station in Central Java.

The train's three derailed cars fell into a ravine some 20 meters deep, while two others hung from the ravine's edge.

The accident, which took place between Warung Bandrek and Bumi Waluya stations in Garut, forced the cancellation of several trains departing from Bandung.

The injured passengers, including 16 who are heavily injured, were taken to Malangbong community health center and Garut and Tasikmalaya hospitals. Uninjured passengers were allowed to continued their trips by bus.

Train company PT Kereta Api Indonesia's Bandung spokesman, Sukendar Mulya, said the accident was likely caused by a heavy downpour in the area.

"The accident site was not the one being closely monitored because it is not located in a slide-prone area. This (accident) was caused by nature, not something we did," he said.

The train company, he said, would pay out Rp 2.5 million (US$271) to Rp 5 million per person in compensation to injured passengers.

Meanwhile, an executive Argo Lawu train, which left Surakarta in Central Java bound for Jakarta, derailed in Cilongok in the regency of Banyumas, Central Java, at 12:30 p.m.

No casualties were reported in the accident, which took place 20 kilometers from Purwokerto station.

Dida, a staff member at Purwokerto station, told that only one of the train's cars jumped from its tracks. Details were not given on the number of passengers on board at the time.

The accidents are the most recent after a Tawang Jaya train derailed in Tegal, Central Java, on April 7, killing two passengers and injuring 19 others. (JP/Yuli Tri Suwarni)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Indonesia minister calls for new-car ban

The Peninsula, Web posted at: 4/20/2007 8:49

Source ::: AFP

JAKARTA • Indonesia's environment minister defended yesterday his proposal to ban sales of new cars in a bid to slash pollution levels, amid concern from local automakers.

Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar said the plan could be introduced if new anti-pollution measures did not improve air quality in smog-filled cities.

"The ban is a warning from me as environment minister because the air quality is already at a really bad level in some rapidly growing urban areas," Witoelar said.

"We need to stop the sale of new cars, at least we need to have a pause of new car production, unless they (carmakers) produce friendly new cars that use gas, biofuels or electricity," he said.

The minister said he would seek support from government colleagues for the proposal if the new measures proved unsuccessful.

The moves include publicly grading cities from the dirtiest to the cleanest. Indonesia had already introduced new emission standards based on international guidelines, he added.

The capital Jakarta and some other cities suffer chronic smog levels and traffic congestion is a major problem.

The auto industry warned the move would impact heavily on production and jobs, and said the minister seemed unaware the industry was already complying with international environmental standards.

The Indonesian Vehicle Producers Industry Association, whose members include the nation's biggest car dealer PT Astra International, called on the minister to get serious on pollution and crackdown on other industries and power plants.

"Pollution from vehicles is still nothing compared to other pollution sources," association general secretary Freddy Sutrisno said.

"The government should also come up with policies which help reduce urbanisation, spread out industries to other islands and take decisive action in battling forest fires," he said.

"And most important, they should set down long term policies to enable thorough preparation for their implementation."

Witoelar acknowledged the social impact of the ban would be horrendous for many Indonesians. But he said pollution from vehicles was also damaging, contributing to global warming.

"It's true that the ban would have an impact on Indonesian economic growth but we need to understand the impact of pollution on our planet would be bigger in the future if we don't try to stop from now causes of climate change."

He said he was concerned about rising levels of private car ownership which some data shows increasing at 11 per cent a year.

But association figures say sales of new cars plunged 40 per cent in 2006.

Govt plans air quality ranking system

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government has announced a new scheme to rank cities based on air quality, in an effort to push local administrations to cut pollution.

State Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoelar said Tuesday the new initiative would at first include only 11 cities and municipalities that already have installed air monitoring devices.

"The rankings will help show whether or not the administrations have developed sustainable transportation systems in order to cut air pollution in urban areas," the ministry's deputy assistant for mobile sources emission pollution control, Ridwan Tamin, told The Jakarta Post.

He said the new program would measure traffic conditions, pollutant levels, including sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, as well as the number of air monitoring stations and the health impact of air pollution.

"We will also examine policies issued relating to air pollution to determine awareness levels of administrations and the total budget allocated to monitor air quality," Ridwan said.

The ministry's team, which will involve transportation experts and non-governmental organizations, is scheduled to inspect targeted areas from May to August.

"We expect to announce the results to the public in September," Ridwan said.

The government has repeatedly pushed local administrations to revitalize transportation systems to cut down vehicle emissions, which are major contributors to air pollution.

It wants administrations to introduce eco-friendly public transportation that can be enjoyed by all levels of society.

The ministry earlier pointed to Jakarta's busway system as an example of a sustainable transportation system, if managed properly.

The busway features a number of buses using eco-friendly compressed natural gas (CNG), and is part of an envisioned mass rapid transit (MRT) system officials hope will resolve long-standing transportation problems in the capital. The future MRT may also include a subway, monorail and water taxis.

