More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal

More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal
Volkswagen has admitted it installed illegal software into 11 million 2.0 liter and 3.0 liter diesel engines worldwide (AFP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Volkswagen emissions scandal

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

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

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 commercial jet.

QZ8501 (AirAsia)

Leaders see horror of French Alps crash as probe gathers pace

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Sunday, May 18, 2008

By The Way: Safety in numbers -- or fear of the mob?

The Jakarta Post, Duncan Graham, Sun, 05/18/2008 10:48 AM

Is there a transportation system anywhere in the world more efficient than Indonesia's?

Sure it's shambolic, uncomfortable and unsafe. But it's also cheap, flexible and ever-present.

Getting to work in Malang is a breeze; no need to study timetables and ransack the piggy bank for the fare as in New Zealand. The bald-tired bemo (minibus) will be waiting ready to zip from end to end of the city for Rp 2,000 (US 20 cents)

Don't run -- he'll wait, unless he has double the legal load. Another will be along in two ticks. Bending a bule (Westerner) frame into a hairpin to get through the door while watching the wallet, squeezing a 40 centimeter bottom into a 20 cm bench space, snagging nails on rusting rails and sucking carcinogens from motorbikes and Marlboros are the downsides.

The service is almost door-to-door. Just a short stride to the job. It's past Klojen market with hazards to negotiate, though no problem given the right attitude.

First are the ranks of becak (pedicabs), every driver bemused as to why a foreigner would prefer to walk. The real titanium-torso wrinklies (as opposed to those 70 years young despite their tough trade) sing out in antique Dutch. For them, all bule come from the Netherlands.

Then the butcher slashing and chopping at a window in a wall hung with hands of bananas, all prices negotiable; you'd be silly to pay above Rp 5,000 (US 50 cents) for two kilograms of the freshest, sweetest fruit this side of the equator.

A harridan with a bloke's biceps bullies undecided customers while hacking the twitching meat on a counter with more flies than an Australian sheep station. For ox shanks she uses half a tree trunk, its splintered anvil stuffed with fat and bone chips, probably going back to the Majapahit era. The site is an archaeologist's challenge -- and a health inspector's.

White-eyed beggars flash their cataracts for aluminum coins. A local clinic not three minutes distant will fix their blindness for Rp 7 million (US $ 760) an eye. NZ charities invite $ 25 donations so one poor Asian can see with the skills volunteered by Western surgeons.

A pregnant too-young teen polishes plastic bottles of water to make them more appealing; acrid smoke spits off a tire clamp as a man squats to repair a puncture. His mate offers battered and blunt hand tools for sale, tradesmen's discards.

In the next 100 metres the smell of crushed coffee from beans grown on nearby volcanic slopes competes with the gagging stench of rotting rubbish. This is raked into carts by the yellow-clad sanitary squad scattering black plastic into the breeze. An exhibitionist pisses against a wall under graffiti warning against such behavior because it's alongside a school.

The kids pay no attention. They're besieging food carts selling fried bananas, steamed peanuts, frozen colored water and anything that will clog arteries, lift blood pressure and quicken heartbeats.

But then so does running this gauntlet of humanity, maybe 1,000 strong. There are no human threats -- many participants in the Klojen kaleidoscope are friendly, acknowledging the curious stranger, the bewildered bule. The rest are indifferent, preoccupied with survival.

And in Indonesia that means being with people who say: Mangan ora mangan, asal ngumpul -- we may have nothing to eat but we have each other.

In Wellington, where we've been for the past few months, the tidy streets are briefly full only during commuters' rush hours. Even then the traffic is orderly, disciplined, soon to vanish behind closed doors. Westerners like it that way -- Indonesians do not.

This is an issue that can turn multicultural marital relationships into a martial arts contest. I want to be alone -- she wants crowds. The bubbling hubbub of life in Indonesia, its rollicking racket is meat and drink to my beloved.

I'd rather read a book looking for knowledge -- she'd sooner seek a crowd and glean their wisdom.

Indonesians see safety in numbers -- Westerners fear the crowd; it might be a mob.

Not in Klojen. This is a snapshot of everyday -- work and idleness, pain and hope, resignation and reward. It's well worth the walk. The same emotions and experiences flourish in Wellington, though you'd never know. They're not on public display.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

India`s Bajaj, Renault and Nissan join hands to make US$2,500 car

New Delhi (ANTARA News/Asia Pulse) - Bajaj Auto Ltd (BSE:500490), India's second largest two-wheeler maker, on Monday announced a joint venture with Renault and Nissan (TSE:7201) to produce a US$2,500 car by 2011 that will compete with the Nano, the world's cheapest car from Tata Motors (BSE:500570).

