Taiwanese drugs In Indonesia

Taiwanese drugs In Indonesia

05/14/08 13:39
Indonesian customs detain two Taiwanese for carrying drugs

Tangerang (ANTARA News) - Customs and Excise officers at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Tangerang, Banten Province, have detained two Taiwanese for trying to smuggle in 4.782 kg of crystal methamphetamine and 400 grams of Ketamine tied to their thighs.

The two Taiwanese were identified as Cpc (39) and Cks (50), Eko Darmanto of the airport`s customs and excise office said here on Wednesday.

They arrived on separate Viva Macao flights.

Freedom and The Right of Return of Palestinians

Middle East observer, Amien Rais, speaks with Rabbi Ahron Cohen (right) and Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss (center) at the sidelines of an international seminar on the Freedom and The Right of Return of Palestinians at the University of Indonesia in Depok, West Java (5/14). Rabbi Cohen dan Weiss are the activists and the spokesman for Neturei Karta International who don`t approve the creation of the state of Israel. (ANTARA/Firtra/kim)

No Politics in Investment Please: Go To Hell Temasek!!

No Politics in Investment Please: Go To Hell Temasek!!

05/13/08 15:45
Temasek to challenge Jakarta court`s verdict

By Andi Abdussalam

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Singapore`s state-owned investment firm Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd is planning to file an appeal with Indonesia`s Supreme Court after its objections against the country`s anti-trust body ruling that it had violated Indonesia`s anti-monopoly law were rejected by the Central Jakarta District Court last week.

Temasek had previously filed an appeal with the Central Jakarta district court over a ruling in November last year by the Business Competition Supervisory Committee (KPPU) that it and its subsidiaries had violated Indonesia`s anti-monopoly law, particularly the law`s articles on cross-ownership.

Lukas, a lawyer for Singapore Technologies Telemedia (STT), one of Temasek`c subsidiaries, said his client would appeal the Central Jakarta district`s verdict, which he said was far from being just and had weakened legal certainty for investment, particularly foreign investment, in Indonesia.

"The verdict is not in line with the basis of cooperation in the protection of investors who have been invited by the Indonesian government," he said.

Lukas said there was a very basic problem as there was no proof that his client controlled majority stakes in Indonesia`s Telkomsel and Indosat. This was clearly stated in the notarial deeds on the Singaporean companies participation in the Indonesian firms.

"The charges against STT must fulfill two aspects, namely control of the majority stake and occupying a dominant position in the market, before STT can be declared a violator of Article 27, Law No. 5/1999," he said.

The Central Jakarta District Court found on Friday last week that Temasek had violated Article 27 of Law No. 5/1999 on Monopolistic and Unsound Business Competition Practices.

"Temasek Holdings violated Article 27 point (1), Law No. 5/1999," Presiding Judge Andriani Nurdin said.

The court ordered the Singaporean state-owned investment firm to sell or reduce its stakes in the two Indonesian mobile-phone-service providers, Telkomsel and Indosat, bringing forward a deadline.

The court also fined Temasek, Telkomsel, Indosat and each of its subsidiaries Rp15 billion (US$1.6 million) and gave Temasek a choice of relinquishing at least 50 percent of its shares in both Telkomsel and Indosat or letting go of all shares in either company within a year.

The KPPU in November last year found Temasek Holdings guilty of cross-ownership in the two domestic mobile telecommunication companies leading it to abuse its dominant position in the market and to practice monopoly.

The business competition law bars a company from having a controlling stake in another company in the same business sector with a market share of 50 percent or more.

The KPPU said last year Temasek had to let go all indirect shares either in PT Telkomsel or in PT Indosat, and to pay a fine of Rp25 billion for breaching the anti-monopoly law.

Temasek owns a 54.15 percent stake in SingTel Group which holds a 35 percent stake in Telkomsel, while Singapore Technologies Telemedia (STT) which is wholly owned by Temasek controls 75 percent of Asia Mobile Holdings which in turn has a 41.9 stake in Indosat.

The largest market shareholder in Telkomsel was found guilty of violating article 17 of the law, particularly of abusing its dominant power to determine the interconnection tariffs among operators.

The Central Jakarta District Court`s ruling last week was welcomed by the KPPU. Litigation Affairs chief of the KPPU Muhammad Reza said his side was satisfied with the court ruling.

