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. …

Thursday, January 31, 2008

RI, S`pore air forces agree to improve flight safety

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Air Force and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) have agreed to cooperate in improving flight and occupational safety.

"Flight and occupational safety is a main factor that must frequently be underlined and implemented. Therefore, it is important to cooperate in improving flight safety," Head of the Air Force Headquarters` Information Service Marshal Daryatmo said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Head of the Flight and Occupational Safety Division at the TNI AU Headquarters Air Commodore Rodi Suprasodjo said to achieve zero accident the TNI AU had adopted a road map to zero accident since some time ago.

He said the road map to zero accident covered safety in each operational unit, "go and no go items" in the military`s main armament, improvement of human resources, streamlining of the types of planes and accident investigation.

He said the Singaporean and Australian Air Forces needed 15 years and 20 years each to achieve zero accident.

"By applying the road map to zero accident and learning lessons from the two countries, the TNI AU expects it could achieve zero accident in five years` time," he said.

He said the Indonesian Air Force and the RSAF held a meeting at the former`s headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, on Wednesday to discuss cooperation in the areas of Joint Air Force Training Working Group (JAFTWG) and flight and occupational safety.

Indonesia, Australia to cooperate on improving transportation safety

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The governments of Indonesia and Australia signed a landmark agreement to work together to improve Indonesia`s transportation safety, Australian Embassy media release has said.

On the occasion, Australian Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said his country placed great importance on close relationship with Indonesia and the agreements, singed on Thursday, would broaden the levels of co-operation to the benefit of both countries.

"I am honored to be able to visit Indonesia so early in my term as Minister to work towards building on that relationship," Albanese said, adding that Indonesian Minister for Transportation, Jusman Syafi`i Djamal, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation in the Transport Sector during a ceremony in Jakarta.

The Memorandum of Understanding provides the basis for expanding the existing co-operative relationship between Australia and Indonesia.

The Ministers also signed an Annex to the Memorandum of Understanding, establishing the terms for a bilateral package of assistance on transport safety.

Albanese noted the key role of transport to economic growth and development in the region and emphasized it was vital that the transport systems were safe, efficient and secure.

"It is essential the traveling public of both countries have confidence that transport safety is a priority and that lessons from previous transport accidents are being acted upon," said Albanese.

"Australia`s assistance will complement the substantial efforts that the Government of the Republic of Indonesia has already taken to improve the safety of their transport services," he added.

Under the agreement Australia will provide almost Rp 200 billion [$24 million] over three years for a package of training and technical assistance, helping to improve Indonesian transport safety.

"Australia has worked closely with the Government of Indonesia to develop a package of measures to address areas identified by Indonesia as its key safety priorities," said Albanese.

He indicated that projects to be undertaken as part of the assistance package would include: Training of up to 40 Indonesian airworthiness inspectors per year to international standards for the duration of the package; Mentoring and training in air traffic management services; Provision of expertise and guidance on transport safety investigations to enhance Indonesia`s capacity to undertake investigations of transport accidents; and Transfer of technical knowledge and expertise to Indonesian Search and Rescue Operators, ferry operators and maritime vehicle inspection staff.

"Australia`s Rp 200 billion [$24 million] safety assistance package paves the way for even greater goodwill and cooperation between Australia and Indonesia on a range of future transport issues," Albanese said.

North Jakarta slammed over fire safety

The Jakarta Post

The North Jakarta administration reported Wednesday that most buildings in the municipality lacked proper fire safety equipment.

According to the report, which was based on inspections carried out last year, 111 of 185 multistory buildings inspected in North Jakarta had inadequate fire safety facilities.

Most of the buildings did not have fire extinguishers, hydrants or sprinklers.

"Owners need to improve their awareness of this issue," said the head of monitoring at the municipality's fire department, Sumarlan, as quoted by Beritajakarta news portal.

He also said the lack of manpower in the fire department meant not all buildings received safety inspections every year.

He said there at least 500 multistory buildings in the municipality, but only 185 were inspected in 2007.

There were 181 fires reported in North Jakarta last year, from 132 in 2006. This figure includes several fires at multistory buildings.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

N. Jakarta cleans up for competition

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post) : The North Jakarta administration is busily preparing to enter the national cleanliness competition this year.

A local official said efforts would be focused on four areas, which would be judged as part of the competition.

"We need to improve a lot of things as many parks, drains and garbage sites are neglected," said the head of the municipality's sanitation sub agency, Taswanto, as quoted by beritajakarta.

North Jakarta is known as a port region where the local administration pays little attention to amenities and sanitation.

The national competition serves as good motivation for the administration and residents to clean up the area.

Twin-Otter plane slips on landing, hits several people

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - One person was killed and two others were injured by a Twin-Otter plane that slipped from the runway of the airport of Sugapa in Paniai district in Indonesia`s most-eastern province of Papua on Wednesday, according to sources in the far-flung region.

An eye-witness, Father Yudi, told ANTARA by phone from Paniai that the airplane carrying 15 passengers slipped and hit a number of people who were standing around the small airport.

The fatality was identified as Lambertus Hondani and the injured as Jacob Ponggonou and Maria Gobay. The victims were rushed to a hospital in Timika district.

Earlier, the head of Nabire airport, Sudarmaji, said nobody aboard the aircraft belonging to Avia Star airlines was hurt.

The airplane took off from Enarotali in Paniai district at 08.05 local time with Dony R as pilot and M Saefudin as co-pilot.

