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, December 31, 2009

Deadly crash

The Jakarta Post | Thu, 12/31/2009 2:53 PM

In this image made from video Indonesian rescuer workers and police stand close to a Cessna plane which crashed in front of a hospital in Ketapang, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009. The small plane crashed in Indonesia's West Kalimantan province on Thursday morning, killing a pilot and a technician, an official said. (AP Photo/Yan Sukanda)

Related Article:

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dutch airport to use full-body scan for U.S. flights

Reuters, Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:50am EST

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport will begin using full-body scanners within three weeks to scan people traveling to the United States, after consultations with U.S. authorities, the Dutch interior minister said on Wednesday.

The ministry also said ordinary security procedures were followed properly in the Christmas Day handling of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who is accused of trying to blow up a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Dutch Interior Minister Guusje Ter Horst told a news conference in The Hague there was no evidence that Abdulmutallab had been to the Netherlands before the flight. The investigation is continuing into whether Abdulmutallab had assistance in Amsterdam, the ministry said.

(Reporting by Gilbert Kreijger, writing by Ben Berkowitz, editing by Tim Pearce)

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Controversial scanners will be used on Amsterdam-US flights

“Al-Qaeda practises beating body scanners”

Passengers help foil attack on US-bound plane

Govt to allocate Rp16.68 trillion for road repair

Antara News, Wednesday, December 30, 2009 00:15 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government is preparing a budget amounting to Rp16.65 trillion for road and bridge repairs in 2010, down from the previous year`s allocation of Rp18.64 trillion, a deputy minister said.

Deputy Minister for Public Works Hermanto Dardak said here on Tuesday that of the 2010 year allocation, Rp1.34 trillion would be used to finance repair of 1,477 km highways in northern coasts of Java.

"The highways in the coast of Java get the biggest allocation of the funds because they constitute the backbone of the nation`s transportation and economic distribution," Hermanto said.

He said that the government would also allocate Rp373.26 billion for the repair of 1,186 km of Java`s central axis roads and Rp224.33 billion for the 1,132 km southern Java lanes.

In Sumatra, according to Hermanto, the allocation that would be provided for the 2,805 km eastern trans-Sumatra highways amounted to Rp848.79 billion, the 2,540 km central trans-Sumatra Rp543.06 billion and the Sumatran 2,493 km western lanes Rp418.68 billion.

"We have set a target that in 2014 the whole trans-Sumatran highways would have a width of seven meters,," he said.

The road repair in Kalimantan in 2010 will included the 3,408 km southern highways with allocation of Rp996.89 billion, the 1,900 km central highways with Rp232.63 billion and the 1,557 km northern ones with a fund allocation of Rp192.66 billion.

In Sulawesi, the allocation for the 2.099 km western highways is set at Rp943.98 billion, the 2,346 km central highways Rp 495.03 billion and the 2,054 km western roads amounted to Rp228.93 billion.

In Papua, the government will provide Rp980 billion for 2,060 km strategic roads and Rp460.21 billion for other 1,038 km other roads.

Hermanto said that the government also targeted that in 2014 about 95 percent of national roads in the country would have been in good condition.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Transjakarta bus catches fire at Senen

Prodita Sabarini, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 12/29/2009 3:31 PM

On fire: A TransJakarta bus, plying the Kampung Melayu-Ancol route, after catching fire at Jl. Kramat, Senen, Central Jakarta, on Tuesday. No fatalities were reported. Antara/Ujang Zaelani

A Transjakarta bus caught fire on Jl. Kramat, Senen, Central Jakarta, the Jakarta Police’s Traffic Management Center reported Tuesday.

TMC officer Second Brig Denny said the bus was ablaze near the headquarters of state oil and gas company Pertamina.

He added there was no information yet on the cause of the fire or possible casualties.

Drivers Beware: Jakarta Police Install CCTV at Busy Sarinah Intersection

The Jakarta Globe

A closed circuit television (CCTV) system has been installed at the Sarinah intersection on Jalan M.H. Thamrin in Central Jakarta on Monday night in an attempt to discourage dangerous driving in the area.

Jakarta Police’s Traffic Directorate and the Transportation Office installed the cameras, which were officially put to use on Tuesday morning.

According to Jakarta Police’s traffic director Sr. Comr. Condro Kirono, motorists must be more discipined because the camera is able to automatically take pictures of motorists who violate traffic regulations.

Condro said that the camera is linked to Jakarta Police’s Traffic Management Center. The pictures will be processed along with a police note that will be sent to the violator’s address.

In January 2010, Jakarta Police planned to add more CCTV devices along other main streets such as Sudirman, Senayan, Fatmawati, Grogol and Gatot Subroto.