Jakarta is the first city in Indonesia to have a busway system. The capital also issued a bylaw on air pollution control in 2005. The bylaw requires all private cars to obtain emissions tests twice a year, and mandates the use of CNG for public transportation vehicles.

However, there is still not full implementation of the bylaw because of poor law enforcement and a lack of support infrastructure.

The Jakarta administration recorded only 48 good air quality days last year, up from 28 good days in 2005.

Data from the environment ministry shows that in 2005, Surabaya recorded 21 good air quality days, Bandung 40 days, Medan 24 days and Semarang 229 days.

The ministry earlier said the air quality ranking system was part of its plan to include air quality in the annual Adipura environmental awards.

Currently, the awards only recognize the cleanest and greenest cities based on waste management.

Targeted Areas

No. City 1. Central Jakarta 2. South Jakarta 3. East Jakarta 4. West Jakarta 5. North Jakarta 6. Surabaya 7. Medan 8. Semarang 9. Bandung 10. Yogyakarta 11. Makassar

Two trains derail in separated locations in West Java

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (JP) : Two trains derailed Saturday in separated locations in West Java: Purwakarta and Garut regencies, reports say.

MetroTV television reported that a number of train cars of Serayu economic class-train derailed in Garut, causing some 50 of its passengers suffering serious and minor wounds.

Chairman of the National Committee for Transportation Safety, or KNKT Tatang Kurniadi said the incident was caused by the poor condition of railway in the area.

MetroTV television reported that workers were still trying to evacuate train cars, who were derailed from their tracks.

Meanwhile Argo Lawu executive train derailed in Purwakarta regency later in the day. There is no report of injury among the passengers, but the incident had disrupted other trains for continuing their trips.

A string of train accidents have occurred since the recent months, mostly caused by poor condition of railway, which are mostly constructed during colonial era.

Transportation Minister Hatta Radjasa said recently that his ministry has allocated more than Rp 200 billion (US$ 21.98 million) to repair train tracks across the country.

Minister might take rail project

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA: Transportation Minister Hatta Radjasa said Friday his office might take over a railway project linking the capital with Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in nearby Tangerang.

"I will take over the project if the current operator fails to work on the project," Hatta was quoted as saying by news portal.

"The project will be completed if the company works on it. Otherwise they will never finish it."

The rights to the 30-kilometer project are currently held by PT Rail Link, a joint subsidiary of state railway operator PT Kereta Api and state airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II.

Hatta said his ministry gave PT Rail Link until the end of this year to finish the project's engineering design, to organize financing and to acquire land.

"We want the railway to be operational by the end of 2008 or early 2009," he said.

The project will use an existing railway linking Manggarai station in South Jakarta with Kalideres station in West Jakarta, from which a new 9.3-km railway track will be constructed to connect Kalideres to the airport. The land required for the project is densely populated. -- JP

Monorail construction to resume

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Construction of Jakarta's monorail will resume at the end of this month after a two year delay, despite the fact that a $500 million loan for the project from the Dubai Islamic Bank has not yet been received.

"PT Jakarta Monorail (JM), the project's developer, has some $70 million of equity as a guarantee to ask for a $180 million loan from a local bank consortium to restart the Green Line (monorail) project," Governor Sutiyoso said Thursday.

It was earlier estimated the two-line monorail project would cost US$650 million.

But Sutiyoso said JM would need only US$ 480 million because it did not have to make any asset guarantee to the Dubai Islamic Bank.

The monorail's Green Line, which will run through Central and South Jakarta, is projected to cost the company US$250 million while for the Blue Line, which will run through East Jakarta and West Jakarta, will cost US$230 million.

The Dubai Islamic Bank had agreed to invest in the project on assurances the central government and the city administration would cover half of the losses incurred in the operation of the monorail.

After the government issued its guarantee letter earlier this month, several local banks including BRI bank, BNI bank, Mandiri bank and the city-owned DKI bank, showed their interest in funding the project.

"We will have problems getting loans from the Dubai Islamic Bank because the bank is offering Islamic bonds (sukuk), which are not yet regulated for in our country," Sutiyoso said.

The House of the Representatives is currently deliberating one bill on Islamic banking and the other on the issuance of Islamic bonds.

The law on Islamic bonds was scheduled to have been passed last month.

Operational director of JM, Sukmawati Syukur, said the Dubai Islamic Bank was ready to disburse the loan anytime, but that JM was constrained by legal uncertainty from getting the funds.

"In the meantime we've decided to ask for loans from the local banks because the procedure is easier," she said.(05)

Friday, April 20, 2007

New Tangerang roads to ease traffic

The Jakarta Post

TANGERANG: The construction of the Cileduk underpass and Sudirman-Veteran overpass in Tangerang will start in July, an official said Thursday.

