An employee walking along a thermal pipe at the Kamojang geothermal
power plant near Garut, West Java, on March 18. State utility provider
 Perusahaan Listrik Negara is targeting an additional 135 megawatts of
electricity from three new geothermal plants. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,.. etc.)
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - (Text version)

“.. Nuclear Power Revealed

So let me tell you what else they did. They just showed you what's wrong with nuclear power. "Safe to the maximum," they said. "Our devices are strong and cannot fail." But they did. They are no match for Gaia.

It seems that for more than 20 years, every single time we sit in the chair and speak of electric power, we tell you that hundreds of thousands of tons of push/pull energy on a regular schedule is available to you. It is moon-driven, forever. It can make all of the electricity for all of the cities on your planet, no matter how much you use. There's no environmental impact at all. Use the power of the tides, the oceans, the waves in clever ways. Use them in a bigger way than any designer has ever put together yet, to power your cities. The largest cities on your planet are on the coasts, and that's where the power source is. Hydro is the answer. It's not dangerous. You've ignored it because it seems harder to engineer and it's not in a controlled environment. Yet, you've chosen to build one of the most complex and dangerous steam engines on Earth - nuclear power.

We also have indicated that all you have to do is dig down deep enough and the planet will give you heat. It's right below the surface, not too far away all the time. You'll have a Gaia steam engine that way, too. There's no danger at all and you don't have to dig that far. All you have to do is heat fluid, and there are some fluids that boil far faster than water. So we say it again and again. Maybe this will show you what's wrong with what you've been doing, and this will turn the attitudes of your science to create something so beautiful and so powerful for your grandchildren. Why do you think you were given the moon? Now you know.

This benevolent Universe gave you an astral body that allows the waters in your ocean to push and pull and push on the most regular schedule of anything you know of. Yet there you sit enjoying just looking at it instead of using it. It could be enormous, free energy forever, ready to be converted when you design the methods of capturing it. It's time. …”

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Energy efficiency a great New Year's resolution

Zenin Adrian, Contributor The Jakarta Post

For those who do not have a New Year's resolution yet, may I propose a good one?

The recent UNCC conference in Bali highlighted global warming as an important problem which requires a global effort. Although the agreement the conference reached did not satisfy all parties, the impact is still real and it takes each one of us to start making a difference.

Buildings are a good place to start. According to a report by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council) and IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the buildings sector consumes 40% of the world's energy and material and accounts for 30% of carbon dioxide emissions.

Measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings fall into three categories: (i) reducing energy consumption in buildings; (ii) switching to low-carbon fuels, including a higher portion of renewable energy; or (iii) controlling the emissions of non-CO2 greenhouse gases.

The first method, energy efficiency, has become the primary focus.

In the complete life cycle of a building, starting from preconstruction, construction and operation to demolition, energy consumption can be split into two categories: (i) embodied energy and (ii) operating energy.

For typical standards of building construction, embodied energy is equivalent to only a few years of operating energy. Thus, over a 50 year time span, reducing the operating energy is normally more important than reducing the embodied energy.

Occupant behavior, culture, consumer choice and use of technology are major determinants of building emissions.

Generally, for hot countries, especially Indonesia, the main agent in energy efficiency is reducing the lighting and cooling load.

There are many strategies that can be applied, including changing behavior, increasing the efficiency of appliances, using a high-performance building skin, tapping into alternative energy sources, and using an integrated design process.

The simplest way to change our behavior is adjusting our notions of comfort. This means that we need to stop pretending that we are in a cold climate where we can use our winter clothing.

Raising the thermostat to 24-25 degrees Celsius is generally acceptable to most people and requires less electricity than setting it at 15-17 degrees Celsius.

At home, the next step is reducing our reliance on air conditioning. You can start using the timer and set it in accordance with your daily routine.

Consider using air conditioning only in the first two or three hours of sleep, then setting the unit to increase the temperature slightly each hour.

Lighting loads can be reduced with natural day lighting as well as combining ambient (general lighting) and task lighting. Maximize your use of day lighting by organizing the interior furniture based on daily activities and arranging it so you can get the most natural lights from the windows.

Ambient lights are grouped into zones corresponding to natural light, so you can switch on the lights depending on the amount of natural light penetration in the room.

Blinds, louvers, or curtains are conventional devices used to control daylight. Controlling daylight reduces not only the lighting load, but the cooling load. For commercial or apartment buildings, retrofitting with shading devices and light shelves can increase the efficiency of both lighting and cooling.

Ideally, energy efficiency measures should be included starting from the design stage through an integrated design process, in which building performance is optimized by involving all members of the design team from the beginning.

However, the fragmentation of the building industry and the design process into professions, trades, work stages and industries has become a barrier to this approach.

Retrofitting existing, inefficient buildings, most of which will still be here for the next 20 to 50 years, is key to energy efficiency efforts.

Cost-effective measures can be undertaken without major renovations. These include improving the building envelope and replacing inefficient boilers, water heaters, air conditioning and lighting. This can dramatically affect emissions.

Thus, we can achieve substantial reductions in emissions from energy use in buildings over the coming years using mature technologies that already exist and have been widely used.

Changing our energy consumption can play a key role in achieving greenhouse gas goals, and would be a great New Year's resolution for all of us.

So, before going to sleep tonight, turn off the lights and start using your air conditioner's timer function. Happy New Year!

Zenin Adrian has a website and can be reached at

Saturday, December 29, 2007

PLN extends network to Thousand Islands

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Some residences of Thousand Islands regency will soon enjoy a spark of light at a cheaper price, as state-owned electricity company PLN will extend its service there through an undersea network next month.

"The electricity network, built by PLN, will start working by mid-January," Regent Djoko Ramadhan told a press conference Friday.

He said residents had been using fuel-powered generators to light their houses and consequently the regency administration had to allocate at least Rp 45 billion (US$4.78 million) yearly for generator maintenance and fuel subsidy.

"That spending covers only electricity needs for houses, not including resorts," he said.

"The cost for the infrastructure development of the planned electricity network is quite cheap, as we need only Rp 240 billion in investment for a system that will last 30 years."

Djoko said the network would also provide more convenience to residences as it would distribute electricity "with constant voltage over 24 hours".

In 2007, Thousand Islands regency had a population of 19,835 people residing on 11 of a total 342 islands.

