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. …

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

South Korea buys Indonesian aircraft for coastguard

Seoul (
ANTARA News) - South Korea has signed a 90-million-dollar deal with Indonesia to buy four transport planes for the coastguard, officials said Tuesday. 

Under the deal signed on Monday, Indonesia will deliver four CN235-110 aircraft by 2011, the Defense Acquisition Programme Administration said. 

"They will be used for various missions," a spokesman told AFP, adding the plane, which is equipped with an advanced radar system, is already used by South Korea's air force. 

Yonhap news agency said the coastguard would use the Indonesian aircraft to patrol waters around a group of Seoul-controlled islands midway between South Korea and Japan. 

Called Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan, the tiny islands have for decades been a flashpoint in relations, with both sides claiming sovereignty. 

Japan claimed them in 1905 after winning a war with Russia. It went on to annex the entire Korean peninsula from 1910 until its World War II defeat in 1945. 

Seoul has taken measures to cement its claims to the islands, including staging a military exercise nearby. A small South Korean police contingent is stationed on them.

Air New Zealand Flies on Engine With Jatropha Biofuel Blend

The New York Times, December 30, 2008, 11:33 AM

Captain Keith Pattie, right, the test pilot for Air New Zealand’s maiden biofuel flight, poses with Captain David Morgan, left, and the company’s C.E.O., Rob Fyfe, on Tuesday. (Photo: The Associated Press)

Some in the aviation industry say they could one day be flying the biggest jets across the planet without contributing to climate change — using biofuels. 

They also say that it will be easier to convert planes to biofuels than land transport, because there are fewer planes than cars, trucks and buses, and there is a far less complex infrastructure to deal with, comprising only a few hundred airport fueling stations across the globe. 

On Tuesday, Air New Zealand joined a clutch of other commercial airlines in testing out alternative fuels. 

During a two-hour flight to and from Auckland International Airport, the Air New Zealand crew sought to test how the fuel, made from jatropha plants and blended 50:50 with Jet A1 fuel in the tank of one of four Rolls-Royce engines on a 747-400, stood up to use at high altitudes and in other demanding conditions. 

Air New Zealand and the other companies participating the project were to “review all the results as part of our drive to have jatropha certified as an aviation fuel,” said Air New Zealand Chief Pilot Captain David Morgan, who was part of the test flight.

Using jatropha-based fuel still emits carbon dioxide, but the gas is typically recycled in the growing of the feedstock, so there is ostensibly no additional CO2 added to the atmosphere. 

Even so, critics have taken issue with biofuels, which they say could drive expanded deforestation, or would compete with food commodities, raising food prices across the board — particularly for poor families and poor communities. 

Aviation industry officials say that they are committed to using sustainable biofuels that do not threaten food supplies for land or water as part of their alternative fuel tests. “A major part of the industry’s future carbon emissions reduction plans rely on the ability for aircraft to shift towards biofuels,” according to the industry. 

Air New Zealand said the jatropha it sourced and refined for its test flight came from Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and India, and was from seeds grown on environmentally sustainable farms. The airline said each jatropha seed produces between 30 and 40 percent of its mass in oil and that jatropha can be grown in a range of difficult conditions, including arid and otherwise non-arable areas, leaving prime areas available for food crops. 

Air New Zealand also explained that the criteria for sourcing the jatropha oil required that the land was neither forest land nor virgin grassland within the previous two decades. The quality of the soil and climate was such that the land was not suitable for the vast majority of food crops. Furthermore, the farms the jatropha was grown on were rain-fed, not mechanically irrigated.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Garuda Airlines Maintenance Center Meets International Standard

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta, Tuesday, 30 December, 2008 | 19:58 WIB 

The maintenance center of the Garuda Indonesia Group, PT GMF AeroAsia, is considered to have met the international aviation security system standard. 

The US Transportation Security Administration confirmed this when monitoring the facility on December 17. 

GMF spokesperson, Dwi Prasmono Adji, said that GMF has been trying to meet the standards and procedures for maintaining aircraft as already determined by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  

The FAA audited GMF on August 19-21.  

“The TSA statement will help GMF in gaining trust from US customers,” Dwi told Tempo yesterday (29/12). 

An American airline, Southern Airlines, has entrusted GMF with its maintenance. 



The Jakarta Post | Tue, 12/30/2008 7:59 AM 

 A coffee vendor rides past to greet the near-at-hand year 2009, on. Jl. Thamrin in Central Jakarta on Monday. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)

Car-free push key to rise in clean air days

Tifa Asrianti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 12/30/2008 11:03 AM  

With the last car free event of the year held on Sunday, Jakarta will have seen 125 days with "good" air quality in 2008, higher than the 73 days recorded last year, an official said Monday. 

Jakarta Environmental Management Board (BPLHD) Chairman Budirama Natakusumah said the car free events helped Jakarta reach the higher number of days with good air quality this year. 

The number of days with good quality air has been consistently increasing; from 28 in 2005 to 45 in 2006. 

"During the car free day events, the areas usually see a 60 to 80 percent drop in carbon monoxide levels and 50 to 60 percent drop in dust pollution," Budirama told The Jakarta Post. 

