More carmakers caught in headlights of VW engine-rigging scandal

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

Volkswagen emissions scandal

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

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

Missing MH370 likely to have disintegrated mid-flight: experts

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

QZ8501 (AirAsia)

Leaders see horror of French Alps crash as probe gathers pace

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

… The Shift in Human Nature

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

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

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

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

Friday, February 26, 2010

Blogger Auto Pagination Speeds Page Loads but Angers Bloggers

Susan's Blogging Blog, by Susan Gunelius, Thursday February 25, 2010

Last week, Blogger rolled out Auto Pagination, which automates the amount of content that is displayed on Blogger blog pages based on the amount of HTML and and images on each page. Google claimed that the purpose behind the change is to speed page load time. For example, with the new Auto Pagination feature, a Blogger blog might be limited to only display two posts per page if those posts include a lot of images. Visitors would need to click on the Next Post link to view additional posts from the blog.

While the change is unlikely to affect a lot of smaller bloggers, it has caused concern from larger bloggers, particularly those who use Blogger for photo blogs or blogs that are image-intensive, such as celebrity fan bloggers.

Many of the Blogger users who found their blogs suddenly altered to display only a couple of posts per page blogged about the new Blogger Auto Pagination feature in order to complain about the change. According to some of the more vocal bloggers, they were able to email Google and work with them to modify their blogs so the Auto Pagination feature doesn't affect their blogs. If you use Blogger and dislike the Auto Pagination feature, be sure to contact Blogger support and voice your concerns.

Has the new Blogger Auto Pagination function affected your blog or any of the blogs that you read? Leave a comment and share your experiences.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kisar airport expansion needed to support Sail Banda

Antara News, Otniel Tamindael, Wednesday, February 24, 2010 08:17 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The runway of Purpura Airport in Pulau Kisar, Southwest Maluku (MBD) district, needs to be expanded to support the upcoming international marine event "Sail Banda 2010".

Pulau Kisar is a small, remote island of the southern part of Maluku Province in eastern Indonesia. It lies just off the northeast coast of Timor-Leste, and although traditionally very hard to get to, it now has a small airport, called Purpura and located on the northern tip of the small island.

Purpura airport in Pulau Kisar receives flights from Maluku`s provincial capital of Ambon and East Nusa Tenggara (NTT)`s provincial capital of Kupang.

Flights go Mondays and Fridays from Ambon (1 hour, 45 minutes) with Merpati Nusantara Airlines. Passenger ships also call at Pulau Kisar`s Nama and Jawalan ports from Ambon, Kupang and Surabaya.

Parts of Pulau Kisar have that untouched look and it is generally only adventurous people who would make the boat trip of several days from Ambon to Kisar.

It is a small, rocky island and, along with neighboring Pulau Wetar, it is one of the remotest in the country, being a lot closer to Australia`s Northern Territory city of Darwin than to Ambon, for instance.

The airport at the MBD district town of Wonreli in Pulau Kisar needs to be expanded to support Sail Banda 2010 but the Transportation Ministry has yet to allocate funds from the 2010 state budget for the project.

"The Transportation Ministry has actually received the proposal of Kisar`s airport expansion from MBD acting district head Frangky Rejaan, but the funds from the 2010 state budget have yet to be allocated," Maluku Transportation Office chief Benny Gaspersz said in the eastern Indonesian city of Ambon on Tuesday.

Gaspersz said the expansion of Purpura airport`s runway was a strategic way to support Sail Banda 2010 and therefore the Transportation Ministry should wisely channel the funds in accordance with existing mechanism.

"Thus to allocate the funds for Kisar`s airport expansion, a team from Air Transportation Directorate General at the Transportation Ministry should first make a survey," Gaspersz said, calling on MBD district administration and the local people to be patient.

Gaspersz said he understood that the expansion of Kisar`s airport runway was strategic to step up air transportation service to the island by operating bigger aircrafts than Cassa 212 plane being operated by Merpati Nusantara Airlines.

"If the runway of Purpura airport in Pulau Kisar is extended from 800 meters to 1,300 meters, ATR 42 aircraft with 40 seats, operated by PT Wings Air will be able to make a landing there," Gaspersz said.

MBD acting district head Franky Rejaan said on a separate occasion that the local administration was expanding the runway of Purpura airport to support Sail Banda 2010 scheduled for July 24 until August 17, 2010.