Bus Rolls in South Sulawesi After Driver Was Allegedly Playing With Cellphone

The Jakarta Globe

While Jakarta Police try and raise awareness of a policy banning the use of cellphones while driving, a bus rolled in South Sulawesi on Monday because its driver was reportedly playing with his phone.

The inter-province bus rolled in Tana Toraja, South Sulawesi. Passengers reported that the driver was playing with his cellphone while driving just before the incident occurred.

The bus was carrying passengers from Makassar to Tana Toraja when it suddenly spun out of control and almost hit a house before it rolled on to its side. There were no fatalities but a number of passengers suffered from minor injuries.

Police have not yet questioned the driver because he passed out and was taken to a nearby hospital.

Meanwhile, Jakarta Police have said they are still trying to educate the public about a policy that bans the use of cellphones while driving.

Jakarta Police Traffic Director Sr. Comr. Condro Kirono said the law did not directly ban the use of cellphones. Chapter 283 of Law No 2/2009 only stated that anyone who drives abnormally or undertakes another activity or is influenced by a condition that disrupts their concentration while driving could face a punishment of up to three months in prison or pay a Rp 750,000 ($75) fine.

“Some of the things that can disturb drivers’ concentration are alcohol, drugs and cellphone use. We are still educating the public so we won’t apply the Rp 750,000 fine yet,” Condro told Metro TV.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Railing Against Gender Inequality in Mumbai

The Jakarta Globe, Phil Hazlewood

Indian train driver Surekha Yadav at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai. Yadav cites Indira Ghandi, India’s only female prime minister, as an inspiration. (AFP Photo)

In her canary-yellow sari and gold earrings, with a pair of thin-framed spectacles perched on her nose, Surekha Yadav could be any woman stepping down from the train at Mumbai’s main railway station.

But the 44-year-old mother-of-two stands out from the crowds on the platforms at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus as she doesn’t just travel on the trains — she drives them.

Yadav was the first female passenger train driver on Mumbai’s Central Railways and has become a standard-bearer for women in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

Since she first jumped into the cab of Mumbai’s packed commuter trains 10 years ago — attracting curious looks from commuters — one other “motorwoman” now plies the same suburban route. Two are assistant drivers.

There are also women train drivers on the Western Railway network, ferrying many of the six million people who use the city’s overstretched network every day.

Yadav, who admitted having no interest in trains before applying for a job as an assistant goods train driver in 1989, said she has had nothing but support from her male colleagues.

“They encouraged, helped and took care of me,” she said, adding she had taken special training to become the first woman driver of a “ghat loco,” the two-engined passenger trains that climb the hills of western Maharashtra state.

“Because I was the only woman, they were curious whether I could do it or not,” she said.

Women like Yadav can be found throughout Indian history, from warrior queens like Rani Lakshmibai and members of the independence movement to the first — and so far, only — female prime minister, Indira Gandhi.

Prathiba Patil, the current president, is the first woman to hold the post, the lower house of parliament has its first female speaker in Mira Kumar, while women are well-represented at many of India’s largest companies.

But although India’s Constitution “guarantees to all Indian women equality,” differences between the sexes still exist, particularly in rural areas, in terms of access to education, health care and even food.

Just over a third of Indian women aged 15 to 49 said they had experienced domestic violence, according to a 2007 National Family Health Survey.

Overall violence against women increased by nearly 25 percent between 2003 and 2007, the latest available government statistics show. The highest rises — over 30 percent — were recorded for kidnap, abduction and torture.

Madhu Purnima Kishwar, of New Delhi’s Center for the Study of Developing Societies and founder of leading rights group Manushi Sangathan, said that in the workplace gender was no bar to success — provided women were strong.

“In India, women who demonstrate that they are stronger than men usually find men falling at their feet,” she said, linking it to the worship of Hindu goddesses and the importance of mothers in Indian society.

Apart from being India’s first “motorwoman,” Yadav has also been part of the attempt to curb another problem: complaints about sexual harassment — or “eve-teasing” as it is known in India.

Rail Minister Mamata Banerjee introduced “Ladies Specials” trains in India’s four largest cities this year to improve safety for female commuters, whose numbers are increasing as more urban women forge careers outside home.

Yadav drove the first service into CST.

She is positive about her job and the opportunities it has given her, attributing her determination to succeed to her family, who sent her to convent school before she earned a diploma in electrical engineering.

“Everybody was given the chance to chase their own dream. Whatever they wanted to do,” she said. “We had freedom for education. We took advantage of that. We were very lucky to get that.”

“[My mother] never said that being a girl child you should do cooking. You should study first then we will see. You need to be bold.”

Nevertheless, Yadav — who cites as influences Indira Gandhi and Lakshmibai, the 19th century heroine of Indian resistance against the British — admits it has still been tough.

The job is physically demanding and time consuming, giving her less time to spend with her two teenaged sons and police officer husband.

