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. …

Friday, November 30, 2007

VP orders Garuda to seek EU aviation consultant`s advice

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Vice President M Jusuf Kalla has ordered national flag-carrier PT Garuda Indonesia to seek the advice of a European Union (EU) aviation consultant on how to improve its flight safety and quality standards.

"European Union aviation safety and quality standards are better than those of other countries, including the United States. They have their own standards and thus we have to improve ours," Kalla said after performing Friday prayers.

The vice president made the statement in response to a question about the EU ban on Indonesian airline flights to European countries.

Kalla said Indonesia should improve its flight safety and quality standards rather than lodging a protest against the EU`s ban.

"I have ordered PT Garuda Indonesia to find a EU aviation consultant who can give advice on what it must do," Kalla said, adding that the most important element in an aviation service was safety and security.

Therefore, he said, what the European Union was concerned about was aviation safety and security standards for anybody, including Indonesians.

"Don`t forget that it has something to do with image. Therefore, Garuda should first improve its safety and security standards in order to be able to fly to Europe again," Kalla said.

Asked if it was necessary for Indonesia to take retaliatory action over the EU`s flight ban, the vice president said he did not support the idea.

"Don`t scold the European Union because what it has done is actually a whip for us to improve our aviation safety and quality standards," Kalla said.

RI airlines should continue to improve, says minister

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal said Thursday the country's airlines should strive to upgrade their services following the European Union's updated list of banned airlines.

"The European Commission is not yet sure our country's airlines have improved and consider the list a preliminary move," the minister said as quoted by

"We still need to convince (the commission) we will continue to improve," he said.

The European Commission on Wednesday renewed its list of airlines banned from flying across the 27-nation bloc, including 51 Indonesian airlines.

The banned Indonesian airlines included flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, Adam Sky Connection Airlines, Air Pacific Utama, Gatari Air Service, Air Asia, Lion Mentari Airlines, Mandala Airlines, Merpati Nusantara, Pelita Air Service, Sriwijaya Air, Riau Airlines and Trigana Air.

In the updated list, the EU lifted its ban on Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Surinam's Blue Wing Airlines.

Jusman said he was disappointed the EU had not taken Indonesian airlines off the list.

"If they have noted our improvements, why didn't they take our airlines off the list? Even our President and the EU president had agreed to shorten the ban period," he said.

The minister said he would ask the Indonesian ambassador to the EU to convey his disappointment over the decision.

He said he would also ask the President of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for support.

Separately, presidential spokesperson Dino Patti Djalal said the Indonesian and EU governments were committed to restoring their aviation relationship.

He said negotiations between the Transportation Ministry, the carriers and the EU auditors were ongoing.

"There should be another assessment prior to the commission's next meeting in January 2008. We hope it could be accelerated with support from (EU President) Jose Manuel Barroso.

"If the EU has not lifted the ban by 2008, we will protest."

Despite the ongoing ban, Garuda Indonesia said it would prepare to reopen its routes to European countries.

"Based on the commission's audit results, Garuda has met the international aviation standards, even though there are still minor problems," said Garuda spokesperson Pudjobroto.

"While waiting for the ban to be lifted, we have been planning our service routes to Europe," he said.

He said the flag carrier would discuss the matter with the commission and support the Indonesian government's move.

The government has recommended that Garuda, Mandala Airlines and Prime Air be removed from the list.

Governor wants new transport system

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Governor Fauzi Bowo said Thursday he hoped the newly elected City Transportation Council members would revise the capital's macro transportation system.

"I hope this new team will revise and update the macro transportation system," he said at City Hall after the swearing-in of 15 new City Transportation Council members.

"I believe the macro transportation system may not be relevant anymore and needs to be reevaluated and adjusted, for example, to include a busway tariff hike and busway subsidy increase. Tariff adjustments are not forbidden, are they?"

The city administration in 2004 revealed a macro transportation system plan for the capital, which was designed by a team of transportation experts.

The plan was to function as a city transportation development road map for the next 10 years but was replaced earlier this year by the City Transportation Agency, according to agency head Nurachman.

Soetanto Soehodo, the former council chairman and a University of Indonesia academic, said although he did not know what went wrong with the 2004 macro transportation system plan, the newly established team might propose a new macro transportation system.

Providing the city administration with suggestions relating to transportation issues was part of the council's job, with or without the administration's request, he said.

In relation to possible busway tariff and subsidy hikes suggested by the governor, Soetanto said "they are not necessary if the revenue from ticket sales is enough".

"But we could ask for an increased subsidy from the City Council in the future if (the existing subsidy) is not enough," he said.

"And the administration can tell whether TransJakarta (the busway operator) has sufficient income or not through its financial report, if only the administration had the company audited."

Soetanto is a member of the new council, which also includes academics, transportation experts and an activist, as well as public transportation operators, crew and commuters.

The council, which is yet to vote for a chairman, will work for a five-year period, as stipulated by a 2003 ordinance.

Often criticized for its questionable achievements and role as a representative for the administration, the council would also improve information systems and involve more stakeholders in transportation-related policy making, Soetanto said.

"A policy might represent one group but not benefit another. This is where we need more stakeholders involved and the council members alone are just not enough," he said.

"We also need to empower our office to improve management."

DaimlerChrysler ups production

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

DaimlerChrysler, the producer of Mercedes-Benz passenger and commercial vehicles, plans to increase production at its Indonesian assembly plant next year by almost 50 percent to cope with growing demand.