No immediate information was available on what had caused the accident.

The plane`s passengers included the head of the Paniai district administration, Naftali Yogi, and a few lesser officials.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Motorcyclists take risks because they can

The Jakarta Post

Motorcycle-related accidents kill 300 people on average every month in the capital, according to a recent study conducted by a university.

That is equal to one person dying every few hours in Jakarta simply for being too close to a motorcycle.

How can this be?

There are at least eight million people living in Jakarta, with a large number of commuters also traveling into the capital on a daily basis for work. These people use various forms of transportation, including motorcycles.

It has been estimated that 3.2 million people use a motorcycle in Jakarta as their primary form of transportation.

Assuming the 300 people who die in motorcycle accidents each month are motorcycle users, divide this figure by the total number of motorcycle users and you will see that the death toll currently stands at around 0.01 percent.

This figure seems quite realistic, considering I have only ever seen one major motorcycle accident in the city.

It was during the Idul Fitri mass exodus, when millions of Indonesians were traveling back to their hometowns.

In the middle of the night while driving my own motorcycle down a quiet street, I passed an accident victim being carried away.

His body was limp and his Honda Tiger motorcycle lay smashed into several pieces on the pavement. I automatically prayed that if he had died, he had gone to a better place.

Being a motorcyclist myself, I assumed he had been traveling too fast and lost control of his motorcycle.

But why do motorcyclists always drive too fast? Why do they often break traffic rules too?

The excuse is simple enough: Because we can.

I used to drive a car before I started driving a motorcycle and was thankful that my Honda Tiger never let me down when I needed to quickly arrive at a press conference.

But it took me a while to get used to the added threat of being involved in a crash.

If motorcyclists travel too slow, they are wasting their time. However, if they travel too fast, anything could happen.

Driving a motorcycle is a different feeling compared to driving a large jeep or small sedan. When driving a motorcycle, you do not have to constantly worry about your expensive car getting a scratch on it.

Your field of vision also expands with no dashboard and no back-seat passengers. You can do anything you want because the risks you take are your own responsibility.

In this dog-eat-dog city, you always want to look the fiercest.

But excuses do not justify deaths and the city administration should really work harder to prevent motorcycle-related deaths from increasing.

In 2007, the administration introduced several new rules for motorcyclists, including the fact they could only drive in the left lane of most roads and had to always leave their lights on.

These rules seemed to work, with motorcycle-related fatalities decreasing significantly at first.

However, many motorcyclists seem to no longer be following the rules and can often be seem zipping around the streets at high speeds without helmets.

Ironically, according to the figures, some 1,035 Jakarta residents decide to become motorcyclists each day, which surely contributes to the risks posed.

The amount of commuters in the city also contributes to the number of accidents.

As of 2000, 94 percent of the city's main roads were being used above their capacity, according to city transportation agency data.

There are no more streets in the capital not burdened by traffic jams.

The amount of private vehicles on Jakarta's streets has more than doubled since 2002, with streets being expanded at a rate of just 1 percent annually.

But driving should be about more than just congestion and public transportation systems. First and foremost, it should be safe.

If the authorities refuse to punish those who break the rules on the roads, with many officers still preferring to take bribes, 300 extra people will die before their time every month. -- Andra Wisnu

Pedestrians enjoy car-free streets

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

With his feet dangling in a water fountain on Jl. MH Thamrin, four-year-old Riski could not wipe the smile off his face.

He had been there since 6 a.m. on Sunday with his mother, brother and friends after walking for about an hour from his home in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta.

"I want to see delman," he said, referring to horse-drawn carriages.

With Jl. MH Thamrin and Jl. Sudirman closed to motorists for several hours on Sunday, small groups of people, cyclists and joggers took advantage of the situation.

The city's environment management board, transportation agency and police organized Sunday's Car Free Day in line with efforts to control air pollution. It ran from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event is held on the forth Sunday of every month, with only public transportation vehicles permitted to pass through the specified zones.

Budirama Natakusuma, chairman of the Jakarta Environment Management Board, said the program was aimed at encouraging people to take public transportation, leaving their cars or motorcycles at home.

He said Jl. Sudirman and Jl. MH Thamrin were chosen as car-free zones because police would easily be able to redirect traffic down streets such as Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat and Jl. Muh. Yamin.

"And we will allocate a car-free zone in each municipality," he said, adding that plans to expand the program were still being discussed.

Cyclist Sunarno said he supported Car Free Day as it allowed him and other cyclists to use Jl. Sudirman and Jl. MH Thamrin without the fear of being hit by motorists.

"I hope more streets will be closed each Sunday," the 56-year-old said. (ewd)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mourners rush for seats on transportation to Surakarta

Ika Krismantari The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The demand for seats on planes and trains heading for Surakarta from Jakarta peaked unexpectedly Sunday night as hundreds of mourners flocked to attend the funeral of former president Soeharto.

Soeharto, who died Sunday midday, is expected to be brought to Astana Giri Bangun Cemetery in Surakarta, Central Java, on Monday morning, to be buried beside his wife, Tien Soeharto, who died in 1996.

"Our morning flight for tomorrow has been chartered by someone wishing to bring mourners to Surakarta," Garuda Indonesia spokesperson Pujobroto told The Jakarta Post, refusing to identify the person.

Pujo said the state-owned airline had scheduled an extra Surakarta flight for 9 p.m. Sunday and would consider scheduling yet another at 10 p.m. Sunday, because its regular flights were full.