The JV for manufacturing the small car, code-named ULC, would be owned 50 per cent by Bajaj Auto Ltd (BAL) and 25 per cent each by French car maker Renault and Japan's Nissan, a BAL statement said here.

The car, which would be rolled out from a brand new plant in Maharashtra and available in the Indian market in 2011, would also be positioned for exports to other markets.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Out with the old 'bajaj,' in with the new

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 05/08/2008 11:03 AM


Two officers arranged parts of old two-stroke bajaj (three-wheeled pedicab) at a vacant lot in Pulo Gebang, East Jakarta on Wednesday.


In the background, hundreds of other bajaj were piled high, awaiting a similar fate. The city administration would later press the bajaj parts using a steamroller. 

The measure was made as part of the city administration's bid to replace the old two-stroke engine bajaj with its newer CNG-fueled successor. 

The city planned to demolish as many as 250 bajaj starting Wednesday. 

"I believe this conversion can benefit bajaj owners and drivers. This will also have environmental benefits because we hope to reduce the amount of pollution these vehicles cause," Governor Fauzi Bowo said Wednesday while witnessing the demolition. 

The phase-out program could serve at least three purposes, he said. 

First, it would help reduce air pollution because CNG engine emissions are considered less polluting than emissions from two-stroke gasoline engines. Second, it would help bajaj owners and drivers to increase their earnings because CNG was cheaper and CNG-based bajaj are quieter, thus more preferable. 

Thirdly, he said, it would reduce the government's spending on gasoline subsidy; the city had estimated that for every 500 bajaj replacements, the government could save up to Rp 6.3 billion (US$684,782) every year. 

The administration first introduced the CNG-based model last year, targeting to replace a total of 5,000 bajaj by the end of this year. 

Latest data showed there were 14,424 bajaj operating in the capital, 500 of which were the CNG model. 

The price of the new bajaj, sold by PT Abdi Raharja, is Rp 38.9 million, while an old bajaj costs around Rp 17 million. 

Jakarta Bajaj drivers association chief Tarjono said he expected the administration would give bajaj owners a subsidy to help pay interest on their bajaj loans. 

"I agree with the bajaj replacement but the current bank interest, which is 23 percent per year, is too steep for us. 

"We expect the interest to go down to around 12 percent," he said. (ind)

Red Cross launches cleanups to help prevent more floods

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 05/10/2008 10:34 AM

The Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) launched a neighborhood cleanup campaign Thursday in a bid to highlight the threat of flooding in several parts of the city.

The campaign in Petamburan, Central Jakarta, is the first in a planned series of nationwide campaigns. The area is notoriously prone to flooding.

Hundreds of local residents and students from schools in the neighborhood took part in cleaning out gutters, digging biopore holes and distributing tree seedlings, hygiene products and baby kits.

PMI volunteers supervised the cleanup, which took in private homes, public facilities and streets. The PMI also provided 10 garbage receptacles for sorting organic and inorganic waste.

PMI secretary-general, Iyang D. Sukandar, said several sponsors had provided support for the activities, including the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the German Red Cross and the Dutch Red Cross.

"The Agriculture Ministry provided us with the seedlings, and their distribution is part of our effort to curb the effects of global warming," he said.

"Cleaning up the environment and making biopores are also important in helping us adapt to the changing climate," he said.

Iyang said the campaign was conducted to commemorate the 145th anniversary of the World Red Cross Red Crescent Day on May 8.

Agus Surono, head of the Petamburan neighborhood unit, said the PMI's efforts were laudable because they helped raise awareness of the annual flood threat.

"The communities here need to work together with the PMI on a more regular basis," he said.

PMI press officer Aulia Arriani said the PMI usually dealt with disaster relief management, so preventive activities like this were very important.

"This kind of activity promotes community participation in preparing for disasters. We can also educate people and recruit more volunteers from local communities," she said.

She said the PMI also gave free health checks and blood-type tests.

"The blood-type tests are very useful for us to prepare a list of potential blood donors. We have about 250 candidates from this area," she said.(uwi)

Lorena Air to start flying Jakarta-Surabaya in June

The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Sat, 05/10/2008 10:34 AM

The domestic airline industry is becoming more competitive with PT Eka Sari Lorena Airlines (Lorena Air) soon to enter the market hit hard by increasing fuel prices.