Working in an all-male environment since college has also taken its toll on her social life, she said.

“I miss the friendship with women for the last 23 years. I feel shy talking with girls now,” she said.

Agence France-Presse

Pertamina Loses Monopoly on Domestic Subsidized Oil Products

An Indonesian worker rides a bike past barrels of oil at a Pertamina depot. (Photo: Bagus Indahono, EPA)

Indonesia’s state oil firm Pertamina has lost its exclusive right to distribute subsidized oil products in 2010 after a unit of Malaysia’s Petronas and a local firm won supply tenders, a regulator said on Monday.

Petronas has won the right to distribute 20,440 kiloliters (128,547 barrels) of subsidized low-octane gasoline in the city of Medan, North Sumatra, next year, the head of Indonesia’s downstream oil regulator, BPH-MIGAS, said.

Indonesia’s PT Aneka Kimia Raya (AKR) Corporindo would also distribute 56,500 kiloliters (335,328 barrels) of subsidized diesel oil in Lampung province, in South Sumatra and in the cities of Banjarmasin and Pontianak in Kalimantan.

“By law, Petronas and PT AKR Corporindo are allowed to supply subsidized fuel. After we evaluated their capabilities in providing fuel, we selected them,” Tubagus Haryono, head of BPH-MIGAS, told reporters.

The remaining subsidized fuel would be supplied by Pertamina in 2010.

Overall, the government planned to supply of 21.4 million kiloliters (134.5 million barrels) of subsidised gasoline and 11.2 million kiloliter of subsidized diesel oil in 2010, Haryono said.

This year, Indonesia expects 19.44 million kiloliters of subsidized low-octane gasoline and 11.6 million kiloliter of diesel to be supplied.

BPH-MIGAS decides each year on the rights to supply and distribute subsidised oil products such as low-octane gasoline, kerosene and diesel.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc had also joined the tender to distribute fuel this year.

“The volume of subsidized gasoline and diesel is expected to be higher than the government’s 2009 plan, due to higher transportation consumption,” Haryono said without elaborating.

Separately, the director general of oil and gas at the energy ministry, Evita Legowo, said the government wanted the supply of subsidized fuel to be cut in the future.

The level of consumption of fuel is critical because it helps determine the scale of subsidies the government has to set aside in the budget.

Pertamina’s monopoly over all sectors of the oil market was ended in 2001, and three years later Indonesia opened up its domestic downstream oil business to foreign firms, paving the way for them to directly import fuel and sell to local customers.

But Pertamina had up until now retained the exclusive rights to supply subsidized oil products — which includes almost all products except for premium motor fuel — in the domestic market.


Sunday, December 27, 2009


The Jakarta Post | Sun, 12/27/2009 7:01 PM

Residents of Meunasah Baroh in Aceh watch as a flash flood hits their village on Sunday. The flood affected at least 12 villages in the province.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Boeing delivers four 737-900ER planes to Lion Air

Shown here are three of the four 737-900ERs at the 737 Customer Delivery Center at Boeing Field in Seattle.

Boeing Co. said it’s delivered four 737-900 extended range airplanes to Lion Air of Indonesia.

The Renton-built 737 has a list price of between $76 million to $87 million each.

Boeing (NYSE: BA) said Lion Air of Jakarta is the initial launch customer for the 737-900 extended range plane. The airline’s fleet consists of MD-80s, MD-90s, 747s and 41 737s.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

To the left, transport agency tells motorcyclists

Indah Setiawati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 12/23/2009 8:09 AM

Starting next year, the transportation agency will install additional road signs to support the traffic regulation ruling motorcyclists are to use the left side of the road.

“There’s actually a written regulation that stipulates motorcyclists are to use the left lane, but it’s not actually obeyed, or even enforced,” M. Akbar, head of the agency’s traffic engineering and management division, told The Jakarta Post via telephone Tuesday.

He said the agency had finished installing road signs and markers on six major thoroughfares: Jl. Sudirman, Jl. Thamrin, Jl. Merdeka Barat and Jl. Suprapto in Central Jakarta, as well as Jl. Pemuda and Jl. Pramuka in East Jakarta.

The road signs and markers on the six streets, he said, were aimed at reminding road users to obey the rules.

“We will gradually phase in the signs on other streets,” Akbar said.

An article in the 2009 Traffic Law states that motorcycles, slow vehicles, commercial vehicles and non-motorized vehicles should use the left side of the road. Another section rules that the right lane is dedicated to vehicles that are turning to the right or passing another vehicle.

Violators of the law could face a maximum sentence of one month in prison and a fine of Rp 250,000 (US$26).

Akbar said it was not the agency’s intention to impose regulations that would prohibit motorcycles from using the main thoroughfares.