Rudi Borgenheimar, the president director of PT DaimlerChrysler Indonesia, said Thursday that total production at the company's assembly plant in Bogor, West Java, would reach 1,700 units this year.

He said that with higher demand in both the luxury car and truck markets, the company planned to increase production by 47 percent to about 2,500 units next year

"Next year, we will assemble 500 buses, 1,200 C-class series cars, 550 E-class series cars, and 200 S-class series cars," Borgenheimar said after the launching of the W204, the latest variant in the C-class series, at the Bogor plant.

However, he said the company had no plans as yet to increase the plant's production capacity as the existing capacity was still adequate to meet demand.

Indonesia is the company's fourth largest market in Southeast Asia after Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

At present, the Wanaherang, Bogor, plant, the company's only production line in Southeast Asia, has a capacity to assemble 40,000 vehicles a year.

As of the end of October, DaimlerChrysler had sold 1,741 sedans and trucks, representing an increase of almost 200 percent compared with the 914 vehicles sold in 2006.

Of these, 587 were C-class sedans, while 289 were E-class sedans.

The country's total sales of private and commercial vehicles amounted to 349,489 during the January-October period, almost 10 percent more than the 318,904 vehicles sold in 2006.

Borgenheimar also said that DaimlerChrysler was planning to change its name to PT Mercedes-Benz Indonesia next month. (adt)

Govt launches new train to reduce traffic jam in Jakarta

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post): The government launched Friday a new train serving Jakartans as part of efforts to reduce traffic jam in the capital city.

The new train, named Ciliwung Blue Line, travels from Manggarai, Sudirman, Karet, Tanah Abang, Duri, Angke, Kampung Bandang, Kemayoran, Pasar Senen, Kramat, Jatinegara and back to Manggarai.

The train fare is a flat rate of only Rp 3,500 (38 U.S. cents) during the promotional period before being set at a normal price of Rp 5,000.

"This is an idea from Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo proposed to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in a recent meeting to reduce heavy traffic jam in the city," City Secretary Ritola Tasmaya said after leading the train's launching ceremony.

The existing trains have just served routes from Jakarta to neighboring cities like Bogor, Tangerang and other provincial cities such as Bandung, Semarang, Surabaya and Yogyakarta.

Jakarta has also operated buses with special lanes called Busway, but those are not good enough to solve traffic congestion.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Indonesia optimistic EU to lift flight ban next January

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said he was optimistic the European Union (EU) will lift its ban on Indonesian airline flights in its air space after the intensive and sustained lobbying the government had done with the European Commission.

"The government is continuing its lobbying to ensure that a technical meeting next January will produce a positive decision for Indonesia," Dino said after accompanying President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono at a marriage ceremony here on Thursday.

The president acted as a witness in the marriage of the third son of Rachmawati Soekarnoputri (daughter of founding president Soekarno) at the Jakarta Convention Center.

The European Union had since July 6, 2007 banned 51 Indonesian airlines from flying in the air space of 29 European countries.

For a week early this month, an EU auditors` team had been observing Indonesian aviation conditions and the team`s findings were evaluated by the European Commission on November 19-22, 2007.

The result of the evaluation was that Indonesian national airlines remained subject to the ban while the airlines of a number of other countries were allowed to fly to Europe again.

Dino said the Indonesian government had also done its lobbying when European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso met President Yudhoyono at the State Palace not long ago.

"At the time, Barroso promised to speed up the process to resolve the matter. The commitment of both sides to normalize Indonesian flight services to Europe soon was also discussed," he said.

He said the European Union had not promised to lift the ban in November 2007 because it still needed to continue its studies and hold a technical meeting in January 2008.

"We really want the normalization process to be accelerated and the flight ban lifted at the beginning of next year. If by that time the ban has not yet been revoked, we can lodge a protest," Dino said.

Global, regional warming to blame for Jakarta floods

Yuli Tri Suwarni, The Jakarta Post, Bandung

Jakarta's regular floods can be partially blamed on global and regional warming, a scientist has said.

"This will get worse in the years to come. It has been estimated that by 2050, 25 percent of Jakarta will be inundated," said Armi Susandi, a climate change expert at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) on Wednesday.

He added that poor city planning, bad zoning systems and a lack of infrastructure were contributing to the problem.

Armi has studied flooding in Jakarta since 2005. He received his Ph.D on climate change in 2004 from the University of Hamburg, Germany.

He said regional climate change such as has take place in Jakarta has the potential to increase local temperatures, "inviting" more rain.

"The city's severe pollution has created regional warming. This warming has moved the rain from Bogor in the south to Jakarta in the north," he said.

"We have managed to record and identify the pattern of the shifting rain -- how the rain keeps moving to Jakarta. The increase in the city's rainfall rate could reach up to 5 percent per year," he said.

Global warming has also increased the sea level north of Jakarta by 0.57 centimeters per year. The increasing sea level and the lack of a buffer zone due to the decreasing size of the mangrove forest that once covered the area would certainly aggravate the erosion of the beach and floods in the coastal areas of the city, he said.

He added that the fact that the city's land has sunk by 0.85 centimeters per year due to the pressure imposed by concrete buildings and skyscrappers as well as the massive exploitation of underground water springs hasn't helped the city in dealing with the worsening floods.

Armi said that currently 40 percent of the city already lies below sea level.