He said that his agency's target for next year is to hold the event twice a month along Jl. Sudirman and Jl. MH Thamrin, as well as twice a year in each municipality. 

This year the city administration held car free events in each of its five municipalities. Central Jakarta saw a car free day on Jl. Letjen Suprapto, in East Jakarta it was on Jl. Pramuka, in South Jakarta on Jl. HR Rasuna Said and in North Jakarta Jl. Danau Sunter Selatan was free of motor vehicles. Meanwhile West Jakarta blocked traffic off Jl. Tongkol, Jl. Cengkeh, Jl. Kali Besar Timur, Jl. Pintu Besar Utara and Jl. Pos Kota, all in the Old Town area. 

Alfred Sitorus from the Committee for Phasing Out Leaded Gasoline (KPBB) said that his organization believes the event still has room for improvement, as it still allows private vehicles to use one lane. 

"We regret that there is no coordination between the police, the BPLHD and the transportation agency. With the private cars using the slow lanes, it won't affect the air quality as much as it could. If there is no improvement in January's car free day, we will help the organizer to keep the area sterile from all private vehicles," he said. 

Budirama acknowledged the flaw in the event. He cited that, on last Sunday's car free event, there was a military-clad troop traveling through the area, ignoring the rule. He said the public was angry at the passing of the military truck. 

Besides private cars, top officials such as Vice President Jusuf Kalla have also crashed a car free event. 

Budirama said that his agency could not punish the perpetrators. 

"We always inform government offices and the public of the events. Lack of information is no excuse. I am happy if NGOs want to help us in the event," he said. 

Alfred questioned the accuracy of the data because, while a car free day event decreases pollution by 20-30 percent, pollution levels jump by up to 70 percent on the average work day. 

"Perhaps they count the quality air days from the number of Sundays and the car free days. Perhaps they count the pollution percentage on Jl. Sudirman - Jl. MH Thamrin and claim it as the whole of Jakarta. As far as I know, the city administration only has five monitoring devices," he said. 

Budirama said that his agency planned to buy fixed equipment for Jl. Sudirman and Jl. MH Thamrin this year. The European-made equipment cost Rp 5 billion (US$455,000), he said. 

"But due to the late budget, we have to return the money. We hope we can procure the equipment next year," he said.

Customs office notches up huge haul

Mariani Dewi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 12/30/2008 11:02 AM  

State income from import and export duties and fines imposed at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang has increased by 50 percent in 2008 from last year's figures. 

The airport recorded Rp 9 trillion (US$780 million) in duties and fines from cargo and airline passengers, up from Rp 6 trillion last year, Eko Darmanto, chief of intelligence at the airport's Customs and Excise Office, said Monday. 

"It's 160 percent higher than our target," he added. 

He said the increase was due to higher trade and more stringent customs checks. The airport has not seen a significant decline in the transfer of goods, despite the global financial downturn, but lower traffic is expected over the next six months. 

"In any case, we will step up our checks to ensure steady state income and to prevent goods entering that may harm local industries, because the decline in exports to the United States and Europe may cause more goods to enter Indonesia," Eko said. 

Customs officials have raised their guard to tackle more offenses, from tampering with the prices of goods to trafficking. 

"Many (exporters and importers) declare lower prices for their products, but we check them first before giving them clearance," Eko said. 

"If we find any inconsistencies, we can fine them even more than the original duties they should have forked out. The law says fines can range from 100 to 1,000 percent." 

Importers and exporters can challenge such punishment at the tax court. 

"But the percentage of people who take it up at court is very small," he added. 

Customs officials at the airport also foiled 400 cases of attempted trafficking this year. 

"Most of the would-be smugglers were airline passengers or courier services. We imposed Rp 6 billion in fines for those who tried sneaking past customs without paying. It was mainly mobile phones and medicine they were trying to get through," he said. 

Along with collecting duties, customs officials also busted 13 cross-border drug trafficking attempts 32 domestic ones. Last year, only two attempts were foiled. 

This year's achievement was in spite of the more streamlined customs office. 

"The total number of customs officials was reduced from 700 to 500. For the checking and monitoring department, there are 120 officers, down from 150 last year. It is not always the case that more manpower means more effective work. However, the ideal case is to have more members and still work effectively," Eko pointed out. 

"Ideally, there are at least 165 checkpoints with monitoring devices throughout the airport. But we only have eight devices, so the rest must be done manually." 

The airport is looking to increase the number of devices and adopt a computerized checking system, as well as put up more CCTV cameras next year. A laboratory is planned for checking chemical compounds, and intensified training for sniffer dogs is in the works. 

"We submitted our budget to the government in the middle the year, and we're now awaiting their decision," he said. 

Custom officials pay particular attention to flights to and from gateways that traditionally net more offenses, including Germany, the Netherlands, China, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

Monday, December 29, 2008


The Jakarta Post | Mon, 12/29/2008 10:55 AM 


GREEN HOPE 2009: Green activists straighten out a huge poster calling people to "act now, earth can't wait" hanging on the Welcome Statue at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout on Sunday.