Normally Garuda flies to Surakarta, more popularly called Solo, twice daily, with once flight in the morning and another in the afternoon.

Unlike Garuda, budget airline Adam Air was planning to use a larger aircraft on its Surakarta route instead of adding flights.

"We usually use a Boeing 737-300, which can carry up to 148 passengers, but tomorrow we will use a Boeing 737-400, which can take 170," CEO Adam Suherman told the Post adding that all flights to Surakarta and Yogyakarta were full.

Meanwhile, travel agent Vayatour said all Garuda and Merpati flights for early Monday morning to Surakarta, Yogyakarta and Semarang, in Central Java, were fully booked.

"People started to buy the tickets right after they heard the news that Soeharto had died," said the agent's representative, Robert.

He confirmed there were still available flights to Surakarta but only after 10:00 a.m., which would be too late for those hoping to attend the funeral.

Sriwijaya Air will depart at 10:30 a.m. and still has seats, he said. Meanwhile, Lion Air, which only flies once a day to Surakarta, will depart at 3:30 p.m.

In accordance with Islamic beliefs, burial is to be completed within 24 hours of death, which would be 12 p.m. on Monday.

To arrive on time, some mourners will travel by train to Surakarta, eight to ten hours away.

State-owned train company PT KAI said although there was an increase in the average number of passengers departing for Surakarta on Sunday, the regular night train for that route could meet the demand.

Meanwhile, KAI spokesperson Akhmad Sujadi said the company was preparing to deploy a special train to carry Jakarta passengers to Surakarta, should it be necessary.

"A train with eight executive cars, which are stationed at the Manggarai station, is ready for departure tonight. If that is not enough, we will deploy the special train." (adt)

MNA jetliner hits cow on landing in Merauke

Jayapura (ANTARA News) - A Boeing 737-300 of Merpati Nusantara Airlines (MNA) on Monday at 8.46 local time sustained a damaged engine after hitting a stray cow while landing at Merauke`x airport.

The impact of the collision damaged the plane`s left engine but all of the jet liner`s 141 passengers were safe and unharmed, Merauke Airport Chief Herson said on Monday.

"The calf was running fast from Jati kampong which is located east of the airport, so the plane could not avoid hitting the animal," Herson said.

He admitted the airport was not yet fully fenced due to financial constraints. However, he had often reminded local people to guard their cattle properly so that the animals would not trespass the airport area.

He said the airport`s patrol officers routinely check the area to make sure that the situation was safe before allowing any plan to land.

Merauke airport serves around 20 domestic flights daily.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Soeharto`s body to be flown to Solo at 08:30 on Monday

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The dead body of former President Soeharto would be flown from the Halim Perdanakusuma airport in Jakarta to Solo at about 08:30 local time on Monday by a VVIP hercules aircraft with registration number A 1341.

"In the meantime, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been scheduled to leave Halim Perdanakusuma airport for Solo by VVIP hercules aircraft with registration number A-1325," Commander of the Wing I of the Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base Col. Gutomo told Antara here on Sunday afternoon.

Gutomo further stressed that at the time Soeharto`s dead body is to be flown there will be no a special ceremony, as the release of the former strongman to the burial place in Solo will be carried out in Soeharto`s residence ot Jalan Cendana, Jakarta.

On Sunday afternoon, some aircraft had been made on a stand by position to fly the dead body and some passengers at the Halim Perdanakusuma airport. The Indonesian airforce prepared five hercules aircraft with the support of three Trans Wisata aircraft - two planes of Fokker 28 and one Fokker 100.

In the meantime, Pelita Air Service also deployed three planes of Fokker 100 and one of them was already available at the airport.

Former President Soeharto (86) died on Sunday (Jan 27) at 13:10 after he was treated about more than three weeks at Pertamina Hospital in South Jakarta.

The Indonesian second president was admitted to the Pertamina Hospital last Friday on January 4, 2008, for suffering from anemia and severe edema.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Airplane crashes in Malinau, three crew members dead

The Jakarta Post

SAMARINDA, East Kalimantan (Antara): Three crew members died Saturday when a Dirgantara Air Service aircraft crashed in Malinau regency, East Kalimantan.

The airline's regional manager, Ramly Effendi Siregar, said the NC-212-200 light transport aircraft had three crew members: pilot Sumiskum, co-pilot Clifford Wattimena and mechanic Darsono.

The aircraft took off from Juwata airport in Tarakan en route to Long Ampung in Malinau.

Metro TV reported the airplane was carrying solar panels to Long Ampung and that there were no other passengers aboard.

"The aircraft took off at 8:10 a.m. local time (7:10 a.m. in Jakarta) and had its last contact with Long Ampung at about 9:35 a.m. local time," said Ramly.

"However, the aircraft still had not landed well after noon and we were unable to contact it."

Another aircraft reportedly received a signal from the missing aircraft some three miles from Long Ampung.

'Canal construction almost done'

The Jakarta Post, Jakartac

The land acquisition process for the long-awaited East Flood Canal project is almost complete, despite ongoing disputes that have complicated the process, East Jakarta Mayor Koesnan Abdul Halim said.

"I am positive that if everything goes well, the construction of the canal will be completed this year," he told reporters Friday.

The East Flood Canal -- which will be 23.5 kilometers long and 100 meters wide -- is one way the administration plans to deal with annual floods in the capital.

The project was initially commenced in 1987 and was scheduled to be finished by 2007, but numerous delays and budget constraints had many authorities estimating the project would not be completed until 2009.