“We don’t want to prohibit motorcycles [from using these streets], we just want to be able to better manage motorcycle traffic,” he said.

The deputy head of the agency, Riza Hashim, had previously said the agency would take certain steps before applying a policy that would ban motorcycles from certain streets.

The agency, he said, would start by creating special lanes dedicated to motorcyclists in certain streets.

“Following that, we can take the next step of prohibiting motorcycles from using certain key streets,” he was quoted as saying Sunday by Warta Kota daily.

Previous proposals to prohibit motorcycles from using Jl. Sudirman and Jl. Thamrin first surfaced during the term of former governor Sutiyoso in 2006 and were roundly criticized by motorcyclists.

Sutiyoso had expected to reduce traffic congestion by applying the policy. Similar regulations have been implemented on major thoroughfares in Beijing and Shanghai in China.

To date, the policy has not been implemented because no legal regulations governing the policy have been issued.

The concept, first floated last year, of having special motorcycle lanes has also sparked controversy among road users who feared the policy could instead worsen traffic congestion with millions of motorcycles scrambling for limited space.

In 2007, data from the Jakarta Police showed the number of motorcycles in the city had reached 3 million. This figure is predicted to have grown an additional 10 to 20 percent in the last two years.

This year alone, Jakarta Police have recorded more than 600 deaths from 6,286 road accidents, of which 3,606 accidents, more than half the total, involved motorcyclists.

Review 2009: Jakarta’s problems, dealing with land and water woes in 2010

Prodita Sabarini, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 12/23/2009 10:00 AM

As we gear up to welcome a new year, Governor Fauzi Bowo carries several unfinished problems from 2009 with him, both above and below Jakarta’s surface.

Fauzi’s decision last month to convert 27 gas stations into green spaces, which will serve as water catchment areas, is a welcome gesture.

It is, however, not enough as Jakarta is increasingly burdened by the weight of development and a growing population.

Experts predict that Jakarta’s population will hit 30 million by 2020, placing considerable strain on infrastructure and quality of life.

To counter some of the man-made environmental degradation, the administration is likely to keep its spatial target for green spaces at 13.9 percent.

Regardless, the central government requires that Jakarta devote at least 30 percent of its 662.33 square kilometer area for open and green spaces.

Currently less than 10 percent of Jakarta qualifies as open and green space.

Jakarta’s problems, however, also exist below the surface.

While water catchment areas are rapidly decreasing, the city administration also has problems in relation to uncontrolled groundwater extraction.

Throughout the year, the Jakarta Environmental Agency has been working hard to monitor and seal illegal groundwater wells in the city. However, the agency says it is too difficult to monitor all offenders.

Another worrying problem is water contamination from increased sewage.

Jakarta may be the only metropolis that has an almost non-existent sewage system. Less than 1 percent, or 560 hectares of the total area of Jakarta is equipped with an efficient sewage system, according to the City Water Regulatory Board, while the rest simply dump their domestic waste into rivers.

“Jakarta is literally a megalopolis standing on a pile of doo-doo,” board member Firdaus Ali was quoted as saying in September.

The regulatory body said the city would need Rp 11 trillion (US$ 1.11 billion) or roughly half of its 2009 budget to build a proper sanitation system, according to the Water Regulatory Board.

The city only has one sewage treatment plant in Setiabudi, South Jakarta, and waste treatment facilities in Pulo Gebang, East Jakarta, and Duri Kosambi, West Jakarta.

The latest move to build a sanitation system was in 2002, when the city signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) worth $5.3 billion with an Australian company to develop a proper sanitation system.

Under the agreement, the company was to construct a deep tunnel sewerage system to treat all liquid waste in the capital.

Where should we start fixing the problem?

Civil engineering graduate Eva Komandjaja from the Technical University of Denmark said that for a large city like Jakarta, which has never had a proper drainage system, a good starting point might be building a combined sewer overflow (CSO).

In drainage terms, a CSO means both rainwater and household sewage water run through the same pipe, hence the “combined” part.

Eva said the advantage of this system was that it was relatively cheap to construct. This system however, spells trouble for a city that has a large annual rainfall such as Jakarta. The large amount of rainwater could overflow the system and would literally flood the streets.

“A separated system, on the other hand, is probably the best solution in long-term,” she said.

“However, it’s expensive and it takes a lot of work to build as two different pipes must be laid on top of each other — one for rainwater, which does not require further treatment and can be piped directly to open water bodies and the other for sewage water leading to wastewater treatment plant.” she said.

Eva said the important choice was in the hands of the city administration.

All Indonesia to Pay Same Price for Fuel Next Month

The Jakarta Globe, Yessar Rosendar

Indonesian consumers will pay the same price for gasoline beginning next month no matter where they live, following the implementation of an Energy Ministry regulation requiring fuel distribution costs to be covered by the government.