The government, he said, should construct a buffer zone in the coastal areas to prevent the sea's waves from entering the city. The buffer could be made of mangroves or a six-meter-tall concrete wall.

"When dealing with climate change-related problems, our country has a very low adaptation capacity. In fact, all we have to do is decide whether we will plant mangroves or construct a wall. Otherwise, we need to relocate the residents who live along the coastal areas," he said.

"In January 2008, the floods, I believe, will be worse than the ones we had in 2007 provided that the rainfall rate doesn't change," he said.

City to fix flood system in response to tides, rains

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The city administration says it will improve Jakarta's flood management system to tackle floods caused by rain, high tides and global warming.

"We will soon upgrade the existing flood management system making it suitable for our present environmental conditions," Governor Fauzi Bowo said Wednesday.

Fauzi said the administration had built embankments to deal with high tides but said they were only a short-term solution, as Jakarta's flood management system needed to be able to respond to global warming.

He said the administration would improve the dam system, which pumps water in the city out to sea or into canals throughout Jakarta.

"The Netherlands, for example, which has a lot of land beneath sea level, uses pumps to expel water back to sea which come on automatically if the sea level changes ... We haven't applied such a system yet," Fauzi said, as quoted by Antara.

A 2.2-meter-high tide submerged Pluit and Penjaringan subdistricts Monday, disrupting traffic and forcing residents to flee their homes in North Jakarta's coastal areas.

Fauzi said the city administration, through the Public Works Agency, would renovate several embankments in areas affected by the tides.

Previously, head of the Public Works Agency's water and coastal resources management unit, I Gde Nyoman Soewandhi, said the floods in North Jakarta were caused by the damaged Pluit and Muara Baru embankments which could not hold the high tide back.

Nyoman said Monday some 20 meters of the Pluit embankment was damaged due to the high tide. The Public Works Agency repaired the embankment using river stones reinforced with iron and sand sacks, but on Tuesday said other parts of the embankment had also burst.

According to Nyoman, the damage was related to the age of the construction -- almost 20 years.

In 2007, the administration allocated money from the budget to renovate and raise the Muara Angke embankment by 30 centimeters.

"We can't delay the construction. We must raise Pluit and Muara Baru embankments by next year, otherwise city dwellers living nearby will be in danger," he said.

The Central Jakarta administration is currently restoring river embankments to anticipate floods at the peak of the rainy season in December.

"The work is part of Fauzi Bowo's first-100-days agenda," Mayor Muhayat said.

The river embankments being restored are near Jl. Teuku Umar, Jl. Diponegoro (opposite Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital), Jl. Cikini Raya, Jl. RP Suroso and Jl. Cempaka Putih Indah, to name a few.

Some 10 areas prone to floods in the municipality are Matraman Dalam, Kali Pasir Kwitang, Kebon Kacang, Pejompongan, Jati Pinggir, Karang Anyarm, Mangga Dua, Gunung Sahari, Serdang and Cempaka Putih.

Muhayat also said his administration was currently preparing rubber dinghies, boats and life jackets to respond to floods. (tif)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yogyakarta two degrees warmer, official says

Slamet Susanto, The Jakarta Post, Yogyakarta

The climate in Yogyakarta city has gradually increased over the past two years due to global warming, a government agency says.

Previously, the temperature in the city ranged between 33 and 34 degrees Celsius, but now swings between 35 and 37.8 degrees.

"The temperature rise in Yogyakarta is a current global phenomenon also happening elsewhere as the result of global warming," said Yogyakarta Meteorological and Geophysics Agency (BMG) Data and Information Division head Tyar Prasetya.

Prasetya added his office had detected a gradual rise in temperatures in the city over the past two years. The city recorded temperatures of between 33 to 34 degrees Celsius previously, but in November 2006 the highest temperature reached 37.8 degrees Celsius and in December of the same year it stood at 35.2 degrees Celsius.

He said the BMG recorded temperatures of 35.2 degrees Celsius in February and 35 degrees in October this year.

Prasetya said every party must pay special attention to reduce global warming so as to alleviate its negative impacts.

A number of Yogyakarta residents say they have noticed the change.

"Yogyakarta's climate is very hot now, especially when we go out in the daytime," said Amirudin, a father of two.

He said that the atmosphere around the Gadjah Mada University's roundabout, a popular meeting place, used to be cool in the afternoon.

"The climate along Jalan Kaliurang, which was cool previously due to its proximity to the mountain, is quite hot now, let alone the area around the university, which is closer to the coastal area," said Amirudin.

Yogyakarta Environmental Office's Waste Management Division head Peter Lawuasal said his office was conducting a study to determine the current trend in temperature rises.

The study is being conducted in 10 points in the city focusing on tests such as lead levels and ambient temperature.

"We are currently testing them in the laboratory," said Peter.

Peter added his office had previously conducted research on lead content in the blood levels of taxi drivers, bus conductors and pedicab drivers.

"Tests showed that the lead content exceeded the permitted level," said Peter.

He said the lead content in their blood indicates a high level of air pollution in the city.

The local municipality is carrying out a regreening program in an attempt to lower air pollution in the city. It has been using money from the provincial budget to procure idle land in the city for the past two years.

"We buy vacant plots of land and turn them into green areas or public parks," said Yogyakarta Mayor Herry Zudianto.

The tree replanting program is being carried out in conjunction with a campaign to plant trees along streets and in private gardens. The municipality will provide 31,000 tree seedlings by the end of the year and encourage residents to get involved in the program.