Between late 2006 and the end of 2007, more than 80 percent of the 18.3 hectares of land needed for the project was acquired by the city administration, according to data provided by the East Jakarta municipality office.

Koesnan said only 15 percent more land would be acquired this year.

However, the head of Indonesia's Forum for the Environment (Walhi), Selamet Daroyni doubted the credibility of the administration's statement.

"I personally don't believe it. They have probably only acquired 30 percent of what they need at the most," he said.

Selamet said many land disputes related to the acquisition process were still being settled in court, while many former residents were still waiting to receive payment for their land.

"I don't think the canal will see the light of day this year," Selamet said.

The administration has been involved in extensive legal disputes with land owners. According to city regulations, it is mandatory for land owners to willingly give up their land in such situations or else face sanctions.

Koesnan said he had ordered his staff to speed up the land acquisition process and the settlement of land disputes.

The East Flood Canal -- which will cut through several of the 13 rivers flowing through Jakarta towards the sea -- is expected to decrease flooding in the city by 80 percent.

It will pass through some 11 neighborhood units in East Jakarta and two in North Jakarta.

Floods have increased in size and frequency in Jakarta throughout the past decade, with large floods hitting the capital in 2002 and 2007. These floods claimed several lives and caused trillions of rupiah in damage.(anw)

Menara Jamsostek to design new parking lot following fatal accident

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The company that manages the Menara Jamsostek building, PT Sangu, is planning to redesign the building's parking area after a fatal accident Tuesday.

Sangu finance director Jefry Haryadi said Friday construction consultants appointed by the company were working on a new design for the 11-year-old parking building.

"The team is drawing up a new design for the building and is calculating which design is the most economical and can be immediately implemented," he told The Jakarta Post.

"The team is also taking into account construction standards according to current regulations," he said.

Jefry said the team was working with the city property management and control agency on its design to prevent a "possible correction or rejection".

The team's final design will be submitted to an independent panel authorized to determine the feasibility the project during a hearing next Wednesday, Jefry said.

Previously, agency head Hari Sasongko said the building's management team was required to submit a new design for the parking lot that complied with its 2007 decree on buildings and structures.

Hari said the decree stipulated that walls in parking buildings must be resistant to collisions.

He said the agency had ordered the building's management team to temporarily close the parking area until renovations were completed to make it safer following Tuesday's accident, which claimed the life of a 42-year-old man.

The victim of Tuesday's crash was identified as Heryawan, a resident of Pesanggrahan in South Jakarta, who had worked as a driver for an insurance agency for 15 years.

He backed his vehicle through a barrier in the parking building and plunged to his death.

The incident occurred at around 10:30 a.m. after Heryawan drove his employer to a meeting in the building on Jl. Gatot Subroto in South Jakarta.

The car hit a passing vehicle before coming to rest upside down on the ground.

Two people inside the car that was hit sustained minor injuries.

According to Jamsostek's operations and services director Ahmad Ansyori, the company offered Heryawan's family Rp 99 million (US$10,550) on Friday, including Rp 200,000 every month for the next 24 months.

"We will also give Heryawan's eldest child, who is still at university, a Rp 150,000 scholarship every month," Ahmad told the Post.

Two car park accidents occurred last year at the Permata Hijau International Trade Center in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta.

A family of three was killed when their vehicle fell from the sixth floor of center's parking building earlier in the year.

The second accident, which resulted in no injuries, occurred when a driver lost control of his vehicle and rolled backwards, smashing through a meter-high wall in the parking building.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Indonesian navy grounds eight aircraft: official

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian navy has grounded eight of its light aircraft following a recent crash that killed two people and left two critically injured, the navy said Thursday.

"We have 22 Nomad aircraft and eight of them are now grounded," navy spokesman Commodore Iskandar Sitompul told AFP.

Sitompul said the navy had conducted a check of the aircraft following the plane crash in waters north of Indonesia's Aceh province on December 30 last year. It found eight were "not airworthy," he said.

Iskandar said the crashed Nomad was last overhauled in 1997 and still had 1,750 hours of flight time left before it was due for its next overhaul. He also said that the last check on the aircraft showed that the condition of its airframe was still good for another 1,204 hours.

In a press release later Thursday, Sitompul said crash investigations showed that the pilot had been preparing for a landing because of engine trouble, "but it is believed that turbulence forced the airplane to fall into the sea."

Garuda to have extra flights on China routes late this year

Beijing (ANTARA News) - Indonesian national flag carrier Garuda is in 2008 to conduct extra flights between Jakarta and a number of Chinese cities to meet highly increased demand for air transportation during a long holiday season in China and the Olympic Games in the Chinese capital.

"We are planning to conduct extra flights on routes between Jakarta and a number of cities in China," general manager of Garuda`s branch office in Beijing, Pikri Ilham, said here on Friday.

He said Garuda was at present serving its Jakarta-Beijing route three times a week, its Jakarta-Shanghai route four times a week and its Jakarta-Gaungzhou route four times a week.

But later this year, Garuda would conduct a total of 30 extra flights between Jakarta and the Chinese cities, namely 12 additional flights on its Jakarta-Beijing route, 12 additional flights on its Jakarta-Guangzhou route and 6 additional flights on its Jakarta-Shanghai route.

Pikri said the extra flights would be provided to meet requests from several travel agents in Beijing who foresee a drastic surge in the number of tourists from China to Indonesia and the other way round later this year.