"Southwest Maluku (MBD) district is scheduled to be the location for the peak event of Sail Banda 2010 with undersea ceremony on August 17, 2010 to observe independence day, and therefore the local government is currently expanding the airport`s runway," Renjaan said.

The upcoming international marine event "Sail Banda 2010" in Maluku, scheduled from July to August this year, has gained support from various parties.

Support to make the event a success came among others from Maluku-born people in the Netherlands, Bank Indonesia, as well as air and sea transportation agencies.

In the Netherlands, Maluku-born people are ready to support the Sail Banda 2010 by intensively promoting it in European countries, a Maluku tourism official said.

"At least 350 Moluccans in the Netherlands have expressed their readiness to intensively promote the coming event in Holland and other European countries," head of Maluku`s Culture and Tourism Office, Florence Sahusilawane, has said in Ambon.

Florence said the expatriate Maluku people had expressed their readiness to her when she attended the Dutch tourism event, "Vakantiebeurs" in Utrecht, the Netherlands, last January 12-17, 2010.

"The most important thing in their support to Sail Banda 2010 is that they will also come to Maluku along with their relatives, Dutch friends, and other colleagues from Europe for the event scheduled for July to August 2010," she said.

Florence added that she highly appreciated the seriousness of Moluccans in the Netherlands to help make Sail Banda 2010 a success because it would be a strategic event to assure the international community that peace and calm have returned to Maluku after the province was engulfed by a communal conflict from 1999 to 2002.

"We actually want the Netherlands to be the gateway for netting West European tourists who increasingly visit Maluku every year," Florence said.

Besides Maluku-born community in the Netherlands, Bank Indonesia (the central bank) of Ambon branch is to open money changer counters and ATM booths in Banda to support the international marine event.

"Bank Indonesia and a number of banks such as Bank BRI, Bank Central Asia (BCA), and Bank BNI will also provide services for financial transactions in Banda to support the event," Ambon branch Bank Indonesia spokesman Totok Hermianto said in the eastern Indonesian city of Ambon on Monday.

Totok admitted that he had discussed the event with the leaders of the banks operating in Ambon and they agreed to open banking service counters in Banda.

In addition, Transportation Department`s Air Transportation director general Herry Bakti has said his office was ready to support Sail Banda 2010, because according to him,inter-department coordination was necessary to support the success of the international event.

"In principle, the Transportation Directorate General is ready to support the event," he has said in Bandaneira, Banda, Maluku.

The most important thing is to prepare reliable telephone and internet infrastructure. This can facilitate communication and telecommunication access so that people would not all gather in Ambon if they want to promote Banda," he said.

Sail Banda, he said, needs to be supported by a maritime armada with the capacity and speed that can sail across 159 miles from Ambon to Bandaneira in at least three to four hours.

The national shipping company PT Pelni is also ready to help make the Sail Banda 2010 event a success by putting more ships into service on its route to the Banda Islands in Central Maluku, a spokesman said.

Bachtiar, head of PT Pelni`s Ambon branch office, said in Ambon that the national shipping company felt it bore the moral responsibility to support the international maritime event in Banda.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tanjung Priok Offers Indonesia New Car Shipment Service

Jakarta Globe, Irvan Tisnabudi, February 14, 2010

Honda Freed minivans due to be exported to Singapore prior to loading at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta. The state-owned port operator hopes the volume of vehicle traffic through the port grows as a result of its new transshipment service. (Bloomberg Photo/Dimas Ardian)

The Tanjung Priok port car terminal on Thursday began offering new transshipment services in a bid to challenge rival regional ports.

Richard Lino, president director of state-owned port operator PT Pelindo II, said the new service and the port’s strategic location would help it compete against ports in Singapore and Malaysia.

“In the past, car exporters in countries like India and Thailand have used the transshipment service in those two countries [Singapore and Malaysia], but Indonesia now has a similar service,” he said.

Transshipment is the shipment of goods to an intermediate destination for later shipment to another locale. It is often used to gather multiple small shipments headed to a single destination into a bigger shipment.

Deputy Transportation Minister Bambang Susantono said he believed the transshipment service for cars would make the Tanjung Priok port more attractive than its rivals.

“The Tanjung Priok port has always been an attractive port for shipping vehicles to and from Southeast Asia and Australia, as it is more strategic in terms of location compared to its rivals,” he said.