Govt provides free emission tests ahead of UN conference

Ary Hermawan, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar

As part of a campaign to improve Bali's air quality and in connection with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held early next month, the Bali administration and the State Ministry for Environment will provide free emissions tests for vehicles on the island from Nov. 26 to Dec. 2.

"We hope in the future emissions tests will be made obligatory for motorists wishing to apply for or to extend their vehicle registrations," the ministry's Bali and Nusa Tenggara regional office head, Sudirman, said while launching the program in Kedonganan, Badung regency, on Monday.

The surging number of gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles in Bali have deteriorated air quality on the resort island.

The administration, while acknowledging the serious problem, has not yet issued a regulation to ease the rise in vehicle ownership in the province, especially in the crowded Badung and Denpasar regencies.

Lacking a reliable public transportation system, Balinese have been forced to use private motorcycles and cars to go to work and school.

The tourism-based economy has also pushed up motorcycle sales on the island as foreign tourists prefer low-cost motorcycle rentals over hotel buses to explore Bali.

The Indonesian Motorcycles Association (AISI) has reported that Bali and Jakarta are two provinces with the most dense motorcycle population, with 2.8 to 3 people per motorcycle.

In Bali, one household could own three to five motorcycles. The number of vehicles on the island was less than 600,000 in 2002 but that figure has today soared to more than 1,400,000.

"We are all worried about the degradation of Bali's air quality," Bali governor Dewa Beratha said in his written statement, which was read by provincial secretary Nyoman Yasa.

"However, we can do something to stop it by conducting emissions tests on vehicles," the governor said.

Yasa said a lack of regulations, which could help slow down the pace of vehicle-ownership growth, was the main challenge for the province to improve its air quality and help prevent global warming.

"We are happy that Balinese people are enjoying economic growth, but we are also aware of its adverse impacts," he said.

He said in the future the administration would issue a regulation to limit the number of vehicles in Bali.

"I can't give you a specific date. But in time it will become necessary to issue such a regulation," he said.

He hinted Bali could possibly implement a progressive taxation scheme in which a person who owned more than one vehicle would have to pay higher taxes.

"This kind of regulation is applied overseas," he said.

The Bali administration has drafted a master plan of an integrated mass transportation service linking Denpasar, Badung, Gianyar and Tabanan regencies.

It is still unclear when the service, which is being referred to as the acronym Sarbagita, would be launched.

Bali is preparing for the UNFCCC, during which delegates of 191 nations would meet to draft the blueprint of a mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

All motor vehicles provided by the organizer of the conference in the Nusa Dua resort complex will run on biofuel, which is considered to be more environmentally friendly than regular fuel.

Agus Purnomo, an official from the environment ministry who heads the conference's organizing committee, has assured that tourists staying in hotels in Nusa Dua would not be disturbed by the security arrangements during the conference.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

North Jakarta floods, city traffic at standstill

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post): Flights were delayed, thousands of passengers were left stranded and the toll road to and from the airport was impassable as floodwaters from the sea off North Jakarta inundated parts of the city Monday.

An ignored warning of a cyclical high tide and a neglected sea barrier, which broke over a week ago, contributed to the congestion and confusion at the Soekarno-Hatta international airport.

Floodwaters submerged Pluit and Penjaringan subdistricts, disrupting traffic and forcing residents to flee their homes in North Jakarta's coastal areas.

Traffic was paralyzed with congestion stretching from the Soekarno-Hatta tollgate to Slipi in Central Jakarta at around 8 p.m. (Adisti Sukma Sawitri)

Bali airport gears up for global conference

Wasti Atmodjo, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar

The Ngurah Rai international airport is undergoing a refurbishment ahead of the arrival of thousands of delegates to the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in Nusa Dua, Denpasar.

Ngurah Rai Airport Authority director Nyoman Suwetja Putra said that the refurbishment included the installation of four new scanning machines, bringing the total number to 21.

To speed up the immigration process, 16 more computers would be installed at the immigration counters in the airport's international arrivals terminal. Currently, immigration officers have only ten computers at their disposal.

The immigration service will also establish two special counters dedicated solely to the UNFCC delegates, who will start arriving later this week.

"We also will set up a command and information post, which will be operating three days prior to three days after the conference," he added.

The authority says it is paying serious attention to security and safety issues at the airport. Up to 106 CCTV cameras have been installed as part of a plan to ultimately equip the airport with 200 cameras.

The authority had also placed at least 1,245 staff members, including those in charge of the airline and ground-handling sections, on stand-by status, ready to be deployed at a moment's notice.

"The above-mentioned figure does not include police and military personnel. The security authorities have informed us that they will position sharpshooters and armored vehicles at the airport," Suwetja said.

"It will be arranged in such a way as to enable all activities continue as usual without any disruption," he said.

He further explained that in order to prevent the airport from being overwhelmed with passengers, the authority would close the airport to charter flights, except those transporting the delegates, for the duration of the conference, which runs from Dec. 3 through Dec. 14.

The authority had set aside ten out of the available 38 aircraft parking spaces for aircraft used by foreign dignitaries and heads of state.