Djoko said in the first phase of development three to four megawatts (MW) of electricity would be distributed from PLN's powerhouse at Tanjung Pasir in Tangerang, Banten, to residences of South Thousand Islands district.

Islands in the network include Untung Jawa Island, Pari Islands, Lancang Islands, Payung Islands and Tidung Islands, he said.

He said the administration, in cooperation with PLN, would expand the undersea network north in 2008 to cover North Thousand Islands district.

Djoko said the administration was also planning to raise power supply in the regency to more than 30 MW by building a combined-cycle power plant in Damar Island that would be able to generate up to 450 MW in 2009.

The project for the future power plant, he said, would involve investors PLN and city-owned property company PT Jakarta Propertindo.

"We have finished the feasibility studies for the project and are stepping forward to the next level: carrying out the environmental impact analysis," said Djoko.

Huge power capacity, he said, would be necessary to meet residential electricity demand and to help spur a tourism sector that had been sluggish due to a number of problems, including electricity shortages.

"With such an adequate supply, resorts will be back on their feet again and the tourism sector will recover," said Djoko.

The capacity of the future power plant will also be used for operations of a planned airport.

The regency administration is constructing an airport on Panjang Island -- two to three kilometers away from the regency's resort islands.

The Rp 140 billion airport project, which is 60 percent complete, is expected to be operational in 2009.

"We will install the airport's communication system next year and it will be integrated with that of Soekarno-Hatta International airport," said Djoko.

Internet charges may drop by half in 4 years

Andi Haswidi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The telecommunications regulatory body is preparing a number of policies in order to gradually lower Internet charges, currently among the highest in the world, by 50 percent within four years.

"Compared to other countries, our Internet connection charges are too high. We have studied what causes this, and have also responded through various policies and initiatives," Indonesian Telecommunications Regulatory Board (BRTI) spokesperson Heru Sutadi told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

According to the latest figures from the International Telecommunications Union, Indonesia is 47th in the world in terms of lowest Internet tariffs, with the average charge in Indonesia being US$5.07 per 100 kilobytes per second on a direct connection to an Internet service provider, or what is also known as a leased line.

The is far more expensive than other countries in the region, such as Singapore, in 18th place on $1.59, Thailand, in 24th on $2.38, Malaysia, in 28th on $2.57, and Vietnam, in 40th on $3.69.

Meanwhile, the three cheapest countries are Japan in first place on $0.007, South Korea in second on 0.008 and Taiwan and China in joint third, both on $0.18 each.

Heru said that under the new Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure road map, the government hoped to reduce broadband charges by more than half to about $2.40 per 100 kilobytes per second by 2011.

The most significant step on the road to lower charges, he said, would be a review of the regulations on the determining of fixed-line charges.

"The existing price formula, which was introduced in 1998, is no longer suitable for current conditions. We will reevaluate this so as to produce connections that are approximately 40 percent cheaper," he said.

The reason behind the current high charges, he said, was the lack of competition for connection to the international backbone between dominant players such as PT Telkom and PT Indosat.

"The dominant players in the market were able to set pricing as they pleased. Now, we have issued licenses to new players so as to encourage more competition," he said.

Another step designed to expand the supply of network connections, he said, was the Palapa Ring project, which aimed to link the entire archipelago with a fiberoptic network that would serve as the national backbone not only for voice services but also for the Internet.

Earlier in November, BRTI reported that internet penetration in Indonesia amounted to only 9.1 percent of the total population, giving about 20 million active users, 70 percent of whom are located in Greater Jakarta. The country also had some 7,602 Internet kiosks.

The current cost of fiberoptics has declined from Rp 5 million (about $538) per two kilometers previously to Rp 3 million. That too will lower costs and help speed up network expansion," Heru said.

Aside from introducing new regulations and holding tenders for the development of the network, the government also plans to make a number of technical improvements next year, including better Internet protocol (IP) address and Internet exchange (IX) management, improved domain-name service administration, and migration from IP version 4 to IP version 6.

Govt may limit licenses for cellular operators

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government may limit the number of licenses issued to cellular operators wanting to enter the country's telecommunications market, citing fierce competition in the industry that has led to "panic and excessive marketing efforts".

Director general of post and telecommunications at the Information and Communications Ministry, Basuki Yusuf Iskandar, told reporters here Friday that he believed the country had "enough" cellular operators and that the government needed to issue some regulations to control the competition among them.

"We've seen exceedingly fierce competition (in the telecommunications industry). This has caused a kind of panic among operators, which has led to excessive marketing efforts, price wars and so on," said Basuki.

"If the cellular operators spend most of their money to beat competitors in such a way, what will be left for the customers then?"

He added that with the excessive marketing efforts, the telecommunications industry had surpassed the cigarette industry as the country's top advertising spender.

Basuki said the government planned to draft and issue some regulations to control competition in the telecommunication industry.

The government's main focuses will be predatory pricing practices, with some operators daring to offer services with "zero fees", he said.

Basuki expressed concerns about the practice, which he said could lead to the collapses of small-scale cellular operators.

"I see a tendency toward excessive price wars. If that continues to occur, only the big operators will survive and that can mean a monopoly in the end. Predatory pricing is a very dangerous practice and we need to make regulations on it immediately."

Another thing requiring regulation, said Basuki, was the trend toward premium SMS, for which higher than normal rates are charged.

He said the premium SMS offers could be misleading, and that the government was currently formulating a draft of a ministerial regulation on the service that was expected to be completed next year.

Regarding the advertising war in the telecommunications industry, Basuki said it was still within acceptable limits, but the government would continue monitoring developments.

He also said the interconnection cost between operators would drop significantly next year, but refused to mention any figure. The drop is expected to drive a decrease in retail prices.

The country's telecommunications industry now consists of 11 cellular operators.

Padjadjaran University found in a study carried out between April and July that all operators had reduced their charges between 2002 and 2007. But these reductions were modest, with XL cutting rates for calls to other networks by 20.59 percent, Indosat by 8.56 percent and Telkomsel by 2.52 percent during that period.

A spokesman for the Indonesian Telecommunications Regulatory Body, Heru Sutadi, said earlier last month that call rates in Indonesia were the second highest in the Asia Pacific region due to the variable interconnection costs for calls between operators.

As for text message charges, he said while the actual interconnection cost was only Rp 75 (0.8 U.S. cents) per message, some operators were charging as much as Rp 350. (wda)

Friday, December 28, 2007

More low-cost housing planned

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government is currently drawing up plans to provide more of the country's low-income families with affordable housing.

