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. …”

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Unicef presents three school buildings to Aceh

Bada Aceh (ANTARA News) - The United Nations Children`s Fund (Unicef) presented three school buildings to the Aceh authorities on Wednesday and Thursday.

The new buildngs were to house the Dayah Baro Islamic school, the Alue elementary school in Krueng Sabee sub district, and the Patek elementary school in Sampoinet sub district.

The head of Unicef`s Meulaboh office, Praful Soni, symbolically handed the school buildings to H. T. Rusdi of the Aceh Jaya district administration.

Unicef had planned to build a total of 346 school buildings in Aceh and Nias Island which were devastated by a 8.9-magnitude earthquake and a subsequent tsunami in December 2004.

Up to January 30, 2008, Unicef had constructed 30 school buildings, including 15 in Aceh Jaya district, 10 in Aceh Barat district, and 5 in Nagan Raya district.

RI`s cellular phone subscribers grow 51 pct

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The number of cellular phone subscribers in Indonesia in 2007 rose 51 percent to 96.41 million from a year earlier, a minister said.

"The increase in the number of cellular phone and FWA (fixed wireless access) subscribers indicates that Indonesia has made remarkable achievement in catching up with other countries in the field of information and communication technology (ICT)," Communication and Information Minister Muhammad Nuh said at the launching of Indonesia ICT Outlook 2008 here Thursday.

The number of fixed wireless access and fixed phone subscribers increased to 11 million and 8.7 million respectively, he said.

The number of computer owners also rose to 2.5 million in 2007 from 1.8 million the year before, he said.

He said the number of registered Internet service users rose to 25 million in late last year from 20 million in 2006.

"It is for the first time the government officially launched the Indonesia ICT Outlook to know exactly the extent to which ICT has contributed to the country`s economic growth. The Indonesia ICT Outlook also serves as guidance for stakeholders to determine the direction of their business policies in the future," he said.

The ability to master ICT was a prerequisite to create an Indonesian community capable of boosting the economy and improving the people`s welfare, he said.

Hopefully, the Indonesia ICT Outlook would serve as an input for the global ICT rating agency to rank Indonesia, he said.

"For the umpteenth time Indonesia has been put in the lowest rank. Where did they obtain the data to do that?" he asked.

But more importantly, the Indonesia ICT Outlook 2008 was part of the government`s efforts to boost economic growth which would in the end improve the people`s welfare and reduce the number of jobless people, he said.

North Sumatra council urges PLN to solve electricity crisis

Apriadi Gunawan, The Jakarta Post, Medan

The North Sumatra Legislative Council has told state-owned electricity company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) to overcome the power crisis throughout the region.

A legislative council member, Fadly Nurzal, said Tuesday that the frequency of blackouts in North Sumatra had reached crisis proportions.

Fadly said the local legislative council had recommended six points to solve the problem, which had been worsening over a period of several years. The recommendation was submitted to both PT PLN and the provincial administration, he said.

One of the six suggestions is for the management of PT PLN to work professionally for the sake of its customers. The legislative council believes that by improving the performance of its management, PT PLN will be able to solve the power crisis problem in the region.

The legislative council is also urging the central government to accelerate the construction of the Asahan III Hydro Electric Power Plant, which is expected to produce 174 megawatts of energy.

Another suggestion requires that the central government not extend the contract between Indonesia and Japan for operating aluminum production company PT Inalum, which uses 650 megawatts of electricity for its operations.

Even though PT Inalum has been helping PT PLN by occasionally supplying up to 45 megawatts of power, this is not enough because the supply is inconsistent.

The contract between Indonesia and Japan for operating PT Inalum will be up in 2013. In this cooperation, Indonesia holds 41.13 percent of total shares, while Japan holds 58.87 percent.

Fadly said that by stopping the contract, Indonesia would be able to send 650 megawatts of electricity to the public.

Fadly said he hoped both the local and central governments would pay serious attention to the energy crisis in North Sumatra. "It is very urgent for the authorities to make immediate decisions about this problem," he added.