Pelindo II did not reveal the price or nature of the investment required to begin offering transshipment services.

The first ship to use the new service was the Golden Fang out of India. It unloaded 394 of its 1,091 cars onto the Rocky Highway ship, heading to New Zealand and Australia. The rest were unloaded for sale on Indonesia’s domestic market.

“The tariff for unloading, then loading the car again is Rp 600,000 [$64] per car,” said Gunta Prabawa, chief of the port’s car terminal.

The port can unload 130 cars per hour and load 90 per hour. The terminal has a parking capacity of 6,000 cars.

In 2009, a total of 112,983 cars passed through the terminal: 55,670 were imported and 57,313 were exported. This was a sharp decline from 180,000 in 2008.

Aviliani, an economist at the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance, welcomed the new transshipment service.

“It provides a more efficient cost alternative for the exporters, and we’ll be able to enjoy the added revenue from the shipments,” she said.

However, she cautioned that the service presented a challenge also: loading and unloading the increased number of cars with appropriate care.

“We can’t fall behind the ports in Malaysia in Singapore when it comes to fulfilling international standards for the cars being loaded and unloaded here,” Aviliani said.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Flights Delayed After Plane Aborts Takeoff in Surabaya

Jakarta Globe, Amir Tejo, February 13, 2010

A Batavia Air flight aborted its takeoff from Surabaya's Juanda Airport on Saturday after one of the plane's tires burst.

"When the plane reached the end of runway 10, its left tire burst. Pilot Karyana decided to cancel the takeoff," said airport spokesman Firstson Mansyur.

There were no injuries, but flight 7P735 from Surabaya to Makassar was canceled and the airport remained closed until the plane was emptied of passengers. Airport officials said other flights would be delayed.

MUSLIM GROUP SAYS: Airport Body Scanners Violate the Teachings of Islam

Kompas, Jumat, 12 Februari 2010

Washington will try to convince the EU to install body scanners
at its main airports for use by US-bound passengers - A group of Muslim scholars says it supports airline safety, but it is "deeply concerned" about the use of airport scanners that show nude images of the human body.

“The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) emphasizes that a general and public use of such scanners is against the teachings of Islam, natural law and all religions and cultures that stand for decency and modesty,” the group said in a Feb. 10 statement posted at Islam Online.

"It is a violation of clear Islamic teachings that men or women be seen naked by other men and women," FCNA explained. The group noted that Islam emphasizes modesty, considering it part of the faith. "The Qur'an has commanded the believers, both men and women, to cover their private parts" and to be modest in their dress.

While exceptions can be made in cases of "extreme necessity," FCNA indicated that passenger body scans do not rise to that level. FCNA is asking for changes in scanner software so the machines will produce only body outlines. In the meantime, the group says Muslim travelers should choose pat-down searches over scanner images – in cases where searches are necessary.

The Fiqh Council of North America is an affiliate of the Islamic Society of North America, which advises and educates its members and officials “on matters related to the application of Shari’ah (Islamic law) in their individual and collective lives in the North American environment.” The Council on American-Islamic Relations also issued a news release on Wednesday, endorsing FCNA's statement on the use of body scanners.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

City Council Vows to Rid Jakarta of 3-Wheel Bemo

Jakarta Globe, Arientha Primanita & Ulma Haryanto, February 11, 2010

A line of bemo await passengers in Central Jakarta. (JG Photo)

The days of the pollution-belching, three-wheeled bemo may finally be numbered, the Jakarta city administration said on Wednesday.

“We hope by 2011 there will be no bemo on the streets of Jakarta,” said Riza Hasyim, deputy head of the Jakarta Transportation Agency.

Riza said that according to a 1996 gubernatorial decree the bemo were illegal.

Bemo are a fixture of the Jakarta cityscape. The unique vehicles seat four to five people relatively comfortably, but often hold as many as nine passengers.

Riaza said Jakarta Police and Public Order Agency officers would begin impounding the vehicles and destroying them after a warning period had expired.

Aliman Aat, a city councilor from Commission B, which oversees economic affairs, said the council supported the plan.

“The bemo do not have permits to operate in Jakarta so they are illegal,” he said, adding that the city council will allocate the required funds in its revised budget.