"We have been asked by many travel agents in China to increase the number of our flights because the number of passengers during the Chinese Lunar New Year and the Olympic Games in Beijing will rise," Pikri said.

Govt to fund water quality control

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government has allocated Rp 351 billion (US$37.4 million) for water quality control in municipalities and regencies across the country to help them address problems of river pollution and water scarcity.

"Some 450 municipalities and regencies will receive the special budget in different amounts, depending on the level of need in each area," Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar told reporters Wednesday after opening a one-day workshop to familiarize civil servants with the budget's spending guidelines.

He said water quality had become his major concern because water pollution, water shortages and floods were common environmental problems faced by almost all municipalities and regencies.

"The result of the 2006 river quality tests in 30 provinces showed the water has been polluted with bacteria," he said.

"While rural people rely heavily on rivers in their daily lives, most river water is harmful for consumption."

A 2007 Greenpeace report alleged water quality worldwide has been steadily declining in recent years.

The report cited several factors, including siltation from deforestation, mining and other land conversion activities, saltwater intrusion from over-extraction of water from underground aquifers, biological pollution from untreated sewage, chemical pollution from industrial and agricultural sources, and indiscriminate dumping of garbage in bodies of water.

The Greenpeace report concluded pollution had made already-scarce water resources even scarcer.

Since 2006, the Environment Ministry has been disbursing money to finance greening activities and build laboratories for water quality testing.

"The problem of water scarcity can be solved by planting more trees and establishing percolation pits, which function as water catchment areas," said Minister Rachmat.

Arief Yuwono, secretary to the environment minister, said the budget would also be spent on local training.

"Such training is important because without proper knowledge and skill, it will be hard for the local officials to implement water quality control," he said. (lln)

Administration speeds up safety-check on parking buildings

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Jakarta Property Management and Control Agency is accelerating safety checks on parking buildings in the city following a recent accident at the Menara Jamsostek building that claimed one life.

Agency head Hari Sasongko said it would immediately close parking facilities not meeting the construction standards of a 2007 degree.

All carparks had to submit building designs to the agency or else wait for agency officers to inspect them, he said.

Hari said owners of buildings closed for safety reasons would have to first submit new building designs and then rebuild, adding that both design plans and the finished work would have to pass agency approval.

"The offenders must consider all possible collision factors in the designs."

Hari said the agency would ask for help from universities to carry out checks at some 400 parking buildings so as to complete the process by mid-year.

A 2007 agency decree provides that walls in parking buildings must be strong enough to withstand collisions.

The agency has inspected 22 parking buildings for safety following a string of carpark accidents.

On Tuesday, a 42-year-old chauffeur died after accidentally backing his car through a steel fence at Jamsostek building on Jl. Gatot Subroto, South Jakarta.

The incident took place at around 10:30 a.m., after the man -- who had 15-years professional driving experience -- dropped his employer at the building.

The car hit a moving vehicle, causing minor injuries to the occupants and landing upside down.

Two carpark accidents occurred last year.

At Permata Hijau International Trade Center in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta, a family of three was killed when their vehicle fell from the sixth floor of the garage.

The second accident occurred when a driver lost control and rolled backwards, smashing through a meter-high wall on a spiral ramp of a carpark.

No one was injured in that accident.

State firms in logistics, tourism sector 'did well'

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The performance of a total 31 state-owned companies in the logistics and tourism sectors showed encouraging progress last year in earnings and profits, a senior official said.

Total revenues rose by 14.7 percent to Rp 40.4 trillion (about US$4.3 billion) in 2007 from Rp 34.4 trillion in 2006. In 2005, the companies posted Rp 32.3 trillion in revenue, according to Harry Susetyo Nugroho, deputy to the state minister of state enterprises.

In profits, the companies increased to Rp 3.2 trillion in 2007 from Rp 2.4 trillion in 2006, Harry told a hearing with the House of Representatives' Commission VI on industry, investment, SMEs and state enterprises.

The companies made Rp 2.5 trillion in profit in 2005.

Contributing the highest to increased revenue and profit were mainly companies like national flag carrier PT Garuda Indonesia Airline and shipping firm PT Pelni, which were both in the red in previous years but bounced back to return to the black in 2007.

Garuda posted a profit of Rp 250 billion in 2007 after a loss of Rp 197 billion in 2006 and Rp 588 billion in 2005. Pelni made Rp 88 billion last year in profit, after suffering a loss of Rp 127.8 billion in 2005.

In addition, Harry said, Garuda and another state carrier PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines received capital injections from the government worth Rp 1 trillion and Rp 450 billion, respectively.

"As for Garuda, the Rp 1 trillion funds have not been used as its performance is improving," said Harry on Thursday.

Merpati had used Rp 290 billion of the money for maintenance works and debts payments.

"Merpati failed to meet its target on improving its cash flow, so we plan to reevaluate the target this year," said Harry.

Elsewhere, the government restructured heavy machinery company PT Rukindo's management in early 2006 and made state-owned sea-port operators PT Pelindo I, PT Pelindo II, PT Pelindo III and PT Pelindo IV its foster parent companies, he said.

"All four Pelindo companies last year gave Rp 80 billion to Rukindo to support its working capital."

To improve the performance of state-owned hotel group PT Hotel Indonesia Natour (HIN), the government negotiated with Djarum Group to refurbish one of HIN's hotels, the iconic Hotel Indonesia.

Hotel Indonesia, located in Central Jakarta near the famous circle intersection called Bunderan HI (Hotel Indonesia), was the first hotel in the country.