"Indonesia has a large population and people still need to travel. There is always opportunity to build a successful (airline) business here," Lorena Air CEO Eka Sari Lorena Surbakti said on Friday.

Lorena Air, which is a subsidiary of transportation company Lorena Group, is scheduled to fly its first two Boeing 737-300 aircraft on June 6. The company will serve the Jakarta-Surabaya route four times a day.

On June 12, the company will start serving Palembang and Pekanbaru twice a day.

"Demand for air transportation services for these routes is still high," said Eka at the launch of Lorena Air's ticket sales.

"The company will develop integrated transportation services," she said.

"We offer what is called an 'air to door' service, where passengers can continue to travel to their destination after stepping off our plane by using our buses."

Lorena Group is one of the country's most well-known bus operators.

Lorena will compete head-on with national carrier Garuda Indonesia Airways. That's the reason why the company will offer lower prices for the same services offered by Garuda, Eka said.

Lorena Air has targeted to carry 1.5 million passengers this year, focusing on the premium market.

The company will commence operations with two carriers, but will procure four more Boeing 737-300 aircraft later this year. It was supposed to fly last year, but failed to secure the necessary carriers.

CFO Michael Madrigal said the company, which now employs around 120 staff, invested over US$5 million excluding aircraft lease costs.

According to Lorena Air's website, it has spent $30 million for the two Boeing 737-300 aircraft.

There are 16 domestic airlines serving domestic routes currently in the country. (rff)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

RI aviation industry 'should consolidate'

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 05/07/2008 9:39 AM

With cutthroat competition in the country's aviation industry and soaring oil prices, a consolidation within the sector is the way forward, national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia Airlines said Tuesday.

"The way I see it, there is a distinct possibility there will be fewer airlines in the country soon... Other airlines know this too, whether they like it or not," Garuda president Emirsyah Satar said.

The imminent increase in domestic fuel prices and continuing global uncertainty over skyrocketing oil prices will take its toll on local airlines, he said.

The government said it would raise fuel prices to control the burgeoning fuel subsidy. The resulting inflation would affect people's spending power and consequently discourage them from traveling by air.

The price of jet fuel has also been increased, forcing Garuda to raise its fuel surcharge from about Rp 80,000 (US$8) to about Rp 100,000.

Against this backdrop, competition among local airlines -- which have been engaged in a price war for the past two years -- has heightened, giving added impetus to airlines to consolidate, said Emirsyah.

The European Union's ban on Indonesian airlines flying into Europe will also be a factor in any possible consolidation, he said

In April, the EU renewed its ban, while warning European citizens against taking Indonesian airlines following four fatal crashes last year.

Emirsyah did not rule out the possibility of Garuda acquiring smaller airlines.

"If the opportunity presents itself, and it proves to be lucrative, with strong benefits coming from such an expansion, then yes we'll take it," he said.

Garuda, the nation's largest airline, increased its fleet by 60 airplanes, including 10 Boeing 777-300ER jumbo jets and 50 Boeing 737NG next-generation jets, which would begin arriving in 2009.

The shift toward consolidation follows a global trend that has seen many airlines declare bankruptcy or merge with other airlines to stay afloat.

Last year, U.S. carrier Continental Airlines announced a possible merger with United Airlines, following the merger of Delta Airlines and Northwest Airlines.

Hasyim Arsal Alhabsy, public relations manager for Lion Air, said in two years time his company would consider acquiring airlines from Thailand, Vietnam and Bangladesh in anticipation of the free airspace market in the ASEAN region.

Indonesia has 25 airline companies, including charter airlines, compared with only three in China. (anw)

Govt speeds up $10b Java Sumatra bridge

Oyos Saroso H.N., The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 05/09/2008 9:38 AM

The government is slated to begin construction next year of the country's longest and most expensive bridge, linking Sumatra and Java islands, a year ahead of schedule.

Lampung Governor Sjachroedin Z.P. said Thursday the government would start work on the 29 kilometer bridge across the Sunda strait early in a bid to boost economic activities in Sumatra.

The bridge, connecting Bakauheni in Lampung with Merak in Banten, will cost about US$10 billion over the next 15 years, Sjachroedin said.

"All the governors in Sumatra want the development to begin soon and they expect it won't burden the government financially," he said, adding the bridge was expected to be operational by 2025.

Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto said the construction costs would be shouldered mainly by private investors, with the central government financing only 5 percent of the project.

"We will attract investors to finance the bridge development by offering them incentives," he said. (rff)


The Jakarta Post | Fri, 05/09/2008 11:28 AM

CATCH OF THE DAY: Customs officials inspect one of two illegally imported luxury sedans at Tanjung Priok port on Thursday in Jakarta. Officials said the smuggling attempt was foiled after the customs inspector spotted irregularities in the import documents. The bust was apparently worth as much as Rp. 3.2 billion (US$351,000) to the state. (JP/Ricky Yudistira)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

RI to get $2b in loans from World Bank for development

The Jakarta Post, Sat, 05/03/2008 11:14 AM  

The World Bank will lend US$2 billion for the country's development programs this year, the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) announced Thursday.

The government could receive even more loans than those previously promised, according to Bappenas director for international financing Dewo Broto Joko Putranto.

"The (additional) loans can be included as loans allocated for 2009," said Dewo, as quoted by Antara.

The board will wait until it learns the exact amount needed to plug this year's state budget deficit before determining how much to propose the World Bank allocate.

World Bank spokesman Randy Salim said the $2 billion in loans would be divided into program loans and project loans.

"About $1.2 billion of the loans will be spent on programs related to climate change, education and infrastructure policy development," Salim told The Jakarta Post.

"On top of this amount, there is another $400 million in programs related to poverty alleviation."

The remaining $400 million, he said, would go toward developing roads, dams and flood-control projects and improving tax administration.

"Indonesia and the World Bank are also negotiating $300-$400 million in additional loans for infrastructure development," Salim said.

This month the World Bank will release its "Infrastructure Development Policy Loan", in which some $200 million will be channeled to support infrastructure improvement in Indonesia.

In a related development, the director general for state debt management, Rahmat Waluyanto, said the government would get an additional $2.9 billion in program loans this year, as reported by Antara.

Of this amount, $1.1 billion would come from the Asian Development Bank and $500-$600 million from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

Waluyanto said part of the JBIC loan would be spent on programs related to climate change.

"About $1.2 billion worth of the loans will be used to plug the state budget deficit this year," Waluyanto said. (JP/rff)

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Govt to focus on port, railway projects

Aditya Suharmoko, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 05/03/2008 11:14 AM 

The government will prioritize the development of port and railway infrastructure this year to ease the flow of goods and reduce high transportation costs in the country, a minister says.

"Our priority is to reduce bottlenecks in ports and railways, including at Tanjung Priok port, and railways on Java island," Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal said after a meeting with economic ministers on Friday.

Among development plans for this year, he said, was the modernization of navigation systems in three international airports: Kuala Namu airport in Medan, Lombok airport in Lombok and Hasanuddin airport in Makassar.

He also said the ministry would develop ports designed to load crude palm oil (CPO) as the commodity had become the country's main export.

In the first quarter of 2008, CPO was the major contributor to the rise in the country's non-oil-and-gas exports, which increased 47 percent to $4.4 billion compared to in the same period last year.

To help secure domestic distribution, Jusman said the ministry would fast track permit issuance for coal railway transportation projects to help secure distribution, particularly to state power plants.

"For port and railway projects under development by coal producers, we will speed-up permit issuance," Jusman said.

The ministry stated its budget this year was reduced to Rp 14.11 trillion (US$1.53 billion) after a 7.76 percent cut aimed to reduce state expenditures in response to a surge in global oil prices.

The Finance Ministry has cut the budget allocation to all government offices by a maximum 10 percent to safeguard the state budget, which is burdened by oil subsidies.

Despite the cut, Jusman said the ministry would try to improve the country's transportation system, including by restoring trains and modernizing navigation systems.

He also said the country's transportation and logistics systems needed to be integrated so the ministry could design a complete, multi-year infrastructure development strategy.

"Our transportation and logistics systems must be integrated. The Transportation Ministry will design a master plan to rebuild the country's ports, airports and railways to support logistics," he said.

The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has repeatedly said inferior infrastructure would result in increased product prices and burdened customers.

Police tough on airport taxi drivers

The Jakarta Post, Sat, 05/03/2008 11:14 AM 

TANGERANG: Police at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport have ticketed some 580 taxi drivers for traffic and document violations since Feb. 28.