Aliman said the bemo, which now operate primarily in and around Bendungan Hilir (Benhil), Tanah Abang and Karet in South Jakarta, were bad for the environment and traffic congestion.

He said efforts to remove the vehicles from the city’s streets had begun in 1996 with the freezing of operating permits for 1,096 bemo.

Taufik, another city councilor, said the administration had been unable to rid the city of bemo because the vehicles were often operated by street thugs known as preman.

Bemo drivers spoken to by the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday, however, said they believed the local government’s decision was unfair.

“They never explained to us why we are illegal. Is it because of environmental concerns? Are the vehicles ugly? Tell us what is wrong with the bemo and we can fix it,” said Mia, from the City’s Poor People Network (JKRM).

Samsul, one of about 100 bemo drivers in Benhil, said he had been a bemo driver for 15 years after moving from Indramayu, West Java, to find a better life in Jakarta.

Although he was aware of the government plan to eradicate all bemo, he said he was illiterate and had nowhere else to go. He said despite the 1996 ban, a number of new drivers had recently begun working as bemo operators.

“I learned how to drive a bemo from my uncle who brought me to Jakarta,” he said. “He has returned to Indramayu because of illness.”

Samsul said he earned Rp 30,000 ($3.20) each day after covering the cost of renting the vehicle and buying gasoline. He said it was tough to make a living to support his unemployed wife and two children. “But there are other drivers with more mouths to feed,” he added.

Muhammad Yusuf, 16, lives in Pejompongan and uses bemo. However, he admitted that bemo is not the only means of transport that he rely on.

“I can travel with bemo, angkot, anything nowadays, so I would not be too upset if one day bemo are not operating anymore” he said.

According to the Jakarta Bemo Driver Community (PBJ), there are around 1,000 active bemo in the capital, with one bemo usually shared between two drivers.

Aircraft makes emergency landing in rice paddy in East Kalimantan

Nurni Sulaiman, The Jakarta Post, Balikpapan, East Kalimantan | Thu, 02/11/2010 1:52 PM

A twin turbo-prop small aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing in a rice paddy in Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan, following engine failure, injuring at least two passengers in the process.

The aircraft, an ATR-42-300 operated by PT Trigana Air, was carrying 46 passengers and five crew from Tanjung Selor City to Samarinda when the engine failed.

Roesmanto, head of flight security and safety at Termindung Airport in Samarinda, told Antara state news agency that the pilot had planned to make an emergency landing at Sepinggan International Airport in Balikpapan, which is bigger than Termindung Airport.

However, the plane was unable to reach the airport and was forced to land in the rice field located near the 45 kilometer marker on the Balikpapan to Samarinda highway at around 11:30 a.m. local time.

Garuda makes corporate sales deal with Shell

Antara News, Thursday, February 11, 2010 02:19 WIB

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - PT Garuda Indonesia has concluded a corporate sales agreement with PT Shell Indonesia as part of its program to cooperate with 750 companies to secure a potential income of Rp2 trillion.

"It is in line with the increase in our capacity after the acquisition this year of 24 new planes and the opening of 10 new domestic and international routes," Garuda president director Emirsyah Satar said after the signing of the corporate sales accord with Shell Indonesia here on Wednesday.

He said last year the airline company signed a memorandum of understanding for corporate sales with 580 big companies in Indonesia with total income expected more than Rp600 billion.

In connection with the cooperation Emirsyah said the company had prepared special packages for Shell employees in Indonesia for domestic as well as international flights.

The president director of Shell Indonesia, Darwin Silalahi, said the contract was not only based upon a discount facility but it also showed Garuda`s capability to serve a big number of customers.

Darwin declined to tell the number of Shell Indonesia employees nor the discount Shell would receive from Garuda.

To develop corporate market in the future Garuda will ease access for its corporate partners through "Garuda Online Booking Corporate" facility and will also expand abroad, Garuda`s head of communications, Pujobroto, said.

He said Garuda had also launched a service based on a concept of hospitality rooted in the Indonesian culture called "Garuda Indonesia Experience" last August.

With regard to its service Garuda has earned a four-star class recognition from Sky Trax which is an international rating agency for airline service. It expects to earn the five-star title in 2013, he said.

Shell is a global energy and petrochemical business group with around 102,000 employees in more than 100 countries and regions, based in the Hague, the Netherlands.