"The power supply to the airport is secure. PLN have are providing us with more than 10,000 KVA. We also have our own generators in case of a blackout. The combined capacity of the generators is 6,000 KVA, which is actually more than we need," he said.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

12 dead, 5 injured in Indonesia bus blaze

Agence France-Presse, Last updated 02:16pm (Mla time) 11/24/2007

JAKARTA -- Twelve people were killed and at least five badly injured when a bus burst into flames early Saturday on Indonesia's Borneo Island, reports said.

"One of the survivors is critical and four others need intensive care. All of them suffered severe burn injuries," Agus Budiawan, director of Kasongan hospital in Central Kalimantan province, told Elshinta radio.

He said the five had been transported to the provincial capital Palangkaraya to receive better treatment.

The intercity bus caught fire about 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Palangkaraya. It was not yet known what caused the fire.

Fatal road accidents are common on Indonesia's poorly maintained roadways.

Cambodia Forms New Flag Carrier With Indonesian Firms

Windsor Genova - AHN News Writer, November 23, 2007 10:25 p.m. EST

Chiang Mai, Thailand (AHN) - Cambodia expects to have a new national airline in six months after Phnom Pehn signed a joint venture deal with two Indonesian companies to form its flag carrier.

The Thailand-based Burmese news website The Irrawaddy reported on Saturday that Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An and officials of the Rajawali Group and PT Ancora International signed a memorandum of understanding to set up the airline company.

Cambodia has no national flag carrier since the Royal Air Cambodge closed shop due to stiff competition and mismanagement more than five years ago.

The Indonesian partners are in cigarette, cement, telecommunications, hotel, resort, mining and airline business. They will hold a 49 percent stake in the still unnamed airline with the Cambodian government owning the rest. But the foreign partners, who will provide the capital, will get 70 percent of the profits and Phnom Pehn 30 percent.

Rajawali Group chairman Peter Sondakh said the new airline will be competitive with its better planes and better service. PT Ancora International managing director Vichit Ith said the new airline will support Cambodia's tourism industry.

Cambodia's tourism ministry said tourist arrivals in the country will reach 1.7 million this year. From January to September, 1.4 million tourists arrived in Cambodia, 19 percent more than the same period last year.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bekasi to build monorail line

The Jakarta Post
, November 23, 2007

BEKASI: The Bekasi administration will begin the estimated Rp 5 trillion (US$554 million) construction of a monorail line in January.

Bekasi Mayor Mochtar Mohamad was quoted by Tempo Interaktif news portal on Thursday as saying, "Next week, the investor will start surveying the location of the monorail station and its route."

During a Wednesday meeting between the Bekasi administration and the investor, agreements were reached on several points, including that the administration would provide three hectares of land for a monorail station, either near the sports stadium on Jl. A. Yani or at the Bekasi bus terminal on Jl. Juanda.

When completed, the monorail will connect Bekasi, Jakarta and Tangerang. -- JP

Indonesia`s Adam Air looks to expand fleet to 50-60 jets within five years

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian low cost carrier Adam Air is embarking on a fleet expansion plan that could see it flying 50 to 60 jets within five years, a spokesman said Friday.

Privately-owned Adam Air began operations in 2003 and is the largest discount airline by passenger number in Indonesia's fragmented market.

"We plan to add more planes to our fleet, around four or five additional aircraft each year. So in five years we will have about 50 to 60 aircraft. Right now we have 23," spokesman Danke Dradjat was quoted by Thomson Financial as saying.

He said that it was undecided yet whether Adam Air would continue to fly only Boeing 737 series jets or switch to Airbus, but it would depend on "terms and conditions" offered by the two main manufacturers.

He could not give an estimate of how much the carrier would spend but said the rapid expansion of low cost carriers in India and China meant planes were getting more difficult to lease so costs were soaring.

Adam Air opened a new domestic route this week to Banjarmasin, the capital of South Kalimantan province on Borneo island, and was studying opening flights to Ambon and Kupang in the east, Dradjat said.

Passenger numbers had bounced back in the wake of one of its jetliners crashing into the sea on New Year's Day, with average passenger loads at 92 percent, the spokesman said. The January disaster killed 102 people.

"We had quite a bad time the first and second month after the accident, but then conditions rebounded very quickly, especially after the Garuda accident when people saw it could happen to any airline," Dradjat said.

Thousands caught in traffic operation

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post): Police in Jakarta have ticketed some 9,400 motorists since launching the Jala Jaya traffic operation last week.

The operation was launched in an effort to deal with worsening traffic congestion in the city.

Police ticketed 561 motorists for crossing into busway lanes outside peak hours. They have issued another 8,838 tickets for various traffic violations, mostly for illegal on-street parking.

Another 2,000 warnings have been issued to motorists for ignoring traffic signs.

"We ticketed motorists and towed their vehicles to our office if they parked in non-designated areas. This is a very useful way of reducing street congestion," said the city police's traffic management coordinator, Comr. Sambodo, as quoted by news portal on Friday.

He said most motorists were ticketed on busy roads like Jl. Sabang, Jl. Cideng, Jl. Pasar Baru and Jl. Gunung Sahari in Central Jakarta, and Jl. Yos Sudarso and Jl. Cakung-Cilincing in North Jakarta. --JP

Human error blamed for latest plane mishap

Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Tangerang

Human error has been blamed for the recent accident that saw parts from a Batavia Air airplane fall from the sky onto Gempol Sari residential village in Tangerang.

Tangerang police's special task force chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Guntur Setyanto told reporters Friday the company's technicians were to blame for the parts of the plane falling from the sky.