Harry said starting in 2004 Djarum Group had leased Hotel Indonesia's complex on 6.2 hectares of land for 30 years to build an integrated commercial center named Grand Indonesia.

Commenting on the government's action on improving its hotels business, the chairman of the commission Didiek J. Rachbini suggested the government privatize the hotel group.

"I suggest the government focus on the transportation businesses, such as Garuda, instead of hotels. Private companies do better on hotels, so leave the business to them," he added without elaborating. (nkn)

Chartered flight business 'promising'

Agustina Wayansari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Publicly listed chartered airline company PT Indonesia Air Transport is upbeat about business prospects in the country, amid an intensified drive by the government to boost oil production.

President director Roekman Prawirasastra said Thursday that because most of the industry's clients were oil and gas companies, the government's campaign to boost investment and exploration in the oil and gas sector boded well for the chartered flight business.

Roekman was speaking after the signing ceremony for a US$50 million leasing contract with a consortium of three oil and gas companies.

"The consortium of ConocoPhilips, Star Energy and Premier Oil has agreed to rent three helicopters, type EC155B1, for the next five years, which will operate on their exploration sites in West Natuna," he said.

The company owns 22 airplanes that are available for charter.

"We are optimistic that we can increase revenue to up to Rp 240 billion this year," Roekman said, adding that the company booked total revenue of Rp 219 billion (US$23.3 million) and a net profit of Rp 4.4 billion in 2007.

"It could be even higher as we also plan to enter regular flights in the near future," he said.

Finance director Krisman Tarigan confirmed the company's plan to begin offering regular flights in the future, saying it could increase the company's revenue to Rp 400 billion if they were able to secure a permit from the Transportation Ministry.

Krisman said the firm had submitted a request for 80 routes, mostly in the country's eastern areas, and for that purpose, had secured funding from Bank Muamalat and its syndicate to gradually purchase 25 airplanes.

"We have bought six planes, and will buy another four this year. By end of 2011, we'll have all 25 planes ready for operation," Krisman said.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jakarta`s "Old City" being provided with tourist transportation facilities

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Jakarta`s "old city" in the capital`s western part will soon have a minibus service to carry tourists around the area.

"We will operate two minibuses on a route connecting all objects of touristic interest in the area," deputy head of the local transportation office Udar Pristono told ANTARA News on Thursday.

He said the service would be run jointly by his office and the Jakarta branch of the culture and tourism department.

"A complete bus ride starts at the Bank Mandiri Museum, makes a stop at the Puppet Museum and ends at the Mandiri Museum. The route is being discussed with the tourism and culture office," he said.

In the near future, a tunnel for pedestrians would connect the old city with the rest of Jakarta, he added.

"Tourists staying in accommodations on Jalan Thamrin, one of Jakarta`s main thoroughfares, could take a TransJakarta bus to the downtown Kota area where they only need to pass through the pedestrian tunnel to reach the Mandiri Museum. So people do not need to use private cars to reach the old city," he added.

A pedestrian lane along Pintu Besar Utara Street in front of the Puppet Museum and the Fatahillah Museum Park was now under construction.

Work to provide the transportation facilities was started in 2006 as part of a project to revitalize Jakarta`s old city as a tourist attraction.

The old city proper covers a total area of 864 hectares.

IATA wins $50 million contract to lease three choppers

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Publicly-listed PT Indonesia Air Transport Tbk (IATA) has won a US$50 million contract for the leasing of three helicopters to the West Natuna Consortium consisting of Conoco Philips, Premier Oil and Star Energy for five years.

The contract was signed at the IATA office here on Thursday in the presence of IATA President Commissioner Chappy Hakim, IATA President Director Roekman Prawirasasra, Conoco Philips Vice President for Development and Relations Razief Fikri, Premier Oil Asset Manager Jim Baber and Star Energy Vice President for Operations Engineering Asrini Haznam.

IATA now has six EC155B1 helicopters. "The other three helicopters will be leased to other companies and we are in the process of negotiating with them," Roekman said.

IATA is expected to post a net profit of Rp4.4 billion last year.

Revitalization plan promises better train service

Adisti Sukma Sawitri, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Train passengers at Manggarai station in South Jakarta are getting used to uncomfortable waits, with many of them spreading newspapers on the floor to sit out the long gaps between trains.

On Monday afternoon the station wasn't crowded, but the few seats were not enough for the hundreds of commuters awaiting their trains.

Hamdani of Depok Baru, who uses the express train every day, said he was used to standing at platforms as almost no stations in Greater Jakarta were equipped with enough waiting chairs.

On this day he also sat on the platform as the trains were behind schedule.

"I don't mind enduring this hardship, because I'm already used to sitting on the floor in the train, and it is much better than enduring zillions of traffic jams to get to my office," said the employee of a private company in South Jakarta.

It has been love-hate relationship between passengers and the city's train network. As one of the most extensive transit systems linking the city to its neighboring regions, it has been the answer for many residents tired of traffic jams.

But passengers endure glitches in the service.

Delays are frequent and trains not always well-maintained. Some riders have to struggle to get to their trains as most stations in Greater Jakarta are not equipped with sufficient parking space.

"I need to wait for my husband to drop me at the station early in the morning and pick me in the afternoon as there is no parking lot here," said Nina Wahyuni, a researcher at an institute in Menteng, South Jakarta, who travels by the 6 a.m train from Bogor to Sudirman station every day.