 The poster is part of the Green Hope 2009 campaign, spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment and a number of green organizations to promote environmental protection in 2009. JP/Ricky Yudhistira

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Fuel prices could be cut again, says govt

Alfian and Erwida Maulia,
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 12/27/2008 10:55 AM  

The government may further cut the prices of Premium gasoline and diesel on Jan. 15, hinting it may even, partly or entirely, float the prices of the two subsidized fuels to keep in line with global crude prices. 

"There might be price revisions for Premium gasoline and diesel on Jan. 15," Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry Purnomo Yusgiantoro said Thursday evening. 

If it happens, it will be the third such price cut since early December -- a popularity-boosting move that could bode well for the government ahead of next year's elections. 

Asked about the size of the possible cut, Purnomo said the government was still evaluating all indicators, in particular fluctuations in the price of crude oil. 

Crude oil traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday gained about 4 percent to $36.80 a barrel, but analysts said it was only a short-term gain. Bloomberg reported crude oil prices dropped more than 30 percent in December alone. From a record high of US$147.27 on July 11, crude oil prices have fallen by 76 percent. 

Purnomo said the government was fully aware of the downward trend in prices of oil-based fuels, especially Premium gasoline. 

"We usually set the diesel price lower than that of Premium, but an unusual trend is occurring now: The price of Premium in the international market is very low because of an excess of supply," he said. 

"If the trend continues like this, the price of Premium could drop below that of diesel." 

On Dec. 15, the government cut the price of Premium by Rp 500, to Rp 5,000 (45 US cents) per liter, and the price of diesel by Rp 700, to Rp 4,800 per liter. 

Critics have lambasted the government's moves to lower the prices of subsidized fuels as a publicity stunt to draw more support ahead of next year's legislative and presidential elections. 

At a press conference held at the office of the Golkar Party, the country's biggest political party, Vice President and Golkar chairman Jusuf Kalla said the government would "consistently" adjust domestic fuel prices to reflect global levels. 

"The President and I always discuss when we need to cut fuel prices; however, they will certainly keep declining," he said. 

"If oil prices are down globally, then we will also bring them down here to reasonable levels, to reduce the burden on people and boost consumption." 

Purnomo said the price cuts for Premium gasoline and diesel were likely the first such adjustments to reflect global oil prices. 

As the election draws near, the government is managing the issue of subsidized fuels carefully. On Wednesday, Purnomo warned state oil and gas company PT Pertamina, the sole distributor of subsidized fuels, to avoid a shortage of the fuels next year. 

"I don't want to see any shortage of subsidized fuels next year, because this issue can be easily used as a political tool," he said.

Minister called on to help lower fuel surcharges

Medan, N Sumatra,  (ANTARA News) - Tour operators called on the transportation minister to force airlines to lower fuel surcharges which have to be borne by passengers in line with the increase in the fuel oil prices sometime in the past. 

"Now that the fuel oil prices have been cut, we urge the government, in this case the transportation minister, to force airline companies to lower the fuel surcharges," General Chairman of the Association of the Indonesian Travel Agencies (ASITA), Ben Sukma said here on Friday. 

He said that the lowering of the fuel surcharges should be made in order to make it easy for the people to travel by air with fares within their financial reach amid the global economic crisis. 

Ben Sukma said most of airlines at home and overseas had begun imposing unfair policies which tended to disadvantage passengers. 

He said that when the world oil prices increased, airline companies also increased fuel surcharges but when the oil prices were lowered they were reluctant to cut the tax-free surcharges which were borne by passengers. 

Previously, airlines here said that they had not yet lowered the fuel surcharges because the state-owned oil company Pertamina had not yet lowered the price of aircraft fuel (avtur) which was still sold at Rp10,000 per liter. 

Pertamina has said it was looking into the possibility of reviewing the avtur price fortnightly, following domestic airlines` and the transportation ministry`s objections to monthly reviews. 

"We do not object to reviewing the avtur price fortnightly if the airline companies reject monthly reviews," PT Pertamina spokesman Anang Noor Nurphynya said recently. 

Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal said previously there was a possibility the price of avtur for domestic airline companies would be reviewed on a fortnightly basis. 

Airlines in Medan, North Sumatra, have been imposing different fuel surcharge rates. Garuda Indonesia imposes Rp360,000 per passenger for the Medan-Jakarta route while Sriwijaya Air collects Rp270,000 for the Medan-Jakarta route, Rp230,000 for the Medan-Batam route and Rp190,000 for the Medan-Banda Aceh and the Medan Pekanbaru routes.

Electronic toll collection system introduced as of January 2009

Jakarta,  (ANTARA News) - Some toll roads in Jakarta will start using the Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system starting the third week of January 2009. 

"So far, the simulation of using the system has been held in some toll roads. The system is expected to be used publicly starting the third week of January 2009," operations director of toll road operator PT Jasa Marga, Adityawarman, said on Friday. 