The new scheme will enable low-income families to obtain low-cost apartments, with down payments and interest on loans to be partly paid by the government.

"The scheme is being developed to help people who would otherwise have problems paying the down payment on a house," Tito Murbaintoro, the assistant to the deputy public housing minister for housing financing, told Antara on Tuesday.

The government will cover down payments, ranging from between Rp 5 and 7 million (US$530 and $745), depending on each family's financial situation.

As part of the scheme, the government will also cover interest payments of between 7 and 9.5 percent for the first four to eight years.

A 2007 public housing ministerial decree stipulates the subsidy amount to be paid to each family in accordance with their household income.

A person with a monthly income of between Rp 3.5 to Rp 4.5 million will receive a subsidy of Rp 5 million for the down payment on a house, while those earning Rp 2.5 to Rp 3.5 million per month will receive Rp 6 million. Those who earn between Rp 1.2 and Rp 2.5 million per month will receive Rp 7 million under the scheme.

Tito said the proposed scheme, which is currently being discussed with the Finance Ministry, was expected to be implemented next year in line with the government's vision to provide affordable housing to low-income families.

Potential buyers will be encouraged to rent their apartments first before applying for ownership.

"They will be allowed to rent the apartments for up to five years. Then they will be expected to buy them through credit facilities provided," Tito said.

The government's renewed commitment to providing affordable housing for low-income families was announced by Vice President Jusuf Kalla last month.

"The government will not suffer losses by providing these subsidies. The more we develop houses, the more the national economy will grow and the more income tax the nation will receive," he said.

The government has allocated Rp 800 billion for low-cost housing in the 2008 budget, a 160 percent increase from 2007's figure of Rp 300 billion.

The subsidies in 2008 are designed to help low-income families purchase either low-cost apartments or modest houses.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Balinese houses popular abroad

DENPASAR (Jakarta Post) : The export of Balinese-style quake-resistance homes recorded US$5.8 million in sales between January and October this year, a sharp 446 percent increase from $1 million over the same period last year.

Bali's Trade and Industry Office said the exports also recorded a sharp increase in volume, from 356 units to 30,667.

"Who would have expected knock-down houses to become a such a hot item for export to European countries, the U.S. and Australia?" said Made Suma, a marketer of Balinese-style homes in Denpasar.

He attributed the high sales to the wooden house's unique character and easy set-up, as well as by the word-of-mouth promotion from tourists and various exhibitions.

The house is among the exhibits on display at the one-month-long Bali Art Festival in Denpasar Cultural Park, in the heart of Bali's capital city.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Indonesia`s tsunami reconstruction chief lauds progress

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - When Kuntoro Mangkusubroto dashed in to lead reconstruction of Indonesia's Aceh in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, it was with little immediate help from his own government.

Despite leading an organisation set up by presidential decree in May 2005, Mangkusubroto was forced to go cap in hand to Australia's aid agency for the money to fly his team out to the flattened provincial capital of Banda Aceh.

"We were so grateful to the Australians, but at the same time it was very shameful," Mangkusubroto told AFP in an interview at the modern Jakarta office of the Aceh-Nias reconstruction agency, known as BRR.

A former academic and one-time energy minister, Mangkusubroto has never shied away from robust criticism of his government.

With 168,000 dead in Aceh, and the added disaster of a massive earthquake on desperately poor Nias island, the grinding pace of Indonesia's bureaucracy was always going to hinder the channelling of billions of dollars of foreign aid.

A generation-long separatist war and an entrenched culture of what he calls "pathological" corruption throughout the Indonesian state were not going to help either.

And so it was with an obvious sense of satisfaction that Mangkusubroto ticked off his organisation's list of successes recently, three years after the December 26 tragedy, one of the worst natural disasters in modern history.

Of the BRR's target to build 120,000 new houses, Mangkusubroto said more than 100,000 have been completed and the remaining homes will be finished by April 2008, three months ahead of schedule.

A project to train teachers to replace the 2,500 who died in 2004 has seen startling success, with more than 20,000 trained. However, less than half the 2,000 schools planned have been built so far.

As of October, the BRR has overseen the building of 216 bridges, more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) of roads, 17 sea ports and 10 airports and air strips.

The key to BRR's success has been its full authority over reconstruction -- a fact bitterly resisted at the start by others in the Indonesian government, Mangkusubroto said.

"We didn't have that kind of organisation before in Indonesia," he said.

"We would have to explain this to Jakarta people, that this organisation has full authority, so don't try to block us."

This approach often irritated several ministers who could see their own power eroding, who would often shoot back with responses such as "Okay, Aceh is yours, Indonesia is mine," Mangkusubroto recounted.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Govt approves Adhi Karya's rights issue plan

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government has approved the plan of state-owned construction firm PT Adhi Karya to launch a rights issue and will propose it to the House of Representatives in early 2008.

"The government's privatization committee has agreed on the plan, and we will determine the time of the rights issue after the House approves the plan," State Minister for State Enterprises Sofyan Djalil was quoted as saying by news portal Wednesday.

He said the government, as the controlling stakeholder, was still considering whether it would use its rights to buy the shares.

"We can't tell you now, but the point is that we have agreed on Adhi Karya's rights issue so that the company can further develop its business," Sofyan said.

Adhi Karya president director Saiful Imam has said that his company actually had planned to conduct the rights issue this year, but had delayed it as the government did not endorse the plan at the time.

He said that the company had not decided how many new shares to issue, but it was planning to raise around Rp 600 billion (US$ 63 million).

"The rights share may account for 15-20 percent of the company's total shares," Saiful said. "But the number of the rights shares to be issued may be lower than that if the price is high."

The company is expecting to increase its net profit by 41.7 percent from an estimated Rp 120.1 billion this year to Rp 170.2 billion in 2008.

It is targeting next year to finish projects worth Rp 13.76 trillion, including Rp 8 trillion for new projects and Rp 5.76 trillion for on-going projects. (ndr)

France donates center to manage natural disasters

Syofiardi Bachyul Jb, The Jakarta Post, Padang

The French government on Tuesday donated a natural disaster crisis center to the West Sumatra provincial administration, Paul Delavenne of the French Embassy to Indonesia said.

Delavenne is civipol program director and he handed the center to the secretary of the West Sumatra provincial administration, Yohannes Dahlan.