The government subsidizes fuel but consumers in different parts of the country pay different prices due to varying distribution costs. For example, in parts of Papua motorists pay as much as Rp 35,000 ($3.68) a liter because of high delivery costs.

Beginning in January, everyone will pay Rp 4,500 a liter, said Hanung Budya, Pertamina’s deputy director for marketing and business, on Tuesday.

The new policy is intended to stimulate growth in isolated regions, he said.

“When the price is the same, people can spend more on fuel.”

Hanung also said Pertamina is aiming to complete its kerosene-to-liquified petroleum gas (LPG) program next year as planned, resulting in 53 million households in 27 provinces shifting from kerosene to LPG.

“We should complete the conversion program in 2010,” he said.

The program is intended to cut the amount the government pays in fuel subsidies as LPG is cheaper than kerosene. Currently, more than half of the Rp 50 trillion the government pays in fuel subsidies a year goes to kerosene.

Hanung estimated the conversion program would reduce the amount the government paid in subsidies next year by Rp 10.4 trillion.

However, Pri Agung Rakhmanto, an energy analyst at the Reforminer Institute, noted that the domestic supply of LPG was not sufficient. “We still have to import it next year,” he said.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Four Airports to Receive Award

Tempo Interactive, Tuesday, 22 December, 2009 | 16:41 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Four airports have been chosen as the best airports based on customer satisfaction. “This was based on results of a questionnaire that is quite representative and free from sponsors,” said Indonesian Aviation Company Association secretary-general, Tengku Burhanuddin, who was the jury leader of the Airport Award ceremony yesterday in Jakarta.

The four airports are Adisutjipto in Yogyakarta, for the category of old terminal full of passengers; Selaparang, Lombok, for the category of old terminals not full of passengers; Terminal III Soekarno – Hatta in Cengkareng, for the category of new terminal full of passengers; and Adi Soemarmo in Solo, for the category of new terminal not full of passengers.

The Adi Soemarmo Airport was presented with four other awards for the categories of security, facility, comfort, and cleanliness of new airport not full of passengers. Meanwhile the Terminal III of Soekarno-Hatta Airport was awarded for its security and cleanliness in the category of new airports full of passengers.


Unprecedented infrastructure development?

The Jakarta Post, Rendi A. Wintular, Jakarta, Mon, 12/21/2009 11:52 AM, Review & Outlook

JP/R. Berto Wedhatama

For the government’s economic team, 2010 will be a decisive year to demonstrate its competence in settling the accumulation of five years of homework resolving the protracted problems that are stifling infrastructure development.

A set of policies aimed at expediting key infrastructure projects, notably highway and power projects, were unveiled in late October for all levels of government to work on.

Among the policies widely expected next year is a revision of a 2006 presidential decree on land clearance for public interest and a law on the revocation of land ownership rights.

According to Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto earlier this month, a revision to the presidential decree would include the halving of the land price negotiation period from 120 days to 60 days. The private sector will also be allowed to start construction of government-initiated projects as soon as 51 percent of the required land has been cleared.

Djoko is optimistic that all land-purchase policies, especially those for toll road projects, can be passed by the end of January. However, revisions to land clearance laws, he said, would take longer as they would need to be deliberated among lawmakers.

According to Djoko, the government’s negotiation team for land clearance will also be overhauled because its members are made up of incompetent officials working for local administrations.

Most infrastructure projects have hit roadblocks as landowners refuse to sell their land at market prices, demanding prices that often reach irrational levels.

Of the 1,000 kilometers of toll road projects linking the Eastern and Western tips of Java, planned in 2004, only around 40 kilometers have been constructed thus far, according to the Public Works Ministry.

The Central Statistics Agency reveals growth in highway capacity, excluding toll roads, only reached an average of 3 percent annually between 2002 and 2007.

As of the end of 2007, Indonesia only has 421,535 kilometers of road linking its 1.91 million square-kilometers of land.

Analysts have voiced concerns that limited highway capacity — including toll roads — has already created a bottleneck in logistics and distribution of goods, undermining the nation’s competitiveness.

In order for the private sector to feel secure in building more highways, toll roads and power plants, the government is slated to form a company next year that will cover all risks when participating in government-initiated infrastructure projects.

The company, dubbed as PT Penjamin Infrastruktur Indonesia, will function as an insurer to any risk exposed to the private sector.

The company will complement the already established state-run financing company PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur in managing the construction of infrastructure.

Aside from highway and toll road projects, the government has also pledged to accelerate the development of its first and second phases of 10,000-megawatt (MW) power plants.

Nearly half of the projects included in the first phase could be ready by the second half of 2010, falling short of the target of being entirely operational in 2009.