In Indonesia it operates in various locations in Java and Kalimantan and has kept looking for an opportunity for developing business and to contribute significantly to Indonesia.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Indonesian Sales of Leading Compact Cars Hit Record Levels

Jakarta Globe, Irvan Tisnabudi, February 08, 2010

Traffic jams and high gas prices are driving Indonesians to choose smaller cars like the Honda Jazz. (Bloomberg Photo/Prashanth Vishwanathan)

Facing global economic uncertainty, volatile energy prices and crushing traffic jams, more and more residents of Jakarta are trading in their larger cars for compact hatchbacks, pushing sales of the two market-leading models to record highs in recent months.

Both Toyota and Honda will take crumbs of comfort — amid their international problems over massive recalls of a number of models — from booming compact sales for the last quarter of 2009.

Toyota said it posted back-to-back record sales for its compact Yaris in November and December, while Honda said it enjoyed record sales of its Jazz model in two of the last three months of 2009.

Toyota said it sold 8,576 Yaris units last year, including 1,180 units in November alone. The Yaris was Toyota’s fourth-most popular model in Indonesia. Honda said it sold 15,713 units of the Jazz last year, including 1,888 units in October, making it its best seller in Indonesia.

“With the economy getting better as the year drew to a close, people’s purchasing power improved and those who live in cities like Jakarta will have their eyes on smaller, more compact cars,” said Bambang Trisulo, chairman of the Indonesian Automotive Industry Association (Gaikindo).

Gaikindo says the Yaris and Jazz are the two most popular vehicles among 1.5-liter hatchbacks, with more than 50 percent of the local market between them.

Consumers cited gas mileage and the convenience of driving a compact car in congested Jakarta as among reasons they were opting for smaller vehicles. “I recently traded my Nissan X-Trail sports-utility vehicle for the Toyota Yaris. I couldn’t stand having to pay for the gas the SUV consumes,” said Adit, a 28-year-old lawyer.

Atma Jaya University student Ari said he preferred the Yaris to other Toyota models for its size and fuel efficiency. “I think the Yaris is the most suitable automobile for the current conditions,” Ari said. “The bigger size of the Rush, Avanza and Innova adds to the difficulties of driving in crowded traffic.”

The international images of both Japanese carmakers have suffered due to recent recalls. Toyota is reeling from a global recall of more than 8 million of its vehicles, spanning eight models, though not the Yaris.

Honda has recalled 646,000 Fit and Jazz models built in China and Japan between 2002 and 2008 due to a faulty window component, and announced last week that it would recall more than 3,000 City models sold in Indonesia in 2007 and 2008. The Jazz is not under any recall in Indonesia.

Representatives of the Indonesian subsidiaries of Toyota and Honda last week expressed confidence that domestic sales would continue to grow. “For 2010, we at Honda have set a total sales target of 47,000 units, and I expect the Jazz to continue to be the best-selling product,” said Jonfis Fandy, director of marketing and after-sales service at PT Honda Prospect Motor.

Dimas Aska, a marketing and public relations executive at PT Toyota Astra Motor said: “Toyota is the number one automotive brand in terms of sales total in Indonesia, so our goal for this year is, of course, to maintain that.”

The Yaris sells from Rp 185 million ($19,600) to Rp 220 million, while the Jazz ranges from Rp 195 million to Rp 225 million.

Trains from Japan to arrive in March

Indah Setiawati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 02/08/2010 12:03 PM

Commuters in the city and surrounding areas will see the arrival of 10 of 40 used-electric train carriages imported from Japan in March, an official said.

“Every month, starting March, we will receive 10 carriages until June,” corporate secretary of PT KAI Commuter Jabodetabek (KCJ) Makmur Syaheran told The Jakarta Post.

The imported carriages, produced between the 1980s and 1990s, would add to the existing 386 electric trains. Makmur refused to reveal the trains’ prices.

The KCJ serves commuting routes across the Greater Jakarta area, including tracks linking the city’s main stations to Serpong, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi in Greater Jakarta.

Makmur said the KCJ, which has become a subsidiary of state-owned railway company PT Kereta Api (KA) since August 2008, tried to improve service quality by providing more carriages and repairing a number of train stations.

This month, he added, his company would open a bidding process for another procurement of 48 used carriages from Japan.

“We will procure carriages for electric trains every year. This is part of our effort to increase comfort quality,” he said.