According to the North Sumatra legislative council, the power crisis is caused by the limited number of power plants that can supply energy throughout the province.

Based on the data, the total power supply in North Sumatra is 1,130 megawatts, while the peak load reaches 1,190 megawatts. This means the province suffers from 60-megawatt shortfall of energy.

General Manager of PT PLN in North Sumatra Albert Pangaribuan said that he could not prevent blackouts throughout the province because of the energy shortfall. He said that PT PLN also had to temporarily cut electricity supplies each time the company conducted a maintenance check.

"For example, when we are conducting a maintenance check at Belawan Steam Power Plant, we have to cut the energy in some places for several days," Albert said.

Albert said the government should add to the number of power plants in North Sumatra to overcome the problem.

"We can not live like this all the time. We have to find the solution and immediately apply it. That's why we are badly in need of new power plants to meet our needs," he said.

He expressed his gratitude to the North Sumatra Legislative Council Members for their support of PT PLN by pressuring the authorities to accelerate the construction of the Asahan III Power Plant.

North Jakarta slammed over fire safety

The Jakarta Post

The North Jakarta administration reported Wednesday that most buildings in the municipality lacked proper fire safety equipment.

According to the report, which was based on inspections carried out last year, 111 of 185 multistory buildings inspected in North Jakarta had inadequate fire safety facilities.

Most of the buildings did not have fire extinguishers, hydrants or sprinklers.

"Owners need to improve their awareness of this issue," said the head of monitoring at the municipality's fire department, Sumarlan, as quoted by Beritajakarta news portal.

He also said the lack of manpower in the fire department meant not all buildings received safety inspections every year.

He said there at least 500 multistory buildings in the municipality, but only 185 were inspected in 2007.

There were 181 fires reported in North Jakarta last year, from 132 in 2006. This figure includes several fires at multistory buildings.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

RI property sector: How robust is the new tax regime?

Andhika Suryadharma, Analyst The Jakarta Post

The tax office has proposed a new tax system for property developers. For some companies the new legislation may prove to be a new year's gift; for others however it may turn out to be a handicap.

The new regulations would impose a 5 percent final tax on revenues for big developers and a minimum 1 percent tax rate for smaller developers. Currently, taxes for property development companies adhere to the corporate tax rate, which is 30 percent of pre-tax earnings.

This proposal may be viewed positively for stimulating the development of low-cost housing. A number of criteria, however, still need to be clearly defined.

The rational behind the new tax legislation is twofold: first it prevents developers from engineering profit numbers to minimize taxes. At present calculations for income and expense directly impact pretax profits.

Second, the new tax law strengthens the incentive for developers to build low-cost housing including apartments, as these projects are likely to be subject to the 1 percent minimum tax.

Low-income housing is generally defined as developments which have a maximum unit price of Rp 49 million. Freehold townhouses may also be defined as low-income provided their sale price does not exceed Rp 144 million.

The 5 percent final tax on revenues imposed on larger developers would be implemented for residential housing sales. The development of commercial properties for the generation of rental income (i.e. hotels, time-shares and other temporary accommodation) will bear a final tax of 10 percent.

Opportunities for confusion and perhaps systemic abuse may still persist under the proposed tax system. At the heart of this matter rests definitions related to scale. What distinguishes a big developer from a small one?

At the moment, the definition of small is not closely associated with low-income housing. If for example, the developer were to pursue a large-scale project to develop low-income housing, the overall size of the investment may outweigh the fact that the per unit cost meets the low-income definition.

Another key consideration is related to the property cycle. Residential property is sensitive to volatility in mortgage rates and purchasing power. This is compared to the more stable recurring income businesses.

The new tax system would provide little security for investors during periods of downward volatility in the property market. In such an event, property developers are left with no choice but to pass on the tax to consumers by increasing the prices of their products.

We try to examine which kind of property developer would benefit from the proposed system. Apparently the property developer with the highest portion of non-recurring business and margins will likely gain the most.