Among the policies proposed to accelerate construction is a revision to a set of regulations that will eventually enable state-run power company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) to have flexibility in determining the electricity prices purchased from independent power producers (IPPs).

Under the existing regulations, the government is setting a price cap for PLN when negotiating an electricity purchase with the private sector, regardless any impact from inflation and unexpected soaring costs of plant construction.

According to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, only 18 percent of 50 private companies willing to construct power plants have so far secured a deal with PLN and licenses from the government.

Due to the difficulties, several resource-rich provinces are currently under a protracted plague of electricity shortage.

Aside from limited electricity supplies, the business community is also concerned with interruptions in power distribution due to PLN’s already overstretched facilities.

The company, which has a monopoly in electricity distribution, has recently suffered problems in its storage and transmission networks, which has resulted in rotating blackouts in many parts of the country, most notably in Greater Jakarta.

PLN will need an investment of US$933 million to overhaul and expand its transmission networks next year, according to the company’s president director Fahmi Mochtar.

The company, he said, could only provide 78 percent of the funds, with sourcing for the outstanding amount still being worked out.

Critics have said problems in the company’s sagging facilities had actually been noticed by policy makers as long as five years ago. However, no measures have been proposed.

A combination of stiff bureaucratic mentality and poor coordination among ministries and agencies have contributed to sluggish infrastructure development.

Doubts are lingering in the business community over the ability of economic ministers and bureaucrats to resolve the coordination problems, exacerbated by overlapping regulations.

Several key policies to watch for:

  1. Policy synchronization for spatial planning.
  2. Revision in land clearance regulations and laws.
  3. Reform at the National Land Agency.
  4. The forming of the risk-mitigating company for infrastructure PT Penjamin Infrastruktur Indonesia.
  5. Regulation issued on forest conversion.
  6. Revision to government regulations on the use of idle land.
  7. Revision to government and ministerial regulations to increase the portion of coal allocated for the domestic market.
  8. Revision to regulations related to PLN’s purchase of electricity from the private sector.

Source: The Office of the Coordinating Minister for the Economy

The author is a staff writer at The Jakarta Post.

Green belts in RI cities shrinking fast : official

Antara News, Monday, December 21, 2009 23:03 WIB

Solo, Central Java (ANTARA News) - The area of green belts in Indonesian cities has decreased by 30 percent during the past 30 years, an environment ministry official said.

Green open public spaces in urban centers could eventually vanish or change in function if the current situation was not handled properly, Bambang Widianto, deputy for urban people`s empowerment to the envionment minister, said here Monday.

Citing examples, he said green belts in two major cities such as Jakarta and Bandung now were only 0.55 square meters and 0.45 square meters wide respectively.

"These numbers are vastly different from the green belts in major European cities which range from 7 to 11,5 square meters," Bambang said at a seminar about the environment at Solo city`s Sebelas Maret University.

Ideally, he said, the width of green belts account for 30 percent of an urban area . However, it was very hard to achieve the ideal green belt width, especially in big cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta.

One of the possible ways to preserve the environment in big cities, he said, was making biopore holes and restore the initial function of public open spaces as green areas.

Russia commits early delivery of three Sukhoi fighters

Antara News, Monday, December 21, 2009 23:01 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Russia has committed itself to delivering as early as possible the three Sukhoi jet fighters ordered by Indonesia, Indonesian Air Force spokesman Air Commodore FH Bambang Soelistyo said.

"We will help speed up the delivery of the three Sukhoi jet fighters for the Indonesian Air Force," Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Alexander. A. Ivanov was quoted by Bambang as saying on Monday.

Ivanov disclosed his government`s commitment at a closed-door meeting with Air Force Chief of Staff Vice Marshal Imam Sufa`at at the latter`s office.

Bambang said the delay in the delivery of three SU-27SKM Shukoi fighters was merely caused by technical and administrative problems and the Russian government had vowed to solve them soon.

Russia was supposed to deliver the three jet fighters in December 2009 and January 2010. But because of the problems the delivery had been postponed until October 2010.

"We do hope that they will be delivered earlier than October 2010. Three more Sukhoi jet fighters are enough to give the Indonesian air force deterrent capability. And the Russian government highly understands this," he said.

In 2003, Indonesia bought two SU-30MKs and two SU-27SKs from Russia. It signed a US$300 million deal with the Sukhoi manufacturer in 2007 for the supply of six Shukoi fighters.

The six consist of three SU-30MK2s and three SU-27SKMs. The three SU-30SKMs were delivered in December 2008 and January 2009.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Railway company eyes 15% revenue rise in 2010

Nani Afrida, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 12/21/2009 9:05 PM

State railway company PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) expects to net between 10 and 15 percent growth in revenue next year, banking on higher tariffs for its economy class, says an executive.