"We are satisfied with the court`s verdict," he said.

In the meantime, Temasek`s subsidiary SingTel said it was disappointed by the court`s verdict to reject Temasek`s appeal.

"SingTel is deeply disappointed with the Central Jakarta District Court`s ruling to uphold the KPPU decision. The court`s ruling is without any basis and we object strongly to it. SingTel and SingTel Mobile do not own majority shares in any Indonesian company. Further, neither SingTel Mobile nor SingTel controls Telkomsel. Telkomsel is majority-owned and controlled by PT Telkom," SingTel said in a statement on Friday.

"The facts are Temasek has no shares in Indosat and Telkomsel, and plays no role in their business decisions and operations,` Temasek managing director for strategic relations Goh Yong Siang was quoted as saying by the Strait Times in its website.

According to KPPU chairman Syamsul Maarif, consumers had suffered a loss of between Rp14 trillion and Rp31 trillion over the past three years due to the high cellular phone tariffs determined by the two cellular phone service providers.

"The cellular phone tariff is 40 percent higher than that in neighboring countries," Maarif told MetroTV in a dialog on The Economic Challenge on Monday evening.

But Goh said both Telkomsel and Indosat were regulated businesses, operating within the guidelines of the Indonesian Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (BRTI).

Therefore, Temask would file an appeal with the Supreme Court as soon as possible, he said, adding the Central Jakarta District Court had ignored the government`s decision to privatize Indosat.

"The divestment in Indosat was done at the government`s request because it needed revenue. The court should have respected the government," Temasek lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post.

Pro-Con Attitude to Nuclear Power Plant Continues

Pro-Con Attitude to Nuclear Power Plant Continues

Thursday, 08 May, 2008 | 16:01 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The State Minister for Research and Technology Kusmayanto Kadiman agrees with the argument for the establishment nuclear power plant in Indonesia as it can be a lesson for the public. “So there will be no accusation from one party to another,” he said in a discussion at the National Atomic Energy Agency yesterday.

He emphasized that any decision is a good one either from the pro or con side. “We will choose someone to study nuclear.” The idea for having a nuclear power plant has emerged since the era of former President Soekarno. Neighboring countries like Australia, Malaysia, and Vietnam have established nuclear power plants. So, the consideration of nuclear power’s negative impact should include these countries. “As it will impact us,” Kusmayanto said.

Global Inter-media Dialog being held in Bali

Global Inter-media Dialog being held in Bali

05/07/08 10:36

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - About 100 editors and journalists from all over the world have been invited to the third Global Inter-Media Dialog, which takes place in Bali, from 7 to 8 May 2008, according to the official website of the Global Inter-Media Dialog.

The theme for this years conference is Ethical Journalism in Extreme Conditions: The Challenge of Diversity. The key note address will be Dealing with Changing Media Landscape.

There will be panel discussions about Covering Conflict, Reporting Minorities and Challenges in Reporting Global Issues. The last question will be dealt with in parallel sessions about for example War on Terror and Inconvenient Truths: Climate Change, Natural Disasters and Poverty.

Indonesian and Norwegian editors, journalists and representatives from international NGOs met in Oslo February 4 and 5 to plan the third Global Inter-Media Dialog. The planning session resulted in a preliminary program and a list of suggested names for each of the sessions.

The first Global Inter-Media Dialog was initiated by the Indonesian president and the Norwegian prime minister after the first cartoon controversy in 2006. Last year the participants met in Norway.

The American Inquisition

The American Inquisition

Through the mist of time, the Spanish Inquisition has come down to us as one of the most barbarous periods in all of history. Its viciousness peaked in the late 15th century, during the reign of the messianic "Catholic kings," Ferdinand and Isabella.

Paranoia gripped Spanish society as the Inquisition coincided with a Christian war against the Muslims of southern Spain. Clandestine trials, secret prisons, rampant eavesdropping, torture, desecration of Islam's holy books, and gruesome public executions created an atmosphere of pervasive terror. Suspects were assumed to be guilty, with no recourse to a defense, to a jury, or to a legitimate court.

In the chaos now roiling the Western world, does any of this sound familiar?