With regard to the renovation of 17 train stations, Makmur said, this month it had entered the first phase, with Juanda station in Central Jakarta, for example, to be equipped with new benches.

He added that street vendors sprawling at the platform would be relocated.

Makmur said the KCJ would also develop an electronic ticketing system to many trains to curb the number of illegal passengers.

A resident of Depok Saleh Purwanto who commuted daily to his workplace in Jakarta, said he would welcome the imported used trains, saying that the news had been long awaited.

He said, however, that the additional number of trains would be meaningless if the KCJ did not improve their daily operational condition.

He said he expected on-time arrivals and departures of the electric train, but was often disappointed when faced with sudden schedule delays.

“Recently, the delay often happens Monday,” he said.

He said the delays were usually caused by train damage and troubled signals.

“If the problems are known, why doesn’t the company provide backup trains or evacuate passengers when the train stops before arriving at its destination?” he said.

Volunteer group KRLmania urged PT KAI Commuter Jabodetabek that the imported trains replaced economy-class electric trains that were unreliable.

The editorial page of the group’s website stated that PT KA should work on improving the signaling system of the electric trains, making it more reliable.

The KCJ currently manages 170 kilometers of railway lines and 56 railway stations.

It was reported that approximately 400,000 passengers from Greater Jakarta now use the trains every day, an increase from 325,000 last year. The KCJ targets to attract 1 million passengers per day by 2012. Furthermore, in 2014 it targets to carry 3 million passengers per day.

In order to improve its service, the company revealed that it would take all non-AC economy-class trains out of service and replace them with AC economy-class trains by 2011.

So far, more than 40 stations allow passengers to easily pass through without tickets.

It is common to see passengers on train roofs during peak hour. Incidents where illegal passengers were electrocuted were reported in 2009.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ride on

The Jakarta Post, Sun, 02/07/2010 10:26 PM

Ride on: Members of Mercedes-Benz Club Indonesia convoy in "Mercedes-Benz Rally Batavia: Tribute to Indonesia" on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan in Jakarta on Sunday. The convoy also planted 3,000 trees along Jl. Sedyatmo and the East and West Flood Canals. JP/Wendra Ajistyatama

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Toyota’s Woes Are Those of Japan Inc.

Jakarta Globe, Linda Sieg & Nathan Layne, February 07, 2010

Toyota’s massive recalls exemplify how Japanese companies can suffer from being too inward-looking. (AFP Photo/Yoshikazu Tsuno)

Tokyo. Toyota Motor’s mass recall crisis may seem peculiarly its own, but the top carmaker’s woes are a cautionary tale for other Japanese companies needing to expand abroad and drive earnings growth.

Critics say Toyota, hemorrhaging its reputation for reliability as it recalls millions of cars over a sometimes fatal accelerator defect, failed to balance a traditionally tight management style that ensured quality with the world’s changing demands.

Stefan Lippert, a business professor at Temple University in Japan, calls it the “ kaisha dilemma,” using the Japanese word for “company.” “The incredible success of the Japanese economy is based on the kaisha . It’s based on this specific management model,” he said, referring to Japan’s rapid economic growth before stalling in the 1990s. “However, times have changed.”

If Japanese companies cannot break the mold, they risk losing further ground to South Korean and Chinese rivals that are more proactive in grooming local talent that knows its markets best.

Korea’s Samsung Electronics has pushed aside the Japanese to become the world’s top maker of LCD televisions.

“Toyota is part and parcel of what’s bothering Japan right now,” said Darrel Whitten, managing director of consultant Investor Networks. “They have to come to terms with globalization. I don’t think it’s a situation any more where you can run everything from headquarters.”

The challenge could be especially tough for Japan’s service companies, now facing increasing pressure to look for growth beyond their deflation-plagued home markets.

Fast Retailing, whose popular Uniqlo chain of fast-fashion shops and heat-trapping underwear gets just 12 percent of revenues abroad, for example is expanding aggressively into Asian markets.

“Companies viewed as just domestic are creating an interesting buzz in Asia,” Whitten said. “The question is, can they have flexibility and an open enough management structure that can run a competitive global operation.”

In the 1980s Japan’s tech, motor-vehicle and machinery exporters were the envy of the business world. They charged into overseas markets with high quality but reasonably priced products, taking customers from US and European manufacturers.

Some are still among the top performers in their industries — from Honda in cars to Canon in cameras and copiers to Fanuc in industrial robots.