The company has proposed a 50 percent tariff rise to be effective by July next year, in anticipation of the government rejecting its request of additional state funds to help finance its public service obligation (PSO) program, which requires it to provide cheap transportation to as many people as possible.

That would eventually boost the company’s revenue, KAI president director Ignasius Jonan said Monday at the State Ministry for State Enterprises.

“This year, our revenue is expected to reach Rp 6 trillion [about US$620 million], which was far higher than last year,” Ignasius told reporters.

In 2008, KAI recorded Rp 4.32 trillion in revenue.

Jonan said the company had so far booked Rp 200 billion in net profits.

“The net profits this year have exceeded our budget target,” he said, adding that in 2008 KAI suffered Rp 83 billion in losses.

From the streets to homes, crime, accidents worry residents

Hasyim Widhiarto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 12/21/2009 3:14 PM

A mother of one, who lives in Taman Palem Lestari housing complex in Cengkareng, West Jakarta, was shocked recently when she found out that an unoccupied house near her residence was a drug factory.

"I thought the house was being renovated as I saw one or two cars coming to unload things several times," she said.

"I only realized there was a drug making factory just a few meters from my door when the police raided the house and found a dozen kilograms of ingredients to make crystal methamphetamine."

Having lived in the complex for more than two years, the woman said she and her husband did not mix much with the other residents as both of them were busy managing their clock businesses in various shopping malls in Jakarta.

A series of high-profile crimes in residential complexes have made the headlines this year.

For example, as of the second week of December, the police have successfully uncovered a dozen drug factories or safe houses in Greater Jakarta, mostly located in apartments or modern housing complexes.

On Feb. 17, police discovered a crystal meth factory at the Citra Raya housing complex in Cikupa, Tangerang.

In the first week of December, the police arrested eight suspects for possessing 4.8 kilograms of crystal meth worth Rp 8.5 billion (US$901,000) from an apartment in the Laguna Apartment building in Penjaringan, North Jakarta.

It seems that the privacy provided by building or complex managements is apparently an advantage for drug syndicates, as they are able to produce and distribute their wares away from the prying eyes of neighbors. Recent cases, however, have seen a new kind of crime in such environments: homicide

On Nov. 9, Setianti Retno Dewi, 24, a freelance model and university student, was killed in her rented apartment at Mediterania Garden Apartment in West Jakarta.

She died after her make-up artist hit her on the head with a set of bathroom scales. It is reported that no neighbors knew her or heard their fight. Setianti's body was found two days later. It was the third murder in the apartment building this year.

University of Indonesia criminologist Adrianus Meliala sees the increasing number of crimes taking place in exclusive apartments as one of the consequences of the changing structure of Jakarta urban society, especially in middle- to high-class circles.

"Nowadays, there are more and more people who attain financial success at a young age," Adrianus said, adding that such a situation paved the way to increasing individualism.

Increasing crime closer to home, however, does not necessarily mean decreasing crime on traditional turf. The streets of Jakarta remain a place where residents should exercise caution.

As of October, the city police recorded more than 5,000 traffic accidents in Jakarta, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi, killing 823 people and injured more than 6,000 people. Of the accidents, 181 took place in busway lanes.

The National Police has estimated an average of 30,000 people die every year due to traffic accidents.

Meanwhile, in an operation run between Jan. 20 and Feb. 11 to eradicate thuggery and street crime in Greater Jakarta, the city police arrested 557 criminals for their involvement in cases such as pickpocketing, auto theft, gambling and violent robbery. Such cases, however, never stop worrying road users.

In a similar operation held during the last week of November, the police arrested 515 criminals for being involved in 199 street crimes.

City police spokesman Sr. Comr. Boy Rafli Amar said street crimes would always be one of the major problems in a busy, densely populated city like Jakarta.

He said, however, it was not the police's job alone to tackle the problem and urged other parties, like local governments and social communities, to work hand in hand in creating more job opportunities or facilitating skills training for ex-criminals.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hino expands RI factory and production to increase sales

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 12/19/2009 1:05 PM

PT Hino Motors Manufacturing Indonesia (HMMI), the local subsidiary of a Japanese commercial vehicle manufacturer, has completed the expansion of its factory in Purwakarta, West Java, through a US$33 million investment.

President of Hino Motors Ltd. in Japan, Yoshio Shirai, said during an inauguration ceremony held on Thursday that the expanded factory would have a production capacity of 35,000 units per annum up from an initial capacity of 10,000 units per year. This makes the plant the largest Hino Motors' production factory outside of Japan.

The expansion project was started in mid-2007 and finished in August this year. The expanded factory, with a total area of over 53,000 square meters and total land area of 120,000 square meters, is now producing light duty trucks for Hino and for Toyota Motors Corp., which owns a 50 percent share of the Japanese automotive manufacturer.