The ability of each developer to maintain margins is crucial. For example, one property developer that we cover would have to maintain its gross profit margin at about 19 percent in order to ensure this regulation.

Our own calculations show that a property developer must keep its pretax margin above 16.7 percent in order to benefit from the new tax regime. Below that margin, the current levy of 30 percent on pre-tax profit becomes more beneficial.

The proposed legislation has actually been in place before. The government implemented a similar law in April 1996, a year before the Asian financial crisis. Despite the ensuing devastation to Indonesia's property market that legislation survived for about three years, being changed in 1999 after the crisis

As the proposed legislation has been initiated by the tax office, there is a good chance it will be implemented this year. Of course it is impossible for tax regulation to satisfy all parties.

However, before this regulation is to be implemented, it is important for the government to clearly classify or define each developer in terms of the scale and location of the products they develop. This will ensure fair treatment for developers.

Furthermore, it is important to consider what will happen during a downturn in the property cycle. Previous mistakes in the real sector need to be avoided.

It is therefore necessary to determine whether it is sustainable for property developers to maintain their margins by passing fixed taxes onto consumers while a property slump is underway?

The writer is a research analyst at PT Bahana Securities

New sorting system for Bekasi dump

The Jakarta Post, Bekasi

The Bekasi municipal administration plans to install a garbage sorting mechanism at the Sumur Batu dump, which is expected to reduce garbage by at least 25 tons per day.

The project, to be completed in conjunction with the Public Works Ministry, is scheduled to start by the end of February, said Abdul Malik, the head of the waste and sanitation division at the Bekasi Sanitation, Parks and Cemetery Agency, on Tuesday.

"We want people to make use of recyclable garbage. We expect to cut down on garbage by at least 25 tons per day through this project. If the project works, we will apply the same method at other dumps," Abdul told The Jakarta Post.

The machine, which will use a conveyor belt, will be funded by the ministry at a cost of Rp 1.5 billion, said Susmono, the director of residential sanitation at the Public Works Ministry.

However, he added that the administration would be required to build a Rp 450 million storage area to house the machine.

The Bekasi administration manages several dumps, including the Bantargebang, Sumur Batu and Leuwigajah dumps. The 11-hectare Sumur Batu dump receives approximately 1,500 tons of garbage from Bekasi per day, while the 108-hectare Bantargebang dump receives around 6,000 tons of garbage from Jakarta.

An open dumping system is used at the dumps, which causes various environmental and health problems.

The dumps are havens for scavengers who are able to make a living sorting through garbage. However, no safety regulations are in place to protect the scavengers. In September 2006, three scavengers died at the Bantargebang dump site after a mountain of trash collapsed on them.

Susmono said the administration decided to develop a garbage sorting system after the accident.

He said his office initially offered the system to the Jakarta administration for the Bantargebang dump site. However, Jakarta turned down the proposal as it did not want to spend money on storage facilities, Susmono said.

"The main aim of the project is to humanize scavengers. They should have a safe and healthy place to work in. We will recruit 40 scavengers for the pilot project," he said.

Bagong Suyoto from the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) said he supported the project but called for better garbage processing systems to be introduced.

"After scavengers collect the non-organic garbage, the organic garbage could be turned into fertilizer and the rest could be disposed of properly," he said.

Abdul said the project was expected to reduce operational costs and extend the life of the dump. He said it would also give garbage an economical value.

"The Bekasi administration spends Rp 8 billion per year managing garbage, with Rp 3.5 billion spent on the Sumur Batu dump alone," he added.

Abdul said the administration planned to familiarize the public with the project.

He said the administration would also involve neighborhood unit heads and other prominent figures in efforts to secure the area. (tif)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Industrial estate prices 'to remain stable'

Agustina Wayansari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The price of industrial estates is likely to remain stable in Jakarta and Greater Jakarta this year due to slow demand, recent research shows.

"Considering demand is likely to remain slow this year, prices are expected to remain stable at around Rp 554,000 (approximately US$61.5) per square meter," PT Property Advisory Indonesia (Provis) associate partner Arief Rahardjo told reporters Monday.