It is time to ask whether the United States, with some of these same touchstones, is entering a period of its own peculiar Inquisition. Of course, there are no burning places for heretics in America now. No Tomás de Torquemada presides over this period of internal anxiety and investigation.

But the word, inquisition, is not exclusive to Spain in the Middle Ages. It is a useful term for historians to characterize phases of history that are distinguished by religious intolerance, by Christian holy war and Islamic jihad, by racial profiling and xenophobia, by show trials, and by snooping of secret police.

Paranoia abounds

This country, too, is seized with collective paranoia. President Bush knows, as Ferdinand, Isabella and Torquemada knew, that constant warnings about secret terrorists are a powerful deterrent to dissent and a useful tool for consolidating political power.

Bush, like his Spanish precursors, presses for a unity of faith and a credo of purification. His faith mixes the secular and the spiritual. Its hallmarks are Jeffersonian democracy for all the world, unquestioning patriotism and revitalized Christianity. Unbelievers in this holy trinity are to be ferreted out. Not to subscribe to the methods in the war on terrorism is not so much dissent as heresy.

The American Inquisition began on Sept. 16, 2001, five days after the monstrous attack, when Bush proclaimed his "crusade." That was the defining moment for this era of U.S. history.

In the years since, Bush has demonstrated all the passion and single-mindedness of King Ferdinand. The American secret police force is not called the Holy Brotherhood as it was in 1492, for today's brotherhood is more electronic than human. On Capitol Hill, Cabinet members, past and present, call search warrants obsolete. Beware. We are all "mined" for our "data."

How different is this really from the spying that went on in the Spanish Inquisition? Suspect words or acts do not change that much with time. In Inquisitional Spain, neighbors were supposed to report a suspicious neighbor to the Holy Office. Now, symbolic words or actions are detected electronically.

In the past few months, Americans have been treated to the extraordinary spectacle of a U.S. president arguing for torture in the lofty staterooms of the U.S. government. Memos float around his Department of Defense, stressing that U.S. interrogators should cease their persecution if their victims come close to "organ failure." The world wants to know what is going on in the star chambers of secret U.S. prisons around the world. The U.S. administration scoffs. The Geneva Conventions are called quaint, and the court in The Hague, Netherlands, cannot touch us. Standards for war crimes and crimes against humanity are for non-Americans.

Forms of torture

For the historian, symbolic acts such as torture often define an era, and the American brand of torture has a particularly medieval quality. "Waterboarding," as it is called (as if it were a sport like surfboarding or skateboarding), uses cellophane instead of gauze with water to subject the suspect to near drowning and suffocation. So today this is called an "enhanced" technique of interrogation. But the pitcher and gauze were just as effective in the 15th century. The intent is really no different from that of Torquemada's interrogators: to make the subject talk even though that talk might be drivel.

It is not surprising that a leader, who believes that his Christian God chose him to be president at this moment in history and that his Almighty speaks directly to him, should preside over this American Inquisition. Bush's messianic bent came to light vividly in June 2003, when he announced that his God had inspired him to go fight those terrorists and to end the tyranny in Iraq. What, one wonders, is his God telling him now about the chaos?

This supposed pipeline to heaven is, of course, not new for kings and potentates. On his deathbed in 1516, King Ferdinand told his minions that he could not die yet: God had told him that he would move on from the conquest of Granada to lead a great crusade that would recapture Jerusalem. The messianic impulse is commonplace in history.

Now, we are just a few years into the Iraq era. The situation is getting worse, and there is no end in sight. When this nightmare ends, years of self-examination are sure to follow as happened after the Vietnam disaster. The Iraq syndrome will be lengthy. In the meantime, American Inquisition takes root. It is more hard-edged and mean-spirited than the Vietnam crackdown ... for one reason.

Though Bush's explanations for his wayward adventure may constantly change, though the enterprise may show itself to be a military and moral catastrophe of historic proportions, this American leader and his circle of illuminati are utterly convinced of their righteousness. Toward their detractors they misappropriate, like inquisitors before them, the verse of John 15:6:

"If any abide not in me, he should be cast forth as a branch and shall wither, and they shall gather him up and cast him into the fire, and he shall burn."

James Reston Jr. is the author ofDogs of God: Columbus, the Inquisition, and the Defeat of the Moors.