The operators involved in the new toll payment system are PT. Jasa Marga, PT. Citra Marga Nusapala Persada, PT. Marga Mandala Sakti and PT. Bintaro Serpong Damai. 

The preparations have been done by each of the operators. Some 20 from a total 40 soon-to-be-installed equipment have been installed for the city`s inner ring roads. 

"We have installed the devices at the Cililitan and Semanggi toll gates, to name some," he added. 

The total 400 equipment will be installed by the end of January 2009 and in the third week of the month, the system can be used publicly. 

The use of the electronic cards, said Adityawarman, is to shorthen transactions from seven to four seconds. 

As for other toll road routes, like the Jakarta-Cikampek and Jakarta-Ciawi toll roads, the use of the system is still waiting for the open system.

Yogyakarta expects 500,000 tourists

Slamet Susanto, The Jakarta Post, Yogyakarta | Sat, 12/27/2008 10:56 AM  

Thousands of visitors are making their way to Yogyakarta for their year-end vacation, evident from the full bookings at star-rated hotels and modest lodgings as well as from sold-out travel tickets. 

As a tourist destination, Yogyakarta offers many attractions, including culture, food and heritage as well as alternative excursions such as rural tourism. 

Malaysian tourists have even chosen the city as the best overseas tourist destination this year. 

A number of tour sites, including Prambanan Temple, the Yogyakarta Palace and Parangtritis beach have seen a surge in the number of visitors. 

In all, 500,000 visitors are expected to show up in Yogyakarta for some year-end vacationing. 

To bolster security, the Yogyakarta Police have mobilized 1,900 officers to patrol public places: houses of worship, hotels, malls, train stations, bus terminals, tourist resorts and entertainment locales. 

Star-rated hotels and cheap lodgings have been fully booked for the long year-end holidays, starting from Christmas. 

Data from the Yogyakarta chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association's (PHRI) shows 35 single-star to five-star hotels and 842 home stays and pensions provide the city with the capacity to put up 3,500 and 8,000 paying guests, respectively. 

"The hotels are ready to greet visitors, predominantly domestic tourists, for the New Year's celebrations," said PHRI chair Istidjab. 

Several hotels are advertising special menus for Christmas and New Year's and staging performances. Street festivals, fashion shows, live bands, dances and door prizes are all on offer. 

Istidjab said he was optimistic the holidays would help boost the local tourism industry. His association was sure the target of 7 million tourists this year could be achieved. 

Tourists to Yogyakarta so far have been tallied at 6.5 million before the final holiday spurt. 

To anticipate the surging number of passengers, state-run railway company PT Kereta Api has prepared an additional train, the Argo Lawu executive train to run between Surakarta and Jakarta. The train, with a seating capacity of 400 passengers, will run on four days, Dec. 28 and 29 and Jan. 3 and 4. 

"Ninety-five percent of tickets for the additional train are sold out and the queue is still long," the railways operational spokesperson Hartomo said Friday. 

Hartomo told The Jakarta Post Kereta Api would operate the additional trains because tickets for the 14 regular trains had sold out. 

The Adisucipto Airport in Yogyakarta also saw a surge in the number of passengers three days ahead of Christmas. It usually serves around 3,900 passengers, but the number had risen to 4,575 passengers during the same period, and is expected to further rise until early January next year. 

Most bus tickets to Yogyakarta are also sold out. Tickets for a number of executive-class buses plying the Jakarta-Yogya route have also been sold out since Dec. 22, and return tickets to Jakarta are expected to be sold out by early January.

Clean campaign enlist mime artists

Multa Fidrus, The Jakarta Post, Tangerang | Sat, 12/27/2008 10:55 AM  

While there have been attempts to punish people for smoking and littering around Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, a mime show speaks loudest. 

As part of its Clean Airport Action (CAA) program, airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II presented pantomime show at its terminals Wednesday to educate visitors to abide by the rules. 

Three students from the University of Indonesia's School of Social and Political Sciences -- Imre, Pia and Rio -- strolled around the airport eying off any wrongdoings. 

They also carried a golden-colored bag containing snacks to be given out as gifts to anyone following their instructions after being caught smoking. 

The three students started the show by approaching a man who was smoking in the crowd at Terminal 1A. In gestures, they asked the man to put out the cigarette and throw it into the nearest trash can. 

At first the man continued smoking. 

But the students did not give up easily. They repeated the request, while displaying a message written on a styrofoam board that smoking was bad for health. 

Maswani, 50, a civil servant from Kudus regency, East Java, finally did what the students wanted him to do. He walked to the trash can and put out the cigarette. He received his snack gift. 

"I understood what they meant from the beginning, but I had just lit my cigarette and it would be a waste to put it out before I could enjoy it," he said sheepishly. 

However, Maswani said he agreed and supported the move because the pantomime show was effective enough to raise awareness of the clean airport campaign while entertaining people at the same time. 

"So far we have succeeded in moving people, but it's difficult to make people understand the gestures we are using so they can do what we ask them to do," Imre told The Jakarta Post. 

Unfortunately, not all airport visitors can watch the performance because the two-hour show will be staged once at each of the six terminals from Dec. 24 to 31. 