It was the fourth batch of aid provided to Indonesia from France, with a total of 5.1 million Euro pledged since July, 2005.

France has also provided aid to the National Disaster Mitigation Coordination Board, Jakarta's provincial administration and Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam provincial administration.

Delavenne said the aid could be used by the Indonesian government to develop its disaster management programs.

"We do hope we can help develop other regions in Indonesia as well," he Delavenne said.

He said his government selected Bakornas and the three provinces because these regions were seriously affected by natural disasters, especially tsunamis.

Delavenne's government has provided rescue equipment and disaster management training courses to Indonesian rescue teams.

"We are very happy the three regions have accepted and supported this program well," he said.

France has allocated Rp 7 billion to establish the crisis center in West Sumatra, which would be equipped with effective tools to support the administration in better managing disasters.

"The modern tools will be useless if they are not supported by skilled persons," Delavenne said.

"That's why we hope the government will choose the right men or a special board to operate them."

The crisis center uses a computerized system to provide accurate information on natural disasters. In case of a quake or tsunami, the system would remain operational because it uses multi-layered back-up system, Delavenne said.

Information is collected from the internet and a free-of-charge telephone link.

The computerized system has two back-up modes. The first back-up system uses a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) link, before a third and final system is relied on, which uses a satellite facility.

Yohannes Dahlan thanked the French government for the provision of funds and for the "modern and useful equipment for his region".

He said the administration would operate the facility as effectively as possible for the sake of all residents.

Yohannes also said he would establish an effective cooperation with related institutions, including local police and disaster management offices.

Pluit squatters to be evicted

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post): In an effort to prevent floods in Jakarta, the city administration plans to evict thousands of squatters from around the Pluit Dam next year.

"We will clear illegal housing from around the dam next year as the squatters are occupying one of Jakarta's water catchment areas," Economy Bureau development assistant Nurfakih Wirawan said Monday.

The Pluit Dam has shrunk in size significantly in recent years.

"We hope the squatters understand that the evictions are for their own good," Nurfakih said, without mentioning plans for their future resettlement.

It is estimated between 7,000 and 8,000 families live in the area.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Mandiri set to boost micro loans

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Bank Mandiri, the country's largest bank, plans to boost its lending to micro businesses by opening up to 300 more micro units next year to add to the existing 311.

"Micro businesses are very important in Indonesia as they provide employment. That's why we have to support them," said micro and retail banking director Budi Gunadi Sadikin on Wednesday.

He said that of the 300 new micro units, 104 would be in Jakarta, 60 in Sumatra, 25 in West Java, 24 in Central Java and Yogyakarta, 30 in East Java, 12 in Bali, 20 in Kalimantan and 25 in Sulawesi and Papua.

According to the central bank, loans of up to Rp 50 million (around US$5,300) are categorized as micro, from Rp 50 million to Rp 500 million as small and from Rp 500 million to Rp 5 billion as medium.

Budi said Mandiri commenced lending to micro, small and medium enterprises in 2005.

"We want to see more entrepreneurs establishing micro businesses. Unfortunately, Indonesian youth has a lack of role models in the entrepreneurship arena," he said in a discussion on the development of micro, small and medium enterprises.

Mandiri's lending to micro business during the first nine months of this year amounted to only Rp 1.12 trillion, less than 1 percent of its total loan book of Rp 121.7 trillion.

Still, it reflects an increase of 4 percent from last year's Rp 982 billion.

In addition to providing more loans to micro businesses, Mandiri is also stepping up its efforts to boost its housing loan portfolio, taking advantage of rising demand on the back of declining interest rates.

Also on Wednesday, Mandiri signed an agreement with top developer PT Lippo Cikarang.

Under the partnership agreement, every buyer of a home or shophouse in Lippo Cikarang that has been purchased with a loan from Mandiri will get a fixed 7.77 percent interest rate during the first two years.

"We are offering loans ranging from Rp 25 million to Rp 5 billion for customers who use Bank Mandiri's housing loan scheme," said the bank's director for consumer finance, Omar S. Anwar.

Meanwhile, PT Excelcomindo Pratama, Indonesia's third-biggest mobile-phone operator, said it had received a Rp 4 trillion ($424 million) loan from Bank Mandiri to expand its network.

The funds will be used to build transmission towers and fiber optic cabling, President Director Hasnul Suhaimi told Bloomberg.

It will be repaid in five years, the telecoms company said in an e-mailed statement.

Excelcomindo, controlled by Telekom Malaysia Bhd., is building networks outside the main island of Java to win more customers and counter falling prices. The company, also known as Excelcom, obtained shareholders' approval in November to raise $950 million by selling bonds or borrowing.

"We'll probably seek a syndicated loan as well as issuing bonds next year" to refinance the debt, Suhaimi said. He didn't elaborate.

The Jakarta-based company had 12.8 million subscribers as of Sept. 30. PT Telekomunikasi Selular is Indonesia's largest wireless operator, followed by PT Indosat and Excelcom.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Water bodies not performing: Report

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

One-hundred-and-sixty local-government water firms (PDAM) in Indonesia, or about 75 percent of the 223 audited by the Development Finance Controller (BPKP), performed poorly this year.

The BPKP says in a report that the firms suffered total losses of Rp 1.2 trillion (around US$138 million) from water leakage, while some of them had difficulties in repaying their debts, which cumulatively stood at Rp 5.6 trillion as of the end of 2006.

The report said that water loss this year, as in other years, was the result of broken meters, leaking pipes, maladministration, illegal connections and the absence of central distribution meters.

Besides the 223 firms that were audited, the country has another 165 local-government water companies that were excluded from the BPKP audit.

Godman Ambarita, the executive director of the Indonesian Water Supply Association (Perpamsi), which represents local-government water firms, told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday that water leakage from all of the country's public-sector water companies averaged 35 percent of total production.

Godman said that of the country's 388 water companies, only 30 of them, or 10 percent, made profits amounting to 20 percent of their cash flows, while total borrowings were estimated at around Rp 6 trillion as of the end of 2007.

Godman said that in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), Perpamsi had organized workshops and training events with support from the World Bank to help improve water supplies and management.

"As part of the effort to increase water supplies, we held a workshop on asset management to reduce water leakage by 20 percent by 2015," he said.

Meanwhile, to improve the performance of companies, Godman said the association planned to encourage the merger of firms operating in the same administrative regions, such as in Banten province.