Citing Provis' first publicized research results, Arief said industrial property in Jakarta was becoming limited and as a consequence industrial estates in Bekasi, Karawang and Purwakarta may develop new clusters expected to enter the market in 2008.

The report said demand for industrial estates after the 1997 economic crisis had slowed, showing a decline since 2006, and may remain weak this year.

The research also indicated the net purchase of industrial land in Greater Jakarta stood at 130 hectares in 2007, down some 32 percent from the previous year at 192 hectares.

"The demand slowed in 2005 with total purchases amounting to 200 hectares, and then declined to 192 hectares in 2006," said Wira Agus, the senior manager for strategic consultancy at Provis.

Arief said industrial land was generally used by automotive and steel-related industries, while industrial buildings were largely absorbed by the logistics industry.

Arief said transactions involving large industrial plots would also remain low in 2008 due to limited foreign investment, while small-scale demand had room to grow.

From 7,800 hectares of available land in 2007, the report indicated that the market only absorbed about 70 percent or 5,500 hectares.

Arief said local investors were likely to remain the main purchasers of land and buildings, followed by investors from Japan, Germany and France.

According to the report, demand for offices increased in the Greater Jakarta area last year, with demand from the telecommunications, banking, finance and insurance sectors the greatest, especially in terms of lease arrangements.

Managing partner David Cheadle said net purchasing in 2007 reached 203,600 square meters, an increase of 63 percent from 124,908 square meters the previous year.

"Most companies have leased the same buildings for some 12 years and now they want to move to better offices. Some companies may also be looking for new places due to business expansion," said Cheadle, adding that it was the right time for businesses to relocate as there were many Grade A buildings in the market.

As of December 2007, Provis reported that cumulative demand for office properties in the Central Business District (CBD) reached 2.9 million square meters, with an occupancy rate of 85.2 percent.

The report indicated that cumulative supply stood at 3.42 million square meters and the total net take up for CBD offices stood at 203,600 square meters over the year, which is the highest figure since the economic crisis in 1997.

Cheadle said the rental rate was relatively stable in the fourth quarter last year, standing at Rp 129,665 per square meter. He said the rate would most likely increase in 2008 as most landlords had decided to raise base rental and service charges by between 5 and 10 percent.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

As safe as houses? Dutch history suggests not

Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:32pm EST

By Emma Thomasson

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The house sugar merchant Cornelis Sasbout built in 1617 at number 150 on Amsterdam's Herengracht canal tells a cautionary tale about investing in property -- prices fluctuate wildly, but are ultimately flat.

From boom to bust, the plot Sasbout bought for 4,600 guilders (2,100 euros) and which today might sell for several million euros on the prestigious canal, will in the long run always revert to some kind of price equilibrium.

This can be seen in a unique index dating back 350 years, drawn up by Piet Eichholtz, a real estate professor at Maastricht University using records of house prices on the canal. Even for people with no intention of buying property, it has been cited by Yale economist Robert Shiller for its reflection of the inexorable logic that bubbles always burst.

Just now for Eichholtz, the arrow is pointing down. He says home-owners worldwide may need to brace for double-digit losses in once-booming markets, and even more in places with low birth rates like eastern Europe as well as Japan and South Korea.

"I'm really concerned about housing markets where the demographics look bad," he said. "Then prices can really fall a long way."

His Herengracht index came to prominence in 2005 when Shiller, whose book "Irrational Exuberance" forecast the 1990s stock market bubble would burst, picked up on it as an ill omen for the U.S. house market.

Shiller and fellow economist Karl Case did the pioneering research in the 1980s that produced the S&P/Case-Shiller index of the U.S. housing market which has shown big recent falls.

Eichholtz says what makes his index stand out from house price histories in other cities is what he calls "constant quality" -- the Herengracht has always been prime real estate. The index corrects for rising consumer prices but not wages.