Airport executive general manager Haryanto said Angkasa Pura II had tried many ways to raise public awareness against smoking at the airport, but the results were still unsatisfactory. 

"Based on our study, the pantomime is a very effective way to educate the public to abide by the rules. That's why we used it this time," he said. 

He said pantomime could negate the impression that the airport operator forces or shouts at people to do the right thing when they come to the airport. 

Besides the pantomime shows, Angkasa Pura II also installed floor stickers, and hung banners and a running text containing messages urging visitors to abide by the rules on cleanliness and order. 

He said the mime artists were also assigned to monitor taxi drivers outside the lobby because the drivers liked to urinate in random places. 

Also included in the CAA program launched in September was the improvement of washrooms and Islamic prayer rooms, the construction of an additional terminal and the upgrade of airport infrastructures. 

Angkasa Pura II installed 139 new toilets and renovated 168 existing ones, and constructed nine prayer rooms in response to public complaints about unsanitary conditions at the airport. 

Angkasa Pura II president director Eddi Haryoto said CAA had cost the operator Rp 59 billion (US$6.35 million) this year. 

Earlier this year, a number of non-profit organizations surveyed hundreds of airport users. Complaints about airport toilet facilities topped the list. 

The pantomime show would be reminding all users of airport services to help keep the airport clean. 

However, some travelers still voice complaints about the presence of hawkers offering various informal services, including motorcycle taxis, ticket scalpers and illegal taxis.

New airport terminal to operate in March

The Jakarta Post, Sat, 12/27/2008 10:54 AM  

TANGERANG: Terminal 3, which is under construction, of the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport has reached the final development stage and will be fully operational in March. 

The development includes the construction of a 4,000-meter runway and an elevated railway to connect the airport with Manggarai train station in Central Jakarta. 

"The soft opening will take place in March next year," Haryanto from airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II said Friday. 

He said the design of the terminal, which could accommodate up to four million passengers per year, would be futuristic and modern. 

When the Terminal 3 is fully operational, the airport will have a total capacity of 38 million passengers per year. 

Haryanto said there were two airlines, Air Asia and Mandala Air, which would be moved to the new terminal. They currently operate at Terminal 1. 

Currently, part of the terminal serves haj flights and transnational migrant workers. -- JP


The Jakarta Post,    Jakarta   |  Sat, 12/27/2008 10:18 AM  

Traffic along Jl. Sudirman, Central Jakarta, on Friday at 1:30 p.m. The 3-in-1 traffic does not apply during the holidays celebrating Christmas, Islamic New Year and the changing of the year because of less traffic throughout the city. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)

New fighter jets land in RI

Andi Hajramurni, The Jakarta Post, Makassar, South Sulawesi | Sat, 12/27/2008 10:55 AM  


XMAS PRESENT FOR TNI: Indonesian Air Force personnel steer a Sukhoi jet fighter at the Sultan Hasanuddin Air Force base in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Friday. Two Sukhois recently arrived and will join the existing four others at the base. (JP/Andi Hajramurni) 


Two Sukhoi fighter jets arrived in Indonesia on Friday from Russia, the first out of a total order of six for the country, defense officials said. 

Russian cargo plane Antonov AH-124-100, which carried the two Sukhoi jets, landed at the Sultan Hasanuddin Air Force base in Makassar, South Sulawesi, at around 10:30 a.m. 

Air force base commander First Marshall Ida Bagus Putu Dunia told the press the two jet fighters would be ready for service by the end of January 2009. 

"The jet fighters will be assembled by Russian technicians, which will take about 10 days. After that, there will be test flights of the Sukhois. Once they are operational, the jet fighters will be officially handed over to the Indonesian government through the defense ministry," he said. 

Air Squadron 11 commander Lt. Col. Widyargo Ikoputera said the new Sukhois -- type SU 30 TS3003 and TS 3005 -- had an advanced navigation system and multifunctional display equipment that would help pilots maneuver them easily in flight. 

"Our pilots are used to navigation systems from jet fighters made by Western countries. The Sukhois use the same technology so it should be easy for our pilots," he said. 

The Air Force has seven Sukhoi pilots who have finished training in Russia, but they plan on increasing that number, Iko said. 

Sukhoi procurement project head Col. Mahandono told Antara news agency that the Sukhois would replace A-4 Sky Hawk jets based at the Air Squadron 11 in the Sultan Hasanuddin airforce base. 

He said the two planes were part of six Sukhois bought from Russia under an export credit facility scheme. 

The six will bring the total number of Indonesia's Sukhoi fleet to 10 by 2010, strengthening the airforce squadrons across the country, Mahandono added. 

Russia has provided Indonesia with a US$1 billion-credit scheme to finance this and other military purchases from the European military giant, including 22 helicopters, 20 amphibious tanks and two submarines. 

"The first two jets out of the six bought by Indonesia have been delivered to the customer," the Interfax news agency quoted a Sukhoi spokesman as saying in Moscow. 

The two delivered jets were of the Su-30MK2 class and another Su-30MK2 jet is due to be delivered at the start of next year. Three Su-27SKM fighter jets will arrive by 2010, Interfax said. 