He added that the preparations for the merger of water firms in Banten, which commenced in 2005 in cooperation with VNG International of the Netherlands, were expected to be finished next year. (nkn)

Transforming waste into energy at Suwung Garbage dump

Prodita Sabarini, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar

The foul smell of piling garbage at the largest landfill in Bali, the Suwung landfill, has been a source of disgust for the Balinese.

Thanks to technology, however, people on the island-province can now look forward to making use of their waste.

Home to household waste from four areas of Bali - Denpasar, Badung, Gianyar and Tabanan - the landfill receives as much as 800 tons of waste per day.

As two third of the waste is organic, it releases methane gas -- the source of the "foul smell" and is one of the greenhouse gasses that contributes to global warming - to the atmosphere.

The Bali administration, working with PT Navigat Organic Energy Indonesia (NOEI), set up an integrated waste management system at Suwung by building its first biogas plant.

The plant would capture methane gasses and turn it into energy in the form of electricity. The plant will also help rehabilitate the landfill site.

"By August 2008 the facility would be able to produce two megawatts for public use," PT NOEI spokesperson Bernt Bakken said Sunday.

The facility was launched by the Bali Governor Made Dewa Beratha on Dec. 13, sporting the momentum of the United Nations Climate Change Conference that ended on Dec. 15.

It is the first project in Bali carried out under the United Nation's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) -- a carbon trade scheme that enables a group of developed countries and countries in transition, which are binding for emission cuts to earn emission reduction credits by promoting sustainable development in developing countries.

Indonesia has 11 projects under the carbon trade scheme registered at the CDM executive board so far, with only two of them approved by the board.

The biogas plant project would reduce around 123,423 tons per year of the amount of methane gasses released to the atmosphere, cutting the greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming.

Bakken said from 2010, the facility would produce 10 Megawatts of electricity.

State Electricity Company (PLN) has signed an agreement to buy power from the biogas plant.

PT NOEI uses a Jenbacher machine, distributed by GE Energy. GE Energy country executive Gatot Prawiro said waste-to-energy conversion was a good solution to provide energy in areas that has no access to the national power grid.

Bali is still dependent on Java for power supply, with 130 Megawatts of the 439 Megawatts needed to power Bali comes from the Paiton Power Plant in East Java.

Unlicensed lodges on the rise at popular beaches

Prodita Sabarini, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar

The rocky beaches of Bali's southern coastline have long been a shared secret of surfers seeking the perfect break.

Dreamland, Bingin and Padang-Padang beaches near Bali's southernmost beach, Uluwatu, are like sugar to ants for surfers from around the world. Once the secret surf spots of just a few surfers, the beaches are now renowned worldwide, with regular surf competitions held there.

However, with rising fame comes rapid development, threatening the very source of the attraction to the area; the secluded pristine beaches.

The development of lodges without permits in Dreamland, Bingin and Padang-Padang began in the 1990s. With the exception of Dreamland, the construction of unlicensed lodges has increased with the rising popularity of the beaches.

Under Badung regency's spatial planning, Bingin and Padang-Padang are classified as limited areas; where construction is prohibited.

In Dreamland, officials are currently tearing down by-the-beach lodges and small shops as construction of a massive resort there continues.

Developers of the Pecatu Indah Resort this year continued the construction a golf course, condominium and marina complex on a 650-hectare Indian Ocean beachfront property.

The project, conceived by former president Soeharto's son, Hutomo Mandala Putra, began in 1997 but was stalled after the Asian financial crisis and the toppling of Soeharto.

Many warung and lodges -- mostly owned by locals -- that been evicted from the area and have migrated to the neighboring beach of Bingin.

Bingin beach, located under a cliff, has perfect waves for surfing. During the 1990s, locals started building small cottages on the sides of the cliff, with breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean.

This perfect spot has attracted other locals and foreigners to also set up cottages, resulting in dozens of unlicensed accommodation premises on both sides of the cliff and also on top of it.

During the months of March to June, the places are packed with surfers from around the world.

Although a number of construction projects are currently underway at Bingin, Badung Regency's Housing, Planning and Urban Development agency head Suwandi said his office had never released permits to build there.

"It's a limited area, meaning there should be zero construction there," he said.

Suwandi said Bingin and Padang-Padang were supporting areas in the South Kuta district.

"The steep cliffs there have been deemed unsafe to build on, with the possibility of a landslide," Suwandi said.

However, locals at Bingin refuse to admit the cottages were built without permits.

Gusti, who works at one of the cliff-side cottages, said all the cottages had received permits from the village heads.

"We pay monthly fees to the village leaders," he said.

Gusti said the land at Bingin was customary land owned by village heads.

"I do not know whether the village leaders forwarded the official paperwork to the regency administration or not," he said.

Gusti said the cottages were mostly rented by surfers.

"The cottages are also a source of income for the local people here. If they don't work at the cottages, they would have to work in their fields," he said.

Suwandi said the situation was a dilemma for the regency administration.

"The cottages have long been there and have fed the people. So, we need to be really careful about what action we take," he said.

"If it is a good place for tourism to be developed, we should develop it. But, with proper planning."

The regency administration, he said, had spoken to village leaders and is currently looking into whether it is possible to establish Bingin as a tourism location.

"We have yet to come to a final decision," Suwandi said.

Meanwhile, as officials conduct their research, laborers in Bingin are diligently working on a new cottage and gardeners are planting tropical plants at another; all in an area where construction is allegedly prohibited.

Buildings yet to be declared safe

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Eighty percent of about 700 buildings more than eight floors high in Jakarta are yet to receive mandatory safety clearances, an official said Tuesday.

"Many building management teams are unaware of the regulation concerning the safety and appropriateness certificate ... as the regulation is relatively new," head of the Building Order and Supervision Agency, Hari Sasongko, said.

A gubernatorial decree issued in 2000 stipulates that all buildings more than eight floors high must have the clearance to ensure the safety of occupants.

However, the decree does not specify any sanctions to be handed down to those in violation of the law.

Hari said all building management teams should enlist in the help of experts to check the safety of buildings regularly.

The gubernatorial decree authorizes the Building Order and Supervision Agency to issue the certificates, which are valid for a five-year period. The certificates are issued when buildings are proven to meet official safety requirements, including the appropriateness of building installations.

Every six months building management teams are also required to report on the condition of their buildings to the agency, Hari said.

The agency recently closed down parking areas at ITC Permata Hijau and at the Carrefour branch of Ratu Plaza, both in South Jakarta, due to poor safety levels.