"Based on our evaluations, most of the drivers failed to show driving licenses," airport traffic police chief Comr. Sutimin told The Jakarta Post Friday.

According the airport police's data, 211 out the 580 ticketed drivers worked for the Blue Bird Group.

"The drivers will face two-months imprisonment or fines of as much as Rp 2 million for violating the 1992 traffic law," Sutimin said.

In response to complaints that many taxi drivers were refusing to use the meter, the police launched a crackdown on taxis.

Besides taxi drivers, the police also ticketed 41 drivers using private cars for public transportation from the airport.

The drivers could be charged under the traffic law, which carries sanctions of three months in jail or Rp 3 million fines, Sutimin said. -- JP

Jakarta to deliver on elevated roads plan

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 05/03/2008 11:14 AM

Despite criticism from urban and transportation experts, the city administration is moving forward with its plan to construct elevated roads, including six turnpikes, in the inner part of the city.

Deputy Governor Prijanto said the administration is setting up a special company, called PT Jakarta Toll Road Development, that would help garner 67 percent of Rp 40 trillion (US$4.34 billion) total investment to run the project.

The administration would control ownership in the new company through the city-owned construction firms PT Jakarta Propertindo and PT Pembangunan Jaya.

The remaining 33 percent of the project share would be offered in a public bidding.

"This (new) company has both the concept and the cash. So it has the right to own shares in the project," Prijanto said on Friday at the City Hall in Central Jakarta.

The administration plans to build more elevated roads to reduce traffic woes in the city. Ground-level road constructions are no longer feasible due to limited land availability in the city.

Transportation experts say the elevated roads project will not ease congestion in the city, and instead invite more cars and make traffic jams worse.

According to a survey by Japan International Cooperation Agency, the capital's streets will be paralyzed by 2014 due to rapid growth in the number of vehicles.

Chairman of the Indonesian Transportation Society, Bambang Susantono, said road construction would only be appropriate for the outskirts of the city.

"A good public transportation system is enough to link the inner part of the city. The administration and the central government should be consistent in developing it," he said.

Bambang said the Rp 40 trillion allocated to the project would be better spent in establishing a rail-based rapid transit system linking the eastern and western parts of the city.

However, the administration has scheduled road construction to begin next year in North Jakarta, along with the construction of a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) construction in the southern part of Jakarta.

The Rp 8.3 trillion MRT project will stretch 14.3 kilometers from Lebak Bulus, South Jakarta, to Dukuh Atas, Central Jakarta and is expected to be finished in 2014.

Governor Fauzi Bowo said the administration had arranged for the two mega projects to be less disruptive to road networks in the city.

Administration considers jumping onboard rail project

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sat, 05/03/2008 11:14 AM 

The Jakarta administration is studying a possible railway system to connect the capital to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

"We support the idea about improving our transportation system, among others, by connecting the city to Tangerang and Soekarno-Hatta Airport," Deputy Governor Prijanto said Friday at City Hall.

"Most importantly the future railway system must be integrated within the existing railway and busway systems, as well as future monorail and subway systems."

The administration still needs to study all the financial consequences, he said adding that he will report to Governor Fauzi Bowo prior to further decisions.

Fauzi is visiting Japan to meet with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and is scheduled to return by the end of the week.

In a meeting on Wednesday at Vice President Jusuf Kalla's office, the Jakarta administration was asked to participate in the project.

"The offer came to us as one of the stations is planned to be built in Dukuh Atas, Central Jakarta," said Prijanto.

Transportation Minister Djusman Syafii Jamal, Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto, Forestry Ministry Malam Sabit Kaban and Banten Governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah were also present at the meeting.

Initially, the project -- which will connect the train station in Manggarai, South Jakarta, to the airport -- is projected to swallow at least Rp 4.6 trillion (US$499 million) for new railway construction, Antara reported.

"But the Vice President suggested the project use existing railways (that have been abandoned)," said Minister Djusman.

"As a result, the project will need only Rp 2.2 trillion to build 15 kilometers of new railways."

Jusuf demands that all required public biddings be carried out "as quick as possible", Djusman said.

The new railway construction is expected to start by July and to be completed in November next year.

The future railway system has been at the planning stage for years and has faced delays due to land acquisition disputes.

The system is expected to serve as an alternative to the Sedyatmo turnpike, a main passage to the airport, and is expected to help the transport goods and commuters faster.