The number of passengers on state-owned railway operator PT Kereta Api (PT KA) trains in Greater Jakarta has dropped in recent years as services have scarcely improved despite the increasing fare for all train classes.

From 117 million passengers in 2002, the company was down to 100 million in 2005.

However, as roads gets increasingly congested every year, the central government and the Jakarta administration have renewed their hope in using the network to ease traffic.

A train law passed last year obliges PT KA to split its authority to private firms or local governments to improve services.

The law ordered that after a transition period lasting until 2009, every region could operate its own train service, with PT KA staying on only as the controller of railway network.

The privatization plan has pushed the rail company to make major changes to its networks, and to target raising the number of daily passengers in Greater Jakarta from about 290,000 in 2006, or 1.75 percent of area's 16 million total commuters, to 390,000 by 2010.

It has conducted a series of evictions along the rail tracks to keep trains from delays and accidents.

The company has also increased cars for several routes like Depok-Manggarai as well as revitalized several abandoned lines like the Ciliwung Blue Line that traverses the inner-city.

The inner-city line from Manggarai station to Jatinegara station in East Jakarta last operated in the 1980s. It was closed within a few years as it attracted very few passengers.

The company also plans to redesign the network by making the Manggarai station the central hub for lines from eastern and southern Jakarta, thus avoiding conflicts with the increasing number of train cars operating in Greater Jakarta.

Once the station is reconstructed, no train from southern outskirt of Jakarta will travel directly to Kota station in West Jakarta.

Spokesman for PT KA's Greater Jakarta division Akhmad Sujadi said a lack of attention from the central and local governments was the main reason for the network's problems.

"Road-based transportation has outpaced the train network in the past decades while the Greater Jakarta division was trapped as only a small unit within the company," he told The Jakarta Post.

The division had to make decisions only with the approval of the company's central management, he said, effectively handcuffing efforts to set tracks and improve services for decades.

"Most of the tracks in Greater Jakarta are Dutch-inherited, built for trade activities, so some tracks do not match the commuting patterns today," Akhmad said.

One of the idle tracks links Kota to Tanjung Priok. Several parts of the track were covered by semi-permanent settlements.

Company-built lines include the Depok-Bogor line and the double-track linking Tanah Abang in Central Jakarta to Serpong in Tangerang.

In 2000, the division was given greater autonomy, but its income still goes directly to company headquarters, with the division receiving its budget from the larger unit.

"We are trying so hard to improve our services, but of course it will take a while before we really meet people's expectations," said Akhmad.

Annual passengers and ticket sales of PT KA's Greater Jakarta division

Year Passengers Ticket sales

(in millions) (in billions of rupiah)

  • 2002 - 117.86 119.26
  • 2003 - 102.04 156.41
  • 2004 - 100.39 169.12
  • 2005 - 100.96 186.51
  • 2006 - 104.58 205.86

Source: Jakarta In Numbers 2007

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Depok opens train maintenance facility

The Jakarta Post

An electric train maintenance facility in Depok, West Java, was officially opened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday.

The President spoke via remote link-up from Kutoarjo in Central Java.

West Java Governor Dani Setiawan, who attended the launch, said the 26-hectare facility was the largest train depot in Southeast Asia.

Extending 1.3 kilometers in length and 200 meters in width, it has 14 stabling lines that can accommodate up to 224 trains.

The area also contains large office and maintenance buildings, as well as 30 rooms with 120 beds for train drivers and engineers.

The depot was constructed between Aug. 2004 and Aug. 2007 at a total cost of Rp 504 billion, which was provided in state budget allocations and through Japan Bank for International Cooperation loans.

"This way we can maintain our trains better and improve our services for the city's commuters," said Harijogi, the general secretary of the Ministry of Transportation.

Akhmad Sujadi, the spokesman for the Greater Jakarta branch of state-owned railway company PT Kereta Api, said 402 electric train services were offered in the Greater Jakarta area, including between the capital and Bekasi, Bogor, Depok and Serpong.

"We plan to add 56 more services this year," he said.

The President was in Kutoarjo to launch a 64-kilometer double-track railway line connecting Kutoarjo in Central Java and Yogyakarta.

Lombok begins construction of int'l airport

Panca Nugraha, The Jakarta Post, Lombok

West Nusa Tenggara Governor HL Serinata officially commenced the construction work of Lombok International Airport on Saturday, by laying a foundation stone.

The new airport will be located in Tanak Awu village, Central Lombok Regency, around 35 kilometers from Mataram.

The ceremony was attended by West Nusa Tenggara provincial officers, Central Lombok Regent HL Wiratmaja and president of state-owned airport management company PT Angkasa Pura Heru Legowo.

"By laying this foundation stone, people here will see we seriously intend to establish and operate an international airport in the region," Serinata said.

Serinata said he hoped the establishment and operation of a new airport would connect people directly to strategic international businesses.

He said he expected the international airport, which would cost some Rp 150 billion (about US$16.6 million), would bring many benefits to the people of Lombok when it opened in 2010.

Serinata said he expected the airport would bring the island many economic benefits due to the direct international links to Lombok. For this reason, he said, he encouraged people in the region to improve their skills to meet the expected increase in demands.

"I am sure many investors will come here to set up businesses. I hope the job market will open up for local residents. That's why we need to increase residents capabilities," Serinata said.

Heru Legowo said so far only small planes were available for visitors traveling by air to West Nusa Tenggara since the Selaparang airport in Mataram could not accommodate large airplanes.