At ITC Permata Hijau, the agency found that the barriers on the spiral ramp in the parking lot were only made of brick, not steel frames as required.

The Ratu Plaza building management team did not provide enough power for all installations to operate in the basement area, where the Carrefour hypermart is located.

"Test results showed that only one of the installation systems could be switched on. For example, if they switched on the ventilation system, they would have to turn off the fire alarm system. This is not right," Hari said.

He said the agency had a limited number of officers, making it impossible to check all buildings in the city.

"We hope people inform us if there is anything wrong with a building in the city," he said.

However, many people have complained about the extent to which the agency allegedly abuses its power. Instead of enforcing the rules, they have been accused of extorting building owners in the past. (tif)

Mobile-8 moves to net more customers

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Cellular company PT Mobile-8 Telecom, the operator of CDMA-based mobile phone service Fren, launched a wireless application system for mobile phone handsets Tuesday in another effort to meet the company's target to raise its subscriber base by 66 percent next year.

Director and chief of corporate affairs Merza Fachys said the system, called b-live, allowed subscribers to access applications such as ring tones, English dictionary, and games and information provided by a number of news portals, from Fren-ZTE C300 and Fren-ZTE C330 mobile telephone handsets.

Further development of the system in the future will allow subscribers to access such applications from other types of handsets, he said.

"With the introduction of the new system, we expect to net five million customers by the end of 2008," Merza said after the launching, adding that by the end of this year, the company expected to have around 3 million subscribers, up from 1.8 million last year.

Merza said that in addition to the new system, the company would also increase its customer base next year through the expansion of its CDMA service into fixed wireless access (FWA) networks.

"Early next year, we will launch FWA in six cities in Java and Kalimantan," he said.

At present, through 1,200 relay towers, Fren services are available in nine provinces: Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, Bali, South Sulawesi, South Kalimantan, North Sumatra and South Sumatra.

Merza said his company was also constructing 1,000 new relay masts in West Sumatra, Lampung, Jambi, East Kalimantan and Riau Islands.

During the first three quarters of this year, Mobile-8 booked a profit of Rp 55 billion, a 513 percent increase from the Rp 9 billion recorded in the same period last year. The company's gross revenue reached Rp 803.8 billion during the January-September period, indicating a 53.8 percent increase over the same period in 2006.(ndr)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Market vendors demand end to mall permits

Yuli Tri Suwarni, The Jakarta Post, Bandung

Traders from nine traditional markets in Bandung staged a rally at the West Java Legislative council Monday demanding that the government stop issuing building permits for malls.

A trader at the Ciroyom market in Bandung, Dadan Jumpena, 42, argued the municipal administration had not been selective in issuing building permits for malls to replace traditional markets. He said the administration cited excuses such as modernizing markets deemed dirty.

Traders are eventually forced to buy kiosks in the basement areas of these malls, at high prices set by the private developers.

"We have already met the legislative council and municipality a dozen times to voice our opposition but they have never responded seriously. More traditional markets will be evicted due to increased construction of malls," Dadang told the crowd from atop a truck in front of the legislative building on Jl. Diponegoro in Bandung on Monday.

Aside from the Ciroyom market, other traditional markets set to make way for malls include Pasar Baru, Ujungberung, Cicadas and Andir.

The municipality argues it lacks the funds to revitalize traditional markets, so it has invited the private sector to take part in the projects. However, according to Dadang, the revitalization benefits big traders at the expense of small vendors.

The traders say it is very difficult to pay the kiosk price of between Rp 11 million (approximately US$1,220) and Rp 21 million per square meter.

Based on this year's data at the Bandung Industrial and Trade Office, there are now 250 modern markets in Bandung, including 176 minimarkets and 74 malls and supermarkets. They compete with the thousands of traditional traders at 39 traditional markets.

A vendor at the Cicadas market, Beti Anan, said around 1,000 vendors who were relocated from the market earlier had been losing money for the past year due to the construction of the Bandung Trade Mall on the former market site.

"We could earn Rp 5 million (per day) in turnover previously, but earning Rp 2 million is good now," said Beti, who has been selling groceries at the market since 1984.

The head of Commission B on economic affairs at the West Java legislature, Hidayat Zaini, said he had sent a number of letters over the last year to the Bandung municipal council and administration about the issuance of building permits for malls and supermarkets, but had yet to receive a reply.

"We invited them to come, but there was no response," said Hidayat.

He added that the Commission was preparing a draft on a provincial ordinance on traditional market protection which would regulate permit issuance and determine the appropriate distance between a mall and a traditional market in a bid to alleviate unfair business competition.

"We cannot directly intervene with the municipality in prohibiting the issuance of permits for malls and supermarkets, but the regulation would make restrictions clear. In any case, the provincial administration is the representative of the central government in the provinces," said Zaini.

Govt reports mall management

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post): The Building Order and Supervision Agency reported PT Ratu Sayang International, building operators of Ratu Plaza shopping center, to Tanah Abang Police on Monday.

Head of the agency's evaluation and order division, Gatot Supangkat, said Ratu Sayang broke a chain and a padlock the agency had used to seal the plaza parking area in the basement of the building.

"The building operators do not have the right to break the seal for any reason. They should have left the area closed until we finished our work," Gatot told reporters at the police station.

The administration sealed the basement last Thursday to evaluate the building, where an ongoing ventilation problem last week hospitalized 19 store employees with carbon monoxide poisoning.

Poor sanitation worsens urban, health problems

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

As a city riddled with sanitation-related diseases such as diarrhea and dengue fever, the Jakarta administration needs to start working with the public, private companies and non-governmental organizations to build a better sanitation system, an expert has said.

According to Basah Hernowo, head of community housing at the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas), Jakarta has the money and can afford the technology to provide proper sanitation to its residents by 2015 as targeted in the UN's Millennium Development Goals.

"What lacking is the will," he said.

"What they should do is fund NGOs so they can help educate the public about sanitation and then work with the private sector to build proper sanitation systems, like a sewerage system."

With virtually no sewerage system or waste treatment plants, most of Jakarta's liquid waste is left to flow downriver to the sea or is kept in septic tanks.

There are more than a million septic tanks in Jakarta, which has a population of almost 10 million people.

"And if they still say that they can't (put a sanitation system in place), then what reasons left are there?" he asked during the recent National Sanitation Conference.