"We hope the two projects will be completed within 14 months," Satrio Utomo, an official at the Public Works Ministry told reporters during a visit to Tangerang.

He said the ministry was examining the land at the project sites, as the two roads have been designed to resist an earthquake of up to 6.0 on the Richter scale and survive for at least for 100 years.

The municipal public works agency's head, Engkan Lengkana, said the 950 meter Cileduk underpass would cost Rp 42.7 billion while the 318 meter Sudirman-Veteran overpass would cost Rp 44 billion.

"Both projects will be financed through loans from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation," he said.

Engkan said the administration had spent Rp 18 billion for land acquisition to pave the way for the two projects.

The administration released 700 square meters land for the underpass and 700 square meters for the overpass.

The overpass is expected to ease traffic on Jakarta-Merak turnpike and at Serpong heading to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.--JP

Airport installs CCTV security

The Jakarta Post

TANGERANG: Soekarno-Hatta International Airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II has installed 193 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras inside terminals to increase security.

The company's spokesman Wasfan Wahyu said Angkasa Pura also planned to install 83 CCTV cameras to monitor security outside the terminals.

"We're doing this all to maximize security at the airport," he told journalists Thursday.

Wasfan said the new CCTV cameras used infrared to detect suspicious objects from long distances, even in the dark.

He said each camera would send data to security posts after setting off an alert.

"The cameras, which will be completely installed by the end of the year, will replace (some of) the roles of security officers," he added. --JP

Cramped commuters still waiting for better city trains

Prodita Sabarini, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The people standing on the platform at a Central Jakarta railway station wore anticipation on their faces. Looking sideways to the chugging sound of a train, the-would-be passengers got up to wait at the platform's edge.

Some gasped a little at the sight of the overcrowded train approaching, dreading the next hour. Others, seemingly used to the sight, showed no reaction.

The train to Bogor finally arrived at Tanah Abang Station on Wednesday morning. One by one, the passengers miraculously got inside the packed train cars, as if sucked in by an unseen force.

For many people living in Greater Jakarta, economy class trains are the main transportation choice. Cheap and fast, the train is an effective means of urban transportation.

"I prefer using the train to buses, because it's cheaper and faster. I don't have to go through traffic jams," said Tuti, a 40-year-old Depok resident who commutes to Jakarta.

The fare for a economy class train ride from Depok to Jakarta is Rp 2,000. Taking a bus can cost Tuti as much as Rp 5,000.

Anton, a 24-year-old clothes trader who travels to Tanah Abang three times a week, also feels the same.

"I depend on the train for my transportation because it's much faster," he said.

Tuti and Anton are among the many devout users of Jakarta's trains.

However, according to Anton, train passengers are less than happy. Many feel driven close to breaking point by the poor services they are forced to endure.

Anton said services for economy class passengers were close to inhumane. He said it was time the government upgraded services.

"The government should really work fast to improve train services. Because conditions now are close to unbearable."

State-owned train company PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KA) is planning to launch an electronic ticketing system.

"People would get into the station just like when they enter a Transjakarta (Busway) stop," KA's Jakarta spokesman, Achmad Sujadi, said.

The electronic tickets are planned to be used at the Sudirman, Tanah Abang, Karet, Palmerah, Kebayoran, Pondok Ranji, Sudimara and Serpong stations by the end of this year.

"We will implement this for passengers who are subscribers first. Later we will try to implement it for all passengers," he said.

Anton said that electronic tickets would create order in train stations, "however, improvements should go further than that."

He said he had seen passengers fall off moving trains more than once.

"The doors are never shut and there are too many people," he said. He had frequently seen people fainting, he added.

"I guess it's because of the lack of trains servicing Greater Jakarta. It's such a shame because they're a very effective means of transportation."

Despite the obvious overcrowding of Greater Jakarta's trains, they in fact only serve around two percent of transportation in the region.

According to Achmad, 420 train rides serve 500,000 passengers in Greater Jakarta daily.

"By the end of 2009, we will operate air-conditioned economy trains and we will expect an increase in passengers to 1.5 million (per day)," he said.

Achmad said the Transportation Ministry had procured 140 air-conditioned trains from Japan, while KA had bought around 50.

He said that the company plans to charge a flat fare of Rp 5,000. "It is still being discussed," he said.

But Anton won't wait for two years.

"I think the government shouldn't wait so long if they want to improve the train services. The conditions are really hideous," he said.

Transport ministry to work with U.S.

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA: Director General for Air Transportation, Budhi M. Suyitno, said Thursday that the Transportation Ministry would seek technical assistance from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on flight safety measures.

"If agreed, the FAA will send its four experts on evaluation and regulation methodology, infrastructure, safety equipment and airworthiness," Budhi said as quoted by news portal.

The program, which will be covered by the Transportation Ministry's budget, should last from one to two months, he said. -JP