He said he expected the new and larger airport in Lombok could accommodate bigger planes, like the Boeing 747.

West Nusa Tenggara provincial administration spokesman Ibnu Said his administration supported the construction of the new airport and had allocated funds from the regional budget for it.

"We have allocated Rp 5 billion per year since 2007. The fund comes out of the provincial budget," he added.

While waiting for the airport's completion, the provincial administration announced it planned to develop the tourism sector in Central Lombok.

PT Emmars, a Middle Eastern investor, has signed an agreement with the local administration to develop Kuta Beach in Central Lombok.

PT Emmars would construct several homestays, villas and hotels along the strip of land owned by the Lombok Tourism Development Center in Central Lombok.

Car plunges off 8th floor parking lot, one killed

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post): A man has died after the car he was driving plunged from the eighth floor of a high-rise parking lot in South Jakarta on Tuesday.

Heryawan, 42, accidentally backed his car through the steel fence of the parking lot. He was killed almost instantly.

The incident happened at around 10:30 a.m. after Heryawan had dropped his employer at a meeting in the Menara Jamsostek building on Jl. Gatot Subroto.

The victim, a resident of Pesanggrahan, South Jakarta, had worked as a driver for an insurance agency for 15 years.

The car fell on the passenger side of a moving vehicle, before hitting the ground upside down.

The two people inside the car it hit sustained only minor injuries.

Last year, two similar accidents took place at the Permata Hijau International Trade Center in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta. (Mustaqim Adamrah)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Djoni Bustan: Biofuel maker facing constraints

Khairul Saleh, The Jakarta Post, Palembang, South Sumatra

For one couple, four years of research and experiments have come to fruition, with very positive results.

Djoni Bustan, who has a PhD in mechanical engineering, and his wife Sri Haryati, have created a number of different kinds of biofuels from crude palm oil (CPO), sugarcane residue, coal and castor seeds -- with coal and CPO-based fuel in the trial stage.

Their series of experiments with CPO produced the general types of fuel needed like bio-gasoline, bio-kerosene and biodiesel, through three reactors, which are capable of converting triglycerides into a paraffin, olefin, naphtene and aromatic (PONA) compound.

The quality of Djoni's biofuel is higher than market products (of state oil and gas firm Pertamina), with various advantages.

The process of manufacturing biodiesel using renewable resources generally requires a single-step transesterification reaction.

But the biofuel is not immediately ready for use.

Djoni's biodiesel is ready for use, with physical properties resembling those of Pertamina's diesel oil, because his machines can change CPO into PONA.

This biodiesel also has higher aromatic and octane numbers than Pertamina diesel.

"Now we are only making improvements, such as in combustion stability, through our demo plant," Djoni said.

"Combustion trials have shown that our fuel burns faster than market products."

Previous laboratory tests and the current pilot plant experiments have shown his biofuel is a promising but costly alternative fuel.

The completion of this demo-plant phase will take a maximum period of six months and require more funds.

The economic side of this innovation can be ascertained only after the present demo stage, with mass production to follow.

"The problem is that the local CPO price is unstable. The government should aim to bring down the price of renewable energy," he said.

Djoni is chairman of the South Sumatra Council of Experts and said he was optimistic once biofuel is widely marketed, it will buffer the fuel supply and the nation will be independent in the field of energy.

He said biofuel should be produced in rural areas, where the raw materials are produced, before being delivered to cities. Though investors are interested in biofuel production, the unstable price of CPO has prompted most of them to cancel or postpone their plans.

Djoni said if the central government and the oil palm business association could not control the price of CPO, any attempt to manufacture biofuel from CPO would be futile, because of its uncompetitive price.

Gasoline is now priced at Rp 4,500 per liter compared to Rp 7,000 for CPO.

"With the CPO price uncertainty today, investors' CPO-based fuel production schemes will not materialize," he said.

While anticipating favorable policies, Djoni said he hoped the South Sumatra provincial administration would issue a regional bylaw requiring oil palm estate companies to build biofuel plants on their plantations.

"It would be an unusual policy, but the central government in fact has not made such a rule yet," he said.

The couple continues to conduct trials and explore the possibility of cooperation with estates.

In Djoni's view, estate firms will suffer no losses with the presence of biofuel plants because their estates and CPO-based fuel processing units are integrated.

"Ideally, the plants become one with the estate environment so that plantation waste can be utilized and the distribution of fuel products will meet the demand of local people as well.

"If this happens, villages will likely develop into centers of energy sources," Djoni said.

He said he is registering his novel products for intellectual property rights.

Govt urged to fix damaged road

The Jakarta Post

LOMBOK, West Nusa Tenggara: At least 2,500 people from Lembar and Sekotong districts marched to their local legislative council office Monday in Gerung, West Lombok, urging the local government to repair the severely damaged roads in their districts.

The group became uncontrollable and damaged several facilities in the office.

The violence abruptly stopped all activities in the legislative building and the regental administration office next door.

"The (West Nusa Tenggara) Governor and regent only make promises every year... but they never keep them. We are tired of them and now we are urging them to keep their word," rally coordinator Abdul Madjid said.

In the past five years, the local government had not fixed the damaged roads in the two districts even though residents had reported the condition to the authorities, Madjid said. Because of the damage, it was difficult for them to transport and sell their harvests.

Initially the protesters insisted to meet with West Lombok Regent Iskandar but were blocked by police and public order officers. They became angered and threw bottles, stones and branches at the legislature building.