Early investigations by the police found the aircraft had undergone repair works on its left wing hydraulic system, just before it left Soekarno-Hatta international airport for Pontianak, West Kalimantan.

"It was suspected that the technicians forgot to properly knot the bolt of the machine cap after the repairs, making the cap easily able to fall when the airplane took off," he said.

Guntur said he reported the case to the National Committee for Air Transportation Safety (KNKT) for further investigation.

The Boeing 737-400 airplane was carrying 138 passengers when it took off from the airport at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

After leaving the ground for 15 minutes, the wing cap came loose and fell onto the village's residential area in East Sepatan district in Tangerang regency.

The airplane finally landed safely at the international airport after remaining in the air for several hours.

Residents found five parts from the wing, including its cap, across five different locations in the village.

One of the residents who found some wing parts, Aat, said a one part had fallen onto the roof of his house.

"I heard an explosion ... right before it fell onto my roof," he said.

Batavia Air spokesperson Anton Situmeang said his company refused to speculate on the cause of the incident.

"We will wait for the result of the committee's investigation," he said.

KNKT member Sulaiman said the committee was still gathering data and information to investigate the cause of the incident.

"I hope residents (will) cooperate by reporting any information, including (their) findings for this case," he said.

Old Town to be car-free this Sunday

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Several streets in Central Jakarta's Old Town area will be closed to motorists Sunday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. to reduce air pollution at the tourist destination.

The city administration has announced the Old Town area will be a car-free zone on the fourth Sunday of every month, beginning in November. The move is in accordance with a 2005 bylaw on air pollution control.

The policy will affect Jl. Pintu Besar Utara, Jl. Cengkeh and Jl. Tongkol, which are home to Fatahillah Square, the Jakarta Museum, the Puppet Museum and Red House.

Cyclists, pedestrians and public transportation will be allowed on the streets; all other motorists will be rerouted to Jl. Kali Besar Barat and Jl. Kali Besar Timur.

Jakarta Environment Management Board head Budirama Natakusuma said the ban would allow Old Town visitors to enjoy fresher air.

In addition to closing streets, the administration has organized a variety of programs and performances to draw visitors.

"We will collaborate with the Old Town Society to facilitate a mass aerobic exercise, a bazaar of traditional cuisine and traditional attractions such as the Chinese lion dance and performances of the West Java stringed musical instrument kecapi in the courtyard of Fatahillah Museum," he said.

Old Town Society consists of residents and shop owners in the area, which is known for its historic buildings, which date back as far as the 17th century.

The city administration first introduced car-free days in September, when it closed Jl. Sudirman and Jl. Thamrin from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. to private vehicles and taxis.

However, the event failed to achieve its goal of reducing air pollution, as motorists simply jammed alternative streets rather than leaving their vehicles at home.

Poor coordination between police and the Jakarta Transportation Agency left motorists confused, resulting in many cars being allowed to enter the supposedly closed-off streets.

Budirama blamed motorists' ignorance for the failure.

"We have to work hard to raise people's awareness of the importance of reducing air pollution."

Between 2001 and 2005, Jakarta experienced an average of fewer than 11 clean air days a year. In 2006, there were 45 clean air days, while there have been 54 so far this year

The administration said vehicle emissions accounted for 70 percent of air pollution in the capital.

A 2005 bylaw stipulates that each of Jakarta's five municipalities must organize one car-free day at the end of each month.

The city administration earlier said it planned to fully enforce the bylaw by November, but to date only Central Jakarta has organized a car-free day. (lln)

Commuter train service being put on fast track

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Long neglected, the government seems to have realized that trains could be the only affordable mass rapid transportation system that really works in the capital.

In the past year, the government has made efforts to improve services, including the construction of double tracks, expansion of routes and the addition of air-conditioned cars, in a bid to lure residents to leave their cars at home.

But old habits are hard to break.

Although railway officers have begun cracking down on free riders who sit on the tops of cars or hang on between train cars, people are still willing to risk their lives for a free ride home while avoiding the traffic.

Govt tells housing complexes to unblock roads

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The city administration's plan to open all gates in housing complexes has drawn particular opposition from residents in Pondok Indah in South Jakarta.

Governor Fauzi Bowo has said gates in housing complexes block public access to main roads and worsen traffic, and thus need to be opened, if not dismantled.

He said the administration was studying which gates must be immediately opened, adding the manner of execution would be up to the respective municipalities.

Pondok Indah residents are brainstorming ideas of how to open a number of gates while still keeping them closed at certain times for security reasons.

Louis Pakaila, a spokesman for Pondok Indah residents, asked Friday the administration table plans until a residents' meeting could take place.

"Representatives from five community heads in Pondok Indah will have a meeting tomorrow evening," he said.

The meeting, he said, would determine which gates would be opened and the period of time they would stay open.

However, Louis said, the meeting would only consider gates that grant public access to main roads.

Louis said Pondok Indah community leaders earlier ordered a number of gates, particularly those near main streets, to be closed from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Deputy Governor Prijanto said residents who set up gates "have breached both the 2007 law on spatial planning and the 2007 law on public order".

"The spatial planning law guarantees public access to all streets," he said.

He said no individual or institution could install a gate without permission from the governor.

Pondok Indah residents closed the gates during peak hours in September when construction began on a new busway corridor.

The corridor, which passes through Jl. Metro Pondok Indah, will eventually link Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta to Harmoni in Central Jakarta.