This transaction was part of a wide-ranging defense deal agreed upon when the then president Vladimir Putin visited Jakarta in September 2007.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Fire engulfs Transjakarta bus

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 12/26/2008 2:09 PM  

A fire engulfed a Transjakarta busway on Friday morning in front of Atma Jaya University in South Jakarta, leaving no casualties but causing traffic jams around the area, reports. 

The City Police Traffic Management Center (TMC) website says that it was suspecting short circuit had caused the busway, which serves corridor of Blok M-Kota, to blaze. 

"We have been able to extinguish the fire but smoke still comes out from the busway by now" it said. 

Due to the accident, traffic jam is taking place in Semanggi, causing passengers who wish to travel from Jln. Sudirman to Bundaran Hotel Indonesia, to stay alert.(ewd)

Related Article:

Fire catches Transjakarta bus, again

Trans Jakarta Bus Explodes

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Airport Stagnate

ANTARA, 25 December 2008

Flood was inundated waiting room of Temindung airport in Samarinda city, East Kalimantan, Thursday (Dec.25). Flight in this airport still work although flood was inundated part of the area. (ANTARA photo/Amirullah)

Flood inundates airport, campus in Samarinda 

The Jakarta Post  |  Thu, 12/25/2008 9:38 PM   

Karangmumus river overflow has inundated several sections of maiden Termindung Airport in Samarinda of East Kalimantan in the last few days, state news agency Antara reported Thursday. 

Floodwaters of 20 centimeters cover the airport's apron, the terminal waiting and check-in rooms and the airport service road. The water, however, has not submerged the airport's single runway. 

Termindung Airport serves flights from Samarinda to remote and border areas across the province. 

Airport director Bambang Darmawanto said Thursday his office had not yet cancelled flights in and out of the airport because the runway was still operable. 

For departures, he said, his office had coordinated with several airlines to shift their flights. 

"Kal Star and Trigana Air have decided to move their departing flights from Termindung to Balikpapan. Passengers who have bought tickets will be taken to Balikpapan by shuttled free of charge," he said. 

The flooding has also affected the vocational education faculty at Mulawarman University and some main arteries in the city. (ewd)

Related Articles:

Samarinda flood victims yet to receive aids

Thousands of Samarinda homes inundated

Landslide buries four houses, car in Bontang

Defunct Adam Air still owes travel agents Rp 98 b: Association

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 12/25/2008 5:40 PM  

The now-defunct PT Adam Sky Connection never discharged its debts of Rp 98 billion (US$8.9 million) to 219 travel agencies which had put down deposits on Adam Air tickets that were never delivered, a national travel assocation says. 

Chair of the Indonesian Travel Agencies Association (Asita) Ben Sukma said Thursday his association was now at the stage of calculating Adam Air's remaining assets following the company's inability to pay its debts. 

"Right now we're expecting to get back about 20 to 30 percent of the deposits since Adam Air doesn't have enough assets to return the money in full," he told Thursday. 

The director of Efata Travel Agency, Heriawan G. Manik, said the association should have made an agreement with the airline about deposits to give the agencies legal protection in the event of bankruptcy. (ewd)

Two plane incidents at Chicago's O'Hare airport

(CNN) -- A passenger jet preparing to take off from the airport skidded off the runway at Chicago, Illinois' O'Hare and another plane was forced to return there after engine problems were reported, officials said. 

American Airlines Flight 1544 -- an MD-80 carrying 54 passengers and a crew of five -- was taxiing into takeoff position on Runway 22-L when it hit an icy patch, said airline spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan. 

No one was hurt, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said. 

The left tires and the nose tires slid onto the grass next to the taxiway, she said. 

The passengers deplaned via the stairs and were bused back to the terminal, where arrangements were being made for their travel to their planned destination -- Reagan National Airport outside Washington, she said. 

In a separate incident that occurred shortly after 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, another American Airlines MD-80 had just taken off from O'Hare carrying 76 passengers and a crew of five en route to St. Louis, Missouri, when an engine problem forced it to return, officials said. 

"We were about maybe a minute or two into the flight, and we heard a loud bang that we thought was landing gear," one passenger told CNN affiliate WLS. "But then the plane kind of tilted a little bit and shuddered a little bit, and then the pilot came on about 10 seconds later and said our right engine had gone out, had blown, and we were going to turn around and make an emergency landing back at O'Hare." 

The woman said she has canceled her plans to visit her sister in Arkansas for Christmas and decided to remain in Chicago instead. 

"Now we're going to go home and go to bed, I think, because it was pretty scary," she said.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Unregistered taxpayers to pay double for exit tax

The Jakarta PostAditya Suharmoko, Jakarta  | Fri, 12/26/2008 9:20 AM  

An bilboard on a Jakarta street encourages Indonesians to
 register with the tax office. Under the so-called “Sunset Policy”
 program, which ends on Dec. 31, the tax office said over 10 million
 people have so far registered for a tax file number (NPWP). 
(JP/Ricky Yud histira)

The tax office has officially announced an increase in the much-decried fiskal, or exit tax for travelers going overseas, in part to put to rest widespread speculation over the amount of the increase. 