India urged to copy China at Asian Development Bank meeting

Madrid (ANTARA News) - India must boost infrastructure spending and reform its labour market as China has done if it wants its economy to grow as fast as that of its Asian neighbour, participants at the Asian Development Bank's annual meeting in Spain said Saturday.

"The Chinese manufacturing success story has a lot to do with a physical infrastructure that is better," said economist Bibek Debroy, who has studied both economies, of New Delhi-based think tank Centre for Policy Research.

In 2005 Indian spending on infrastructure was equivalent to 5.9 percent of its gross domestic product compared to 14.6 percent for China, according to India's Infrastructure Development Finance Co. chief executive Rajiv Lall.

But just over half of the funding for China's infrastructure projects came from state-owned enterprises, a model which he said could not be copied by India, he added.

"China has very peculiar and unorthodox institutional arrangement," he was quoted by AFP as saying.

Debroy said China has also benefited from reforms of its labour market carried out in the mid-1990s which allowed for the greater use of contract workers.

"China has a very flexible labour market, India's labour market is very rigid," said Debroy who prepared a study comparing China and India's labour markets for the ADB.

"Labour market reforms in India are very often talked about but are rarely implemented," he added.

China's economy grew 11.9 percent in 2007 compared to growth of 9.4 percent for India that year, according to Standard & Poor's.

While India attracted a record 24.6 billion dollars in foreign direct investment in the fiscal year to March 31, China captured 74.7 billion dollars of foreign investment in 2007.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

City clamps down on illegally parking

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 05/03/2008 11:14 AM 

The Jakarta administration on Friday unveiled a new weapon in the war on illegal parking: wheel clamps. 

Officers from the city transportation agency slapped wheel clamps on at least 13 cars, part of a new drive to curb illegal parking. 

The initiative is a joint effort with the Jakarta Police, which on Friday ticketed 52 illegally parked motorcycles and cars by 2 p.m.

Transportation agency official Riza Hashim said in West Jakarta, agency officers locked the wheels of two cars on Jl. Gadjah Mada at 8:30 a.m. and one on Jl. Hayam Wuruk, which was illegally parked in front of a Super Indo mart, at around 1:30 p.m. 

"The agency released the two cars on Jl. Gadjah Mada later in the afternoon after their owners claimed them," he said, adding the owners were issued tickets. 

Friday's measures represent a new tactic in the battle against illegal parkers, after the administration in January began towing illegally parked cars. 

With 22 tow trucks owned by the agency and 10 from the police, the agency was towing about 10 to 15 cars a day. 

The agency then added another 69 tow trucks from private companies to deal with the flood of illegally parked vehicles. 

The agency now employs a total of 22 wheel clamps around the city as a complement to the tow trucks. 

Riza said that in South Jakarta, the agency locked the wheels of five cars on Jl. Mampang Prapatan, Jl. Warung Buncit, Jl. Pasar Minggu and the area around the Bidakara office building on Jl. Gatot Subroto. 

Police ticketed 22 vehicles in the area on Friday. 

The agency put wheel clamps on two cars illegally parked in front of the Pasar Baru market, while police ticketed 10 vehicles in the area of Jl. Salemba and Jl. Samanhudi, all in Central Jakarta. 

In East Jakarta, Riza said the agency slapped a wheel clamp on a vehicle parked in front of private elementary school SD Tarakanita on Jl. Pemuda. 

The agency locked the wheels of two cars in North Jakarta on Jl. Yos Sudarso and Jl. R.E. Martadinata. 

Deputy Governor Prijanto said he hoped the wheel clamps would help prevent motorists from parking illegally. 

"We will maintain this policy until Jakartans are aware that they are not allowed to park their vehicles illegally," Prijanto said Friday at City Hall.

Related Story:

Wheel clamp policy a 'success' in getting a grip on illegal parking

City to pass law on MRT project

The Jakarta Post, Tue, 04/29/2008 12:39 PM 

JAKARTA: The city council will approve a draft ordinance on the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system next week, deputy speaker Maringan Pangaribuan said Monday.

"Future company PT Jakarta MRT will be able to use part of the loan money provided by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation after we approve the draft ordinance," he said.

The ordinance will regulate the organizational structure of the future city-owned firm. The company will lead the MRT project and will operate the system.

According to Jakarta MRT's working team tasked with organizing the future company, it will need Rp 113 billion (US$12.27 million).

"The money will be used for initial capital, finishing work on MRT lanes, land acquisition and the recruitment of a board of directors, as well as the hiring of engineering consultants," said team coordinator Eddi Santosa.