Motorists began taking alternative roads to avoid massive traffic jams on Jl. Metro Pondok Indah caused by the construction.

In a community forum website one commuter said closed gates had been a cause of traffic jams in the area.

Residents said they sought to head off possible crime by closing the gates.

"Residents can count on the nearest police station if they fear that opening gates means giving rise to crime," said Prijanto.

The administration is also considering dismantling traffic bumps that were built without permission in some housing complexes.

Another EU team to review air safety

The Jakarta Post
, Jakarta

Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission (EC), currently on an official visit to Indonesia, said Friday that the commission would send another verification team to speed up a review of air safety in Indonesia.

Speaking to reporters Friday following a meeting with President Bambang Susilo Yudhoyono, Barosso said that the flight ban imposed on Indonesian airlines was a "technical matter".

"Let me tell you, the European Union (EU) was also forced to take some measures against European Union airlines, so this is a decision, but it is only on technical grounds," he was quoted as saying by AFP.

In July, the EU banned 51 Indonesian airlines, including national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, from flying to Europe following a series of air accidents here.

Recent crashes included an Adam Air plane that plunged into the sea off Sulawesi island on New Year's Day, killing all 102 people on board, and, in March, a Garuda jet that burst into flames on landing in Central Java, killing 21 people.

No Indonesian airlines fly regularly to and from the EU, but under European rules, passengers must be informed if an airline is on the list of banned carriers and can demand reimbursement or an alternative carrier for tickets bought in Europe for flights that do not enter EU skies.

An expert team from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) visited Jakarta early this month to verify the fight safety standards of the country's major airlines.

Director General of Air Transportation Budhi M. Suyitno said at that time that the results of the verification should have been reported to the EC's regular meeting in Brussels on Nov. 19 (Monday). However, no decision has been announced so far.

"And I said to President Yudhoyono that myself and the European Commission will do everything to speed up all the procedures, to work in close contact with Indonesian authorities so that the issue can be solved in full respect ... for the technical requirements of safety," Barroso said.

"In fact, I'm pleased to say that very soon there will be another mission here working with (our) Indonesian colleagues to do everything to speed up this process of reviewing all the safety conditions," he added.

Barroso acknowledged the measures taken by the government to improve flight safety standards among the country's airlines, saying that such efforts were necessary to protect passengers and ensure the safety of air travel both here and in Europe.

Meanwhile, President Yudhoyono said that he had asked Barosso during the meeting to help lobby for the lifting of the ban and to normalize aviation relations with the EU.

He said that the Indonesian government was committed to improving flight safety standards and would, for this purpose, cooperate with the EU on technical matters.

"I stressed that we were in the midst of serious efforts to improve our regulations and the safety of our aviation industry, and I'm glad that in recent times there have been efforts to rectify the situation," Yudhoyono said. (amr)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Governor sued over polluted river

The Jakarta Post

SURABAYA, East Java: Members of the group Environmental Watch in Surabaya filed a lawsuit against East Java Governor Imam Utomo on Thursday.

The suit seeks to hold the governor responsible for the high level of pollution in Surabaya River.

Lawyers from the Surabaya Legal Aid Foundation are representing the environmental group in the suit.

Director of the legal foundation, Syaiful Aris, said the governor should be held responsible for pollution in the river.

He said independent analysis had found the level of contaminants in the river far exceeded acceptable limits.

"Before we filed the lawsuit with the Surabaya court, we twice sent legal reprimands to the governor, but he never responded," said Aris.

He said the East Java Environmental Impact Management Agency (Bapedalda) was also named in the lawsuit.

Surabaya River is one of the main sources of water for residents of the city.

Director of Ecological Observation and Wetland Conservation (ECOTON), Prigi Arisandi, said the Surabaya River had been polluted by industrial waste since 1999.

He said there had been instances over the years of hundreds of fish washing up dead in the river, but the administration had never taken steps to deal with the pollution.

"Despite the pollution, a large number of Surabaya's residents still depend on the river for their drinking water," he said.

He said the administration had failed to supervise and monitor the numerous factories along the river.

ECOTON investigations have found that at least 80 percent of the factories are not equipped with proper waste treatment facilities.--JP

EC President will help lift ban on RI airline flights to Europe

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (Antara): Visiting European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said he would help speed up the lifting of the ban on Indonesian airline flights to the European Union (EU).

The European Commission and I would do whatever they could to speed up the lifting of the ban, said Barosso at a joint press conference with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono after a bilateral meeting at the State Palace on Friday.

Barroso also said he respected Indonesia's efforts to improve the technical standards on the safety of its flights at home and to Europe.

President Yudhoyono said in the meeting the government had asked the European Commission to lift the ban which had been imposed since June.

He also expressed hope that aviation cooperation between Indonesia and Europe would soon being normal, with Indonesia had taken first step by improving its safety standard.

The President said government would continue the effort by consulting and cooperating closely with the European Union in technical level.

AdamAir to lease more planes next year to expand operations

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Low-cost national carrier PT Adam SkyConnection Airlines plans to lease five more planes next year to expand its operations, and has set aside Rp 30 billion (US$3.2 million) for each plane, says the company's senior executive.

President director Adam Adhitya Suherman said Thursday that the planes would consist of Boeing 737-400, which can carry up to 170 passengers.

"We want to dominate the domestic market as we realize that traveling by plane has become essential for many people in Indonesia," he said, adding that the planes would serve the Jakarta to Ambon, Mataram, Kupang, Palu and Kuala Lumpur routes.