The conference brought together more than a hundred experts and officials from all over Indonesia and the world to discuss possible solutions to the country's sanitation problems in anticipation of 2008, which has been declared the Year of Sanitation by the United Nations.

One of the UN's related resolutions is to reach 73 percent public access to sanitation by 2015.

Basah said the people who showed up to the conference were concerned about the environment and those who didn't were indifferent to the problem.

"What the city needs to realize is that sanitation is one of the main causes of poverty. Sick people, especially those with a daily income, can not make money to get themselves out of their situation. It's no wonder there are so many poor people in Jakarta," he added.

According to the 2004 National Social Economic Survey, 12 percent of the population in Indonesia's bigger cities does not have access to toilets. A third of those who have access use facilities that are not connected to septic tanks or equipped with water faucets, located instead on rivers.

Around 70 percent of the water in Indonesia's cities is contaminated with domestic waste, with 78 percent of Jakarta's river deemed polluted as of 2006, according to data provided by the administration.

The water is contaminated with E. coli bacteria and other harmful organisms that can cause diarrhea, dengue fever and typhoid.

Diarrhea kills more than 100,000 children every year in Indonesia. As of July, more than 11,000 diarrhea cases have been recorded, attributed to the prevailing unhealthy lifestyle and poor sanitation. In some areas, the disease is so common that it is classified as an "extraordinary occurrence".

Dengue fever is also an ongoing problem in Jakarta with more 29,000 cases and 81 deaths reported this year. April has been the worst month so far, with 5,133 cases reported.(anw)

Monday, December 17, 2007

'Certification to be sped up'

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The city administration said in a recent interview it is looking to speed up the certifying process for all of its property assets to avoid further land disputes with residents.

"We will persuade the City Council to budget for it," city secretary Ritola Tasmaya said Friday. He said many of the city's assets had been lost due to the lack of legal papers for ownership rights.

The former site of West Jakarta mayoralty in Grogol, for example, was given to the Sawergading Foundation after West Jakarta State Court ruled in its favor for ownership of the 11,765 square-meter block last July.

Ritola said if land purchase procedures, including ownership certification requirements and location, were clearer, people would not have legal grounds for land disputes with the administration.

He said the administration had used girik (temporary deeds of ownership) while waiting for certification.

"We have letters required for certification, but it costs money," he said, adding that the Equipment Bureau only processed 100 certificates a year. "It means it will take 30 years to process 3,000 certificates.

We can speed up the process if we have more money," he said.

Head of the Equipment Bureau, Riyanto, said he had discussed the problem with the City Council and the governor had agreed to speed things up.

"Of 19,000,000 city assets, consisting of buildings and plots of land in 44 districts, only around 3,000 have certificates.

The administration can't finish the certification quickly because of its limited budget," Riyanto said, as quoted by city official newsportal Berita Jakarta. (tif)

Illegal toxic waste disposal in capital 'cause for alarm'

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Around one century ago, a factory dumped and buried 22,000 tons of its chemical waste in an area called the Love Canal in Niagara Falls, New York.

In the 1970's, residents of Love Canal began to experience strange illnesses. More than half of the children born in the area that decade had birth-defects. The cause of the illnesses was later found to originate from massive levels of chemical waste which were poisoning the townspeople even after 70 years.

According to Syarif Hidayat, technical manager of a waste treatment company, the same thing would happen in Jakarta if factories continue to dump industrial waste illegally. "We estimate only 10 percent of factories in Jakarta process their waste water properly," he told The Jakarta Post , adding that the situation was more than a cause for alarm.

Syarif's company, Prasadha Pamunah Limbah industri (PPLi), currently manages around 35 percent of the country's toxic waste. PPLi is also the largest internationally accredited waste treatment facility in Indonesia.

Head of the Indonesian Environmental Forum (WALHI) Slamet Daroyni echoed Syarif, saying most factories in Jakarta did not treat their wastewater properly. Slamet said only 80 of some 800 factories are equipped with proper wastewater treatment facilities. He said WALHI received many reports of factories polluting carelessly. "We received reports from residents of Cilincing and Marunda (North Jakarta) who said they saw factories pumping their wastewater straight into the ocean."

Stories of improper waste management are not uncommon in other parts of Jakarta.

Bintoro, a resident of Bekasi and environmental activist, said toxic waste was resold by so-called waste treatment companies to outside parties. "It's not even hidden here. You can see people trading factory waste in broad daylight," Bintoro said.

Toxic waste mismanagement is not uncommon in Bekasi. Last year P.T. Dong Woo Environmental Indonesia, a waste treatment company, was caught dumping toxic waste in Kampung Sepu. There are still around 2,800 tons of contaminated soil there, according to data provided by the Environment Ministry.

Head of Jakarta's Environmental Management Agency, Budirama Natakusumah, said some companies polluted the environment but his office was always strict with such offenders. "Just recently we closed down several factories which violated standard waste management procedures," he said.

Slamet, however, said the city administration were not transparent enough with their field reports. He urged the government to pay better attention to the environment. "I know a good economy is important, but not taking the environment into account and allowing factories to continue dumping toxic waste, because they produce jobs, is just not acceptable," he said. (anw)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Reinventing the garden house

The Jakarta Post

During the property boom and development of satellite cities on the outskirts of Jakarta during the 80s and 90s, there was a huge market demand for garden houses and country-style houses in the real estate industry.

Parallel with aggressive planning of new highways and toll roads, people would go further away from the city center in pursuance of their dream (and affordable) homes. The mindset was: the further you are away from the city, the bigger the lawn you can afford.

However, the economic crisis played a role in taking away those dreams. Road network development could not keep up with the vast property development. Traffic congestion killed the enjoyment of having the garden houses. For people earning their living in the city center, they could waste a third to a quarter of their day stuck in the traffic.

Today, living in close proximity to the city center is much more desirable for a lot of people. They are willing to live on a much smaller urban lot.

Generally, the concept of the garden house simply meant having a huge lawn in the backyard without exploring the relationship between indoor and outdoor space. Conceptually, the house was more introvert and separated from the exterior.

Some architects offered interesting modern approaches in re-inventing the garden house concept for urban application.

Adi Purnomo blurred the boundary between the house and landscape in his works in Ciganjur and Jl. Tangkuban Perahu, Jakarta. Both houses elaborately exercise the relationship of interior and exterior spaces.