The exit tax for those aged 21 years and above departing from airports will be raised from Rp 1 million (US$91) to Rp 2.5 million, and for those traveling by sea from Rp 500,000 to Rp 1 million, effective Jan. 1, 2009, to Dec. 31, 2010. 

However, registered taxpayers will not have to pay a single cent; and starting from 2011, the exit tax will be scrapped altogether, according to the Finance Ministry’s directorate general of taxation. 

Director general Darmin Nasution said the increase in exit tax was part of an effort to get more potential taxpayers to register for a tax number (NPWP). 

It is proving a smart ruse, with many middle-to-high-income residents flocking to nearby tax offices to get an NPWP to comply with the office’s Sunset Policy program that ends on Dec. 31. 

The program, under which applicants’ tax obligations in previous years are written off, has seen people rushing to register themselves. 

This month alone, the number of people registering for an NPWP was between 50,000 and 100,000 per day, up from about 7,000 people daily in previous months. 

The exit tax will from now on become an up-front payment for income tax. 

For instance, an employee whose income tax is Rp 20 million per year and who has traveled abroad twice this year — paying Rp 1 million in exit tax each time — will only have to pay Rp 18 million in income tax when filing their tax returns in March 2009.

For those not yet registered, the new exit tax of Rp 2.5 million could prove very daunting. 
Satria Ramadhan, who will go to Bangkok for holidays in early January, said he was glad to have registered for an NPWP. 

“Otherwise, I would have to pay Rp 2.5 million. I would have definitely canceled my trip if I had to pay such a huge amount.” 

Another traveler, Frederick Tobing, praised the move by the directorate general of taxation.
“It’s a smart move. Most people, including myself, will rush to register at the tax office, just to avoid paying the exit tax.” 

The directorate general of taxation estimates up to 10 million new taxpayers have registered this year, Darmin said. 

“I didn’t expect the number to be this huge. No one expected to tap 10 million new taxpayers,” he said.

To get exemption from paying the exit tax, registered taxpayers must submit a copy of their NPWP, passport and boarding pass to tax officials at airports or ports. 

If the NPWP is declared valid, the officials will put a “free exit tax” sticker on the boarding pass. If it is not valid, travelers will have to pay the exit tax.

  1. Exit tax from airports for people aged 21 years and above raised from Rp 1 million to Rp 2.5 million.
  2. Exit tax from ports for people aged 21 years and above raised from Rp 500,000 to Rp 1 million.
  3. Those automatically exempt from paying the exit tax include: People aged less than 21 years; foreigners staying in Indonesia no more than 183 days within the last 12 months; diplomats; employees of international organizations; Indonesian citizens with official documents from other countries, including students; Haj pilgrims and Indonesian migrant laborers.
  4. Those exempt from paying the exit tax but required to provide documentary proof: Foreign students with letters of recommendation from their universities; foreign researchers; foreign workers in Batam, Bintan and Karimun; disabled or ill people seeking medical treatment abroad paid for by social organizations; people traveling for art, culture, sport and religious missions, and students in a student-exchange program. 

Police Close Another Gas Station After Claims of Tampering

The Jakarta Globe, Nurfika Osman 

The Jakarta Police have shut down a gasoline station in South Jakarta and detained one suspect for allegedly tampering with the pumps to supply short measures of fuel to customers, a senior police officer said on Tuesday. 

The police closed the station, located near Tanah Kusir Cemetery, on Monday afternoon after they received complaints from customers that the volume of gasoline pumped into their tanks did not match the figures displayed on the fuel pumps. 

Rudi Setiawan, head of the Jakarta Police’s environmental resources unit, said that a suspect, a manager identified as IS, had been detained after being questioned at Jakarta Police Headquarters on Monday night. 

“He may be charged with violating the consumer protection law, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison or a Rp 2 billion [$184,000] fine,” Rudi said. 

Police had questioned five people, four on Monday and one on Tuesday, he said. One of them was the owner of the gas station. The rest were operators and administrative staff. 

“So far, the owner claims that he knew nothing about the scam, but we will keep a close eye on him,” Rudi said. 

Electronic devices had been attached to the gas station’s fuel dispensers that reduced the volume of gas pumped into customers’ tanks, he said. 

“The devices can reduce the flow by one and a half liters per 20 liters of fuel,” Rudi said. 

The devices in question had been seized. 

He said that the police would continue to investigate the case as there was a possibility that new suspects would be named. 

A week ago, the Jakarta Police closed down a gas station located on Jalan Diponegoro, opposite Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital in Central Jakarta, and detained one suspect after finding similar devices in use there. 

“As of today, we have detained four suspects in connection with the Central Jakarta case,” Rudi said, following an investigation lasting several days. 

The four suspects are the owners, JS and SF, an operational manager, AR, and a supervisor, EF.