Adam said that the airline preferred to lease aircraft rather than purchase new aircraft as this was cheaper. He claimed that if the company bought new planes, one day they too would get old and it would cost the company even more on safety and maintenance.

He said that AdamAir, which boasts a 90 percent load factor, currently operates 23 leased aircraft and serves around 20,000 passengers per day on 150 flights connecting 23 cities.

The passenger figure represents a 20 percent increase from last year, which he said was a sign of recovery following a slump in passenger numbers in the wake of a deadly incident on New Year's day in 2007, when an AdamAir Boeing 737-400 went missing.

Its black box was later found and recovered from the bottom of the sea off West Sulawesi.

For next year, AdamAir is eyeing further expansion by entering into a collaborate arrangement with Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) in a move designed to appeal to the bank's 30 million customers.

The agreement, signed Thursday, aims to facilitate customers by permitting them to pay for their tickets via BRI's automatic teller machines (ATM).

AdamAir said that BRI was the sixth bank it had teamed up with for such purposes after Bank Mandiri, LippoBank, Bank Niaga, Bank Permata and Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI). (ind)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Pieces of plane's wing found in Sepatan

TANGERANG, Banten (Jakarta Post): Residents of Gempol Sari village in East Sepatan district, Tangerang regency claimed Thursday to have found pieces of an airplane wing that fell from an aircraft.

The largest piece of the falling objects was said to hit the roof of a local resident's house on Wednesday evening, causing a little damage to house.

"I and my family were watching TV when we heard noisy sound of a falling object. Luckily, it did not hit us," Aat Supiadi, one of the locals said.

He said five other pieces of similar objects, measuring almost two meters by 40 centimeters were also found by other residents in several rice fields not far from his house.

Aat and his neighbors then reported and handed down the pieces of the fiber objects to the Sepatan police station, which later sent the objects to the airport police headquarters for investigation. (Multa Fidrus)

School bus drivers get emergency training

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A minibus carrying several children was trapped between vehicles after a multi-car crash on Wednesday, but the bus driver was able to break a window and lead the children to safety.

There were no casualties in the "accident" in Cilandak, South Jakarta, as it was only part of a bus emergency drill conducted by the Blue Bird Group to train its drivers to deal with such situations.

At least 27 drivers and chaperones were involved in the drill, which was meant to improve passenger safety, according to the group's president director, Purnomo Prawiro.

"There's a lot of bus safety measures, such as breaking bus windows using a hammer and putting out a blaze using a fire extinguisher," he said during the event, which was organized in cooperation with the Jakarta International School.

"All of our drivers (who work) at this school are able to perform bus safety measures because they're responsible for the lives of small children," Purnomo said.

Drivers were drilled in a number of bus safety measures, including exiting a bus through the emergency roof, escaping from a trapped bus by breaking a window, performing first aid and using a fire extinguisher to put out a fire on the vehicle.

"Without the drill, perhaps the bus drivers wouldn't know they have to use a sharp object to break the bus window," Purnomo said.

The head of Jakarta International School, David Cramer, said these kinds of drills gave the school confidence the drivers were well trained and the children safe.

"As far as I know, there haven't been any accidents so far in this school," he said.

A bus driver, Sapto Riawan, said the drill was useful not only for work.

"I was in a public bus when a passenger fainted. Some passengers thought he had died, however I decided to perform first aid.

"I was glad when he regained consciousness. Some people thought I was a doctor," he said. (adt)

Airplane back to airport after wing part breaks away

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post): A Batavia Air jetliner on Thursday was forced to return to the departure airport in Jakarta as a 2-meter-long piece of its wing broke away minutes after taking off.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Batavia Air spokesman Anton Situmeang said an investigation into the incident would be conducted as the plane just underwent a full service one or two months ago.

Residents threaten to block tollway

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post): Ulujami residents have threatened to blockade the Ulujami-Serpong turnpike again if state tollway operator PT Jasa Marga fails to finalize land compensation payments by Wednesday.

Lawyer representing the residents, Andi Rivai, said the tollway operator was yet to compensate residents whose land was acquired to construct the tollway.

"We haven't received anything. If Jasa Marga doesn't pay up by Wednesday, we will blockage both lanes of the tollway," he said at the Jakarta Police headquarters.

Rivai said the tollway operator owed displaced residents more than Rp 4.3 billion (approximately US$462,700) in total.

City police deputy chief Brig. Gen. Raziman Tarigan said all related parties would be summoned to a meeting Wednesday at police headquarters.

The residents blockaded the tollway on Sept. 6 and Nov. 8, causing extensive traffic congestion on both occasions.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

VW looking for partners in Indonesia, Thailand: report

Frankfurt (ANTARA News) - Volkswagen, the biggest European carmaker, is looking for a new Asian partner and is focusing on Indonesia and Thailand after talks with the Malaysian group Proton broke down, a press report said on Wednesday.

The business daily Handelsblatt quoted VW sources as saying that research teams from the car giant were ready to begin looking at possible partners.

A Volkswagen spokesman told AFP in Frankfurt Tuesday that the group was now looking for "new commitments" in Southeast Asia.

On Tuesday, Malaysia's state investment arm Khazanah Nasional, which controls Proton, said it had discontinued negotiations with Volkswagen.

The German group said in a statement it and the Malaysian government had decided "to shelve their joint talks" for the time being.