But others, like once-mighty electronics conglomerate Sony, have lost their competitive edge to more nimble overseas rivals.



Saturday, February 6, 2010

Editorial: Repairing cars and reputation

The Jakarta Post | Fri, 02/05/2010 10:27 AM | Opinion

Only a few newspapers here gave much attention to Toyota Motor Corporation’s (TMC) announcement last week of the recall of millions of its cars worldwide for faulty accelerator pedals and Honda Motor’s similar move to repair 646,000 units of its Fit/Jazz and City models because of possible faulty window switches.

Even Toyota’s sole Indonesia distributor, Toyota Astra Motor (TAM), didn’t provide much information, only making a three-paragraph statement on its website quoting its Japanese principal in reassuring customers that all Toyota cars sold in Asia, including Indonesia, and Oceania, were not affected by the massive recall.

TMC explained Toyota’s accelerator problem did not affect cars in Asian markets because they were fitted with accelerators supplied by Japanese components maker Denso. The recalled cars were fitted with pedals made by American parts supplier CTS in Indiana. None of the Toyota cars fitted with the Denso pedals were recalled.

Honda’s Indonesian sole distributor, PT Honda Prospect Motor, did issue a special press release explaining that 3,240 City models sold in the country between 2007 and 2008 should be repaired as they used power window switches identical to those distributed in North America and UK.

Honda Prospect explained jazz sedans sold in Indonesia, different from those marketed in Europe and the US, which used faulty components made by Omron, were fitted with parts manufactured by Japanese parts supplier Denso.

However, the explanations by both Toyota and Honda, which are the most popular car makers in Indonesia, seemed too cursory and simplistic for such an important matter as transportation safety.

The way they played down the issue suggested the benchmark safety standards for autos sold in the country were much higher than those in the United States, UK, Canada and China, the markets most affected by the recall.

We wonder why Toyota Astra, which, like its Japanese principal, is long known for its devotion to quality control and its meticulous approach to building cars and servicing customers, didn’t explain in detail the technical fault affecting Toyota cars, which has caused fatal accidents, most notably in the US.

After all, two of the eight affected Toyota models in the US – Camry and Corolla – are quite popular in Indonesia. Honda City and Jazz cars also have been among the top sellers.

Toyota Astra and Honda here should not sit back and relax, complacent that there is technically nothing wrong with their cars due to different parts suppliers.

Both car assemblers should not wait until a series of fatal accidents occur. It is much better for Toyota Astra and Honda Prospect to go out of the way, conducting random technical tests especially on Corolla and Camry and Jazz models to convey a clear, strong message they really care more about the safety of its customers than mere income.

Such tests are necessary especially in Indonesia where car accidents are hardly subjected to comprehensive investigations by road transportation safety regulators.

The moves by Toyota and Honda to make massive withdrawals in the US, Europe, Canada and China, would certainly inflict big losses due to lost production and sales as well as repair costs.

But in the long run, such gestures and goodwill will contain the damage caused by the massive recalls and would even improve their reputation, which is a key to maintaining customer loyalty.

Related Article:

Toyota UK Recall News

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Singapore airforce A F-111 performing a ‘dump and burn.’

Jakarta Globe, Lisa Siregar, February 05, 2010

Green Wings Soar Over Singapore

Anoise from afar turns the heads of the sunglasses-wearing crowd standing along Changi Beach in Singapore. Within seconds, a dark green jet comes into view slitting the bright blue sky with precise loops and neck-craning turns.

After a few banks and a little more hotdogging, the pilot releases a trail of fuel and a wall of fire rips from the tail of the plane.

The crowd scrambles for their cameras in hope of capturing the moment.

The elongated flame is the signature of the Royal Australian Air Force’s F-111, which that country plans to retire this year. This is the F-111’s last “dump and burn” performance outside of Australia.

The aerial display is all part of the day’s festivities at the 2010 Singapore Airshow, a six-day event that ends on Sunday.

The first four days of the show were designated exclusively for trade attendees while this weekend’s activities are meant to wow the public.

From the Airbus A330-200F to the Bell 206, B-407 and B-429 helicopters, planes and choppers from almost 20 distributors are on display across 100,000 square meters just outside the Changi Exhibition Center.

Located along the east side of Changi International Airport, the air show brings together 250 delegations from close to 80 countries, including the air forces from the United States, Korea and Australia.