The Jakarta Post | Wed, 12/24/2008 7:35 AM 



Workers complete the extension road along the Cikarang-Cikampek tollroad in Bekasi on Tuesday. The extension is expected to ease the heavy traffic on this major artery of Java. (JP/J. Adiguna)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cleaning up: Riverbank residents trash bad habits

Agnes Winarti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 12/23/2008 10:58 AM  

Clean and tidy. It might seem out of place in all the commotion of an area known to outsiders as a slum. But residents of the Ciliwung riverbank in South and East Jakarta are proving they can keep it clean. 

The lively Pasar Rakyat (community bazaar) features some 60 knockdown wooden stalls selling food, drinks, children's toys, shoes and slippers, clothes and even ceramics, lined up neatly along the decked-out 320-meter alley connecting four of the 12 neighboring units (RT) in the Bukit Duri slum in South Jakarta. 

"We want to show the public that people living in slums can also hold such a well-organized festival," Catholic priest Sandyawan Sumardi, from community group Sanggar Ciliwung Merdeka, told The Jakarta Post on the first day of three-day event. 

He said he hoped the administration, after seeing the bazaar, would provide a place and an opportunity for the urban poor people to improve their lives and their environment. 

"Municipal administrations in European countries and the United States, for instance, are willing to allocate space in city parks for poor people to set up a temporary market like this during weekends. I hope that can be applied here too." 

Since 2000, Sanggar Ciliwung Merdeka has fought for the improvement of the squatters' living conditions and their environment, especially in RTs 5, 6, 7 and 8 of Bukit Duri and RT 10 of Kampung Pulo in East Jakarta, stretching along the Ciliwung riverbank. 

In 2007, the group worked hand in hand with the riverbank residents to manage waste, plant trees, set up a clean water and sanitation facility, promote healthy eating for mothers and babies, build a community clinic, and work on environmental education programs. 

In December this year, a composting house built on a 200-square meter plot of land in the Kampung Pulo area, began running its four composting machines, which have a capacity of 750 kilograms each. 

Lestari, a volunteer worker at the composting house, says 200 kilograms of organic waste are collected from the five RTs daily. 

"We need to get more organic waste to meet the machine's capacity," she adds. 

"We produce more than 50 kilograms of compost every 21 days, and distribute it for free to families in the neighborhood who grow plants at home." 

Nurhayati, 48, whose husband works a low-paying job as a security guard, is one of four residents participating in the composting project. For her, the project provides extra income to help raise three of her seven children. 

"We get Rp 400,000 a month for making compost," she says. 

Shinta Yulianingsih, Sanggar Ciliwung Merdeka field coordinator, says the biggest hurdle is getting every household to stick to the waste-sorting process. "We have to keep reminding people because it is a matter of changing habits," she says.

City announces tough stance on emissions

Mariani Dewi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 12/23/2008 10:59 AM  

Private vehicles in Jakarta must pass an exhaust emissions test and receive a certification sticker next year, or risk the owners getting fined. 

Budirama Natakusumah, head of the city's Environment Management Board (BPLHD), said Monday the board was making all the necessary preparations to implement a bylaw on air pollution and quality control next year, but added no date had been set for it. 

The bylaw stipulates owners of vehicles without emissions test stickers will be fined a maximum of Rp 2 million (US$180). However, Budirama said the law would initially be limited to private vehicle owners. 

"In the long run, the bylaw will be applicable to owners of all kinds of vehicles. We implement it step by step," he told The Jakarta Post. 

"Currently, we are still coordinating with both the transportation agency and the police to prepare the necessary technical aspects of the bylaw, such as increasing the number of referral emissions test workshops and mechanics." 

There are currently 238 such workshops, with 568 mechanics. 

Vehicle owners welcomed the move, but demanded a fixed deadline and time frame to get their vehicles ready. 

Hartono, a car-rental operator, said his company would need at least a week, to get all its 30 cars checked. 

"Because of the holiday season, most of our cars are out. For the cars being used in the city, it's still possible to get the tests done if we work on schedule. But for the cars that are out of town, it's more difficult," he said, adding he was certain all his cars would pass the test. 

Car owner Anisa Basuki said the government should allow vehicle owners a grace period of at least three months before enforcing the bylaw. 

Meri Dianti, a motorcycle user, said she wanted the government to put more announcements in the media to remind people about the deadline. 

"They should remind people a few more times before starting to fine people. I read a lot of news but I haven't heard anything yet about a deadline," she said. 

The administration was also urged to provide the public with easier access to test workshops. 

Hartono suggested checks in public places such as parking lots and malls, as had been done before, should be increased. 

"It is rather inconvenient to take the cars to a garage for the test. But if it's done in a car park, for instance, people can do the check in between doing other things. That's a better way of reaching out to people," he said. 

Both Hartono and Anisa believed the maximum fine was too harsh and almost impossible to implement. 

"People may choose to settle on the spot with the police officers, as often happens now, because it's too inconvenient to go to court. I'm afraid this (new bylaw) will become just another excuse for extorting money," Hartono said. 

Anisa questioned what would happen to cars that failed the test, despite efforts to fix them. 

"Some cars will never pass the test. What will happen to them?" Anisa said. (hdt)