Shirai said he expected to see an increase in the company's sales of commercial vehicles in Indonesia as a result of the increased production capacity in the country.

"Hino Motors Ltd.'s target for overseas market is to see a 20 percent growth in sales, but for Indonesia I think the sales *target* could be more for than that," he said, adding that his company's global sales, excluding the Japanese domestic market, was currently expected to reach 60,000 units by the end of 2009.

Toshiro Mizutani, president director of Hino's unit for distribution, sales and after-sales service PT Hino Motors Sales Indonesia (HMSI), said that the company sold 13,770 commercial vehicles last year and was expecting to see a drop to around 12,000 by the end of 2009 due to the (delayed effects of) the global economic downturn.

HMMI said it was also considering exporting products from the expanded Indonesian production facility to other regional markets.

"We are still studying the possibilities," Shirai said.

HMMI president director Kenji Ohara said the company currently had a 26 percent share of the Indonesian domestic market.

Gunadi Sindhuwinata, president director of automobile and motorcycle assembler PT Indomobil Sukses Internasional said the automotive industry is forecast to be even more lucrative in 2010. Its growth in sales is predicted to reach 10 to 20 percent, alongside the government's aggressive push forward to expand the required infrastructure (especially for toll roads) so that the industry can grow.

He added that the rate of economic growth, predicted to rise to between 5 and 5.5 percent in 2010, also provided the economic foundations for an expected increase in car sales next year.

The Indonesian Automotive Industry Association (Gaikindo) chairman Bambang Trisulo, told The Jakarta Post that he expected car sales to reach between 560,000 and 600,000 units in 2010.

"It depends *partly* on the impact of the latest developments in the Bank Century bailout saga and Dubai World debt problems," he said.

Gaikindo predicts car sales would reach around 475,000 units this year, down from the much higher level of sales in 2008, which reached 603,700 units.

Bambang said that commercial vehicle sales accounted for between 22 and 25 percent of all annual vehicle sales. (adh)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Don’t worry, it’s just a drill

The Jakarta Post, Thu, 12/17/2009 6:56 PM

Counterterrorism officers release passengers held hostage during a simulation at Juanda International Airport of Surabaya on Thursday. The drill was aimed at testing the security of vital gateways. (Antara/Eric Ireng)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Soekarno-Hatta world’s second most on-time airport

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 12/16/2009 8:16 AM

Despite numerous complaints about its meager services, the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is good at one thing: punctuality.

Luxury travel news portal has announced that the airport is the second most on-time international airport worldwide according to data from FlightStats, an Oregon-based company that tracks flight information for airports and airlines around the world.

The portal ranked Soekarno-Hatta below reigning champion, Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, and above Narita, which came in third.

The data defined an on-time airport as one having the most flights less than 15 minutes late.

The same yardstick is used by the Geneva-based Airports Council International.

The study, which included 50 of the busiest airports in the world, took data from Aug. 1, 2008, to July 31, 2009.

The portal’s report called Soekarno-Hatta this year’s most improved airport on its top ten as it ”jumped from last year’s sixth slot thanks to impressive 84.2 percent on-time arrivals and 89.2 percent on-time departures.”

Arrival and departure flights were 79.3 percent and 86.3 percent on-time, respectively, last year.

The head of Soekarno-Hatta airport, Hariyanto, attributed the achievement to the joint efforts by the airline companies, the airport management, the custom and excise agency, and other stakeholders to increase the overall quality of service.

“We check the passengers’ belongings in a timely manner and coordinate with the airline companies to prevent flight delays. We also urge passengers to come two hours before flight time,” he said.

Hariyanto said to improve service, the airport management team planned to add visa and travel counters for arriving international passengers.

Tulus Abadi from the Indonesian Consumer Protection Foundation (YLKI) said he disagreed with the ForbesTraveler rank.

“I do not think ‘second most on-time airport’ rightly describes the flights to and from Soekarno Hatta.

Also, the punctuality of flights are indicative of improved airline services, not so much airport management,” Tulus added.

Tulus said a YLKI survey among passengers using Soekarno-Hatta last year found that the general perception was that airlines there often delayed their flights and that the airport did not properly manage its facilities, especially the toilets.

Out of eight airport facilities listed in the survey, toilets accounted for 46 percent of the 955 complaints about the airport’s facilities.

The other eight were prayer rooms, sign boards, X-ray machines, trolleys, waiting rooms, parking lots, airport information and eating places.

“Maybe the myriad complaints regarding the toilets has forced the airport management to take steps to flush out the problem,” Tulus said.

Soekarno-Hatta was declared as the international airport with second cleanest toilets in Indonesia by the Tourism Ministry in September 2009, lagging behind Surabaya’s Juanda International Airport.

It was an marked improvement from 2007, when Soekarno-Hatta ranked fourth. (mrs)