Of the Rp 113 billion, as much as Rp 49.5 billion will come from the Jakarta administration through the 2008 revised city budget and Rp 500 million will come from city traditional market operator PD Pasar Jaya, he said.

The remaining Rp 63 billion will come from the Japanese bank loan, he said.

The MRT development is projected to absorb more than Rp 8.3 trillion in investments. -- JP

City to set new routes for 'delman' drivers

Mustaqim Adamrah ,  The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Fri, 05/02/2008 1:33 PM 

The Jakarta administration on Wednesday promised new locations for delman (traditional buggy) drivers to operate, following a ban on their operation inside National Monument (Monas) Park.

"The administration and the Central Jakarta municipality will cooperate to find suitable locations for the delman so the drivers will not lose their income," said assistant to city secretary for people's welfare, Aurora Frida Tambunan.

Representatives for the delman drivers and the Indonesian Poor People Union met at City Hall to discuss the issue.

Dozens of delman drivers protested in front of City Hall, the third time in two weeks, bringing their decorated buggies with them. The administration failed to respond to the first two rallies.

In all three protests, delman drivers urged the provincial and Central Jakarta municipality administrations to grant them permission to operate inside the Monas park.

The municipality issued a ban to their operations last June. The ban was introduced because the municipality said the horses' urine produced a "strong smell of ammonia and polluted the air" while their manure spilled onto the park's grounds.

The drivers were then restricted to operate inside the park on weekends.

Recently, the administration decided to forbid the delman drivers to enter the park altogether.

The drivers now wait for customers in a parking lot on the southern edge of Monas, offering trips around the park on public roads.

The ban has resulted in a drop in their daily income from Rp 150,000 (US$16) to Rp 75,000, said Nanang, who has been a delman driver for 14 years.

Aurora said the park's grounds, now covered with stone blocks, could not absorb the horses' urine.

"As a result, it creates unpleasant smell," she said.

The buggy drivers could operate at the park in the past because the park's grounds were made of soil, which could absorb the urine better, Aurora said.

Previously, Governor Fauzi Bowo said horse urine could cause children to contract acute respiratory infections.

The city's animal husbandry, fishery and maritime department is currently studying a formula which can be added to horse feed to suppress the unpleasant odor.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Foreign flights increase could benefit tourism

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 05/02/2008 1:33 PM

To garner more visitors for Indonesia's tourist program dubbed Visit Indonesia Year 2008, the government should grant more foreign airlines increased flight frequencies into Bali and other tourist destinations, an industry leader said Wednesday.

"If the government wants to be totally committed to making (the program) a success, it should start wooing other foreign airlines besides Singapore Airlines," Tengku Burhanuddin, Secretary General of the Indonesian National Air Carriers Association (INACA), said.

"Tell them that since our national carrier is banned by the European Union, we'll give them (foreign airlines) additional flight frequencies into Indonesia."

The Ministry of Transportation recently granted Singapore Airlines an increase in flight frequencies from four to seven flights per day to support the government's tourism program.

Singapore Airlines provides flights from Singapore to Bali, Jakarta and Medan, and the flights increase could see traveler capacity rise to 15,000 per week.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla, along with Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal and Tourism and Culture Minister Jero Wacik, reached the decision upon learning that European tourists were having difficulties finding direct flights from Singapore to Bali due to a recently prolonged EU ban on Indonesia's national carriers.

Tengku said the government should also grant European airliners direct routes to Bali and other tourist destinations, including Makassar in South Sulawesi and Surabaya in East Java.

"There's no reason why the government can't grant more flight frequencies to other foreign airliners. Let them build our tourism market for us and then, when we're ready, we'll slowly tap into that market," he said.

Currently, only Singapore Airlines and Garuda Indonesia are authorized to fly the Singapore-Bali route, with Garuda operating one direct flight per day. Budget Indonesian carrier Lion Air has plans to tap into the route soon, and the ministry of tourism and culture has stated several foreign airliners have requested permission to operate it too.

A recent Ministry survey on European passengers found that 30 percent of those wishing to visit Bali were forced to switch destinations due to flight unavailability.

The government has also recently opened the Yogyakarta-Kuala Lumpur route to two airliners: Malaysia Airlines, which would use the 144-passenger carrying Boeing 737, and AirAsia, which would use the Airbus A 320, with 180 passenger capacity. (anw).