The event boasts some 820 exhibiting companies from over 40 countries. Exhibitioners vary from global aerospace companies to spare parts suppliers.

Tickets are $14 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under.

According to Jimmy Lau, the managing director of the air show, 85 percent of this year’s exhibitors were on hand for the air show’s first annual event in 2008. Meanwhile, the number of the pre-registered air show attendees has shot up from 8,000 in 2008 to 12,000 this year.

Lau said he was delighted with the positive response.

“This is definitely a good indication of the increasing confidence of major players as the industry slowly emerges from the recent downturn,” Lau said. He added that the air show would enable the industry to feel for a pulse of what would happen in the year ahead.

One of the new features of the 2010 air show is the Green Pavilion, where companies are showcasing the latest advances in environmentally friendly technology.

On the second day of the event, the International Air Transport Association kicked off the environmental exhibit at Changi International Airport by illustrating key elements bridging the environment and business, which included efforts to reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency.

“Safety and environment are two first priorities in IATA,” said Giovanni Bisignani, chief executive of the association.

PT Garuda Indonesia, the nation’s flag carrier, led a initiative to sign a memorandum of understanding with the IATA. Bisignani said Garuda was the 15th airline to sign the memorandum.

One of the programs outlined in the agreement is a commitment to use biofuels.

Biofuels, produced from renewable resources like palm oil, are intended to reduce carbon emissions throughout the life cycle of the commercial planes.

The increased reliance on biofuels is anticipated to provide an estimated 80 percent reduction in aeriel emissions. Fuel is also one of the biggest operating costs for the aviation industry, which biofuels are meant to cut.

According to Emirsyah Satar, the president director of Garuda, the signing of the memorandum on Tuesday reinforced the company’s commitment to the environment.

“Regarding the MOU, we will start by replacing airplanes engines with the ones which are more environmental friendly,” Emirsyah said. “Garuda is the first airline in Indonesia to sign the MOU with IATA regarding the use of biofuels,”

The carrier also plans to offer passengers the option of reducing their carbon footprint when flying Garuda.

When asked whether the optional emission charge would deter thrifty Indonesian passengers, most of whom are still extremely price-conscious, Emirsyah said this was not the company’s only environmental initiative.

“This is not only our program to encourage passengers to care for the environment. We have also had the One Tree One Passenger policy in place for two years,” he said.

Meanwhile, the international community continues to make strides in environmental sustainability.

Plane manufactures around the world are continually pushing to create a “greener” aircraft.

Higher oil prices have driven manufacturers to produce more fuel-efficient planes because they will have to go green if they want to stand any chance in the market ,according to Kevin Smith, the head of marketing for Bombardier, a Canadian aircraft manufacturer that counts Japan Airlines, Qantas and Air New Zealand among its clients.

“In Europe, they have emission charges that you have to pay when the airplanes are not green,” Smith said. “This is to increase airlines to buy greener airplanes, it’s the whole environment issue, and it will go all over the world,”

Indonesia, Smith said, had the potential to be Southeast Asia’s biggest market. On Monday, Bombardier plans to visit Jakarta in hopes of securing new clients. “Indonesia’s economy is beginning to move,” said David Dixon, Bombardier’s vice president of sales for the Asia-Pacific region.

But air show attendants from Indonesia were looking for airlines to provide clear facts about the impact they were having on the environment.

“I personally care about environmental issues,” said Lina Purba, the director of Total Biz, an Indonesian aviation services company. “But there is no information about what makes an airplane green for the public or which local airplanes are environmental friendly.”

When Lina chooses a flight, she doesn’t book her ticket based on biofuels or a more environmentally friendly airline, but she strongly suggests that the general public be given more information about what airlines are doing to protect the environment.

Most Indonesians are generally more focused on finding the cheapest ticket, not environmental issues said Mahmudin Angkasa, who works for an aviation contracting and supply firm in Indonesia.

“For me, safety is the most important factor,” said Mahmudin, referring to rash of plane crashes Indonesia has experienced due to old and outdated planes being put in the air without taking the proper safety precautions.

Mahmudin doesn’t think that the local aviation business is ready to pay attention to the environment, but said any focus Indonesia puts on the issue is an improvement.

“At least, now the government has started to certify and try to maintain the airplanes,” he said.

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