The Ciganjur house reversed the concept "house in the garden" to "garden in the house" by converting the whole lot into a single house experience. It is a modern interpretation of the compound house concept in Balinese architecture where the rooms are not contained in a single building but distributed throughout the lot. The house itself employs a simple house form with minimal decoration. Outdoor spaces become the interior of the house, where lush softscape is the main decoration element. Living rooms also serve as terraces to maximize enjoyment of the landscape.

The house at Jl. Tangkuban Perahu took a different direction. While the house maintains the image of a single house, it also integrates the landscape in an unprecedented way. Not only the garden is stacked and interwoven with the house, but also became the fa‡ade. The vertical gardens create the sense of privacy while allowing the house to breathe. The main stairway has a dual function that performs as seating for any social event. This intimate relationship between the landscape and the house provides good natural cross ventilation and day lighting. It also increases the water retention ability of the house, so it dramatically reduces excess water out to the surrounding neighborhood.

Essentially, in designing a dwelling, aesthetic consideration is becoming less important. The interrelationship between spaces and its contribution to the environment are more valuable. Although both of these houses are definitely not bug-free, but the experience of tropical living is maximized.

Zenin Adrian can be reached at

Revealing local architecture's tense history

Astrid Wibisono, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Indonesian Architecture Documentation Center is holding an architecture exhibition called Tension -- Span, which aims to reveal the friction and debates sparked during Indonesian contemporary architecture's 100-year history.

One of the creators of the exhibition, Nanda Widyarta, said this should serve as an incentive for the next architectural discussion. "We try to portray the tension in architecture, which has been a heated debate over the years."

The exhibition is not intended only for architects but also the general public. It aims to widen the public's perception that architecture also functions as a society builder rather than just mere steel and glass.

"Architecture can be a tool for social manipulation. But only if the architects are ambitious," he added.

Tension -- Span exposes one hundred years of Indonesian architecture and is divided into four segments consisting of several models and walls full of visual information. It also has a timeline board which explains the history of Indonesia's architecture from 1870 to 2000.

The first part exposes the formation of Dutch-Indies society through a synthesis of East and West.

When professional architects arrived in Indies, they allegedly started the first exploration and debate on Indies architecture. In their discourse, many Dutch architects built their creations in Bandung, such as Denis Bank and Savoy Homann Hotel, Drie Locomotive, Vila Isola and Hotel Preanger.

The next part examines the Nation-Constructing Modernism. It is related to Soekarno's "nation building" scheme that projected a free and progressive Indonesia. Within the same scene, the board displays buildings in Jakarta, such as the Pola building, Conefo building, the French Embassy, Hotel Indonesia, the National Monument (Monas), and the Gelora Bung Karno.

The third part covers "Rooted-ness and Locality". In the late 1960s, Indonesian architecture tried to find its identity by looking back to its grassroots tradition. A team of architects, who designed the University of Indonesia's Administrative Center Building, aim to find "Indonesian-ness" through a rationalist approach.

The last section tells the story of an ongoing exploration. Fresh architects, who are united in Young Indonesian Architects (AMI), try to explore design possibilities and the potential to meet society's demand. Besides AMI, there are other young architects' groups like FAM, SAMM, De Maya, and BoomArs. Their creations are Steel House by Ahmad Juhara, Gedung28 by Andra Martin, and Trafacon by 12 Akitek. Their soon-to-be-built projects are the Tsunami Museum by Doni Dwipayana and Kupat Kumis by AMI Last. The latter is an environmental project, which has a rooftop that can accommodate evacuees.

Besides showing 15 total building models in its four sections, the exhibition screens a five-minute documentary film, which explains the content of the exhibition. The film will be played repeatedly during the exhibition.

The whole room was made as if the person viewing the exhibition is walking on a giant checker board -- thanks to the aid of red tape lining the floor and walls. Dana, the designer of the room, said that Erasmus Huis had fully supported the design team in accomplishing their work. "I've never found an exhibition place like Erasmus Huis, which has allowed us to utilize the room according to our ideas."

The team, which consists of 10 people, needed around five months to plan and execute their work.

An architecture student visitor, Vanessa, 20, said that the exhibition was intriguing. "I came here to see the models and the exhibition has escalated my architecture knowledge," she said.

The exhibition is going on until January 11, 2008 will see the launching the book Tension , and the documentary film Rumah Angin (The Wind House) at Erasmus Huis, HR Rasuna Said, Kuningan, South Jakarta.

Indonesia hands over 100,000th tsunami house in Aceh

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia held a ceremony Friday to hand over the 100,000th rebuilt house in Aceh and Nias, which were devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, an official said.

Mirza Keumala, spokesman of the agency overseeing reconstruction in the wake of the deadly tsunami, said the formal affair took place in Teunom village, Aceh Jaya district.

He said 138 houses, which included the 100,000th, were symbolically handed over to residents in the village, which was in one of the areas worst hit by the tsunami. The catastrophe claimed 168,000 Indonesian lives.

"We wanted to give a morale boost to the people here in rebuilding their district," he told AFP by telephone, adding that people still faced daily challenges here as the infrastructure remained in poor condition.

Keumala said that reconstruction of a targeted 120,000 houses was expected to be complete by April 2008, and despite the formal ceremony on Friday, 103,000 have now been finished.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency for Aceh-Nias (BRR), warned in October that the completion of homes did not mean the housing problem was over.

Some of the houses rebuilt since then have remained unoccupied or are of poor quality, while others still lack essentials such as drainage or electricity, he said at the time, pledging that the problems would be solved.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

PLTP Sibayak line does not blow out

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President of PT Pertamina Geothermal Bambang Kustono said that the steam pipeline of Unit 3 of the geothermal power plant PLTP Sibayak did explode nor blow out, but merely strongly vibrated which caused a loud sound.

"I have gone into the field to find out what had really happened, and I was told that the steam pipeline did not explode nor blow out, but it was merely a strongly vibrating testing pipe causing a loud sound," he said in Jakarta Friday night.

Bambang admitted however that some people fainted by the loud sound, but it was only because were shocked by the sound.

"We have extended a helping to the fainted victims," ujarnya.

The steam pipeline of PLTP Sibayak 3 in Tanah Karo, North Sumatra, which was still in a trial operation, vibrated very strongly producing a very loud sound.

Immediately after the incident, the well automatically closed.

"The pipeline is currently under repair, and the trial operation will be continued as soon as the repair work is finished," he said.