Read More

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Toilets donated to Aceh villagers

Nani Afrida, The Jakarta Post, Nagan Raya

Despite the "modern" age, toilets were still new to most villagers in Nagan Raya, a new regency some 80 kilometers south of Banda Aceh, where locals used to end up going behind bushes or in rivers.

Like other villages, Meunasah Dayah in Beutong subdistrict has no toilets. Not a single house has a private toilet either.

In fact most villagers had heard more about the "western" toilet equipment than they had experience using it.

Nyak Puteh, 28, is one of the Meunasah Dayah villagers, who previously wouldn't think twice about defecating in an open place like the backyard or near an irrigation network.

"We usually defecate in the evening or morning. It depends on when we need to go," Nyak Puteh said.

Whenever he defecated, he said he was accompanied by his wife Nurhayati, 35. In the village, he said, it wasn't advisable to go out to the forests alone at night because there were many dangerous wild animals, including bears and wild boars.

Defecating in the open was once normal in the village. During the dry season, however, it would become a serious problem as the dried feces made a putrid odor everywhere.

"We had to find a clean place even though it was difficult to do. We paid no attention to public toilet facilities because people needed to queue up there, which was a nuisance," Nyak Puteh said.

Deep down, Nyak Puteh said, he wished for his own toilet, just like the government public toilets. Unfortunately, he said, he had no money to buy one because it was mainly spent on treatments for his chronic tuberculosis.

There are around 170 families in Meunasah Dayah village, but none had a private toilet.

"Maybe it's because villagers don't understand the importance of sanitation. They have been defecating out in the open since their ancestors' times," Banta Lidan, head of the village, said.

Most of the villagers have had little or no education. Many opting to work over not go to school.

Banta Lidan, who was chosen as head of the village last year, said he was sorry about the poor sanitary condition of his village.

When Islamic Relief representatives visited the village and announced plans to construct toilet facilities, Banta agreed immediately.

"If we have toilets, people will be able to take care of their health better. And the village will become cleaner," Banta said.

Islamic Relief and the UNICEF water, environment and sanitation (WES) project have built some 170 toilets in the village. They have provided all the necessary materials for toilets ranging from cement, bricks and zinc to septic tanks. The organizations have also taught people how to build toilet amenities.

The project aims to promote hygiene and develop community skills.

With a private toilet, Nyak Puteh said, he feels happy now. He can go to the toilet any time he wants, without his wife or bears or wild boars.

Banta Lidan said he was relieved simply because his village is now free from feces.

Menara Jamsostek to design new parking lot following fatal accident

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The company that manages the Menara Jamsostek building, PT Sangu, is planning to redesign the building's parking area after a fatal accident Tuesday.

Sangu finance director Jefry Haryadi said Friday construction consultants appointed by the company were working on a new design for the 11-year-old parking building.

"The team is drawing up a new design for the building and is calculating which design is the most economical and can be immediately implemented," he told The Jakarta Post.

"The team is also taking into account construction standards according to current regulations," he said.

Jefry said the team was working with the city property management and control agency on its design to prevent a "possible correction or rejection".

The team's final design will be submitted to an independent panel authorized to determine the feasibility the project during a hearing next Wednesday, Jefry said.

Previously, agency head Hari Sasongko said the building's management team was required to submit a new design for the parking lot that complied with its 2007 decree on buildings and structures.

Hari said the decree stipulated that walls in parking buildings must be resistant to collisions.

He said the agency had ordered the building's management team to temporarily close the parking area until renovations were completed to make it safer following Tuesday's accident, which claimed the life of a 42-year-old man.

The victim of Tuesday's crash was identified as Heryawan, a resident of Pesanggrahan in South Jakarta, who had worked as a driver for an insurance agency for 15 years.

He backed his vehicle through a barrier in the parking building and plunged to his death.

The incident occurred at around 10:30 a.m. after Heryawan drove his employer to a meeting in the building on Jl. Gatot Subroto in South Jakarta.

The car hit a passing vehicle before coming to rest upside down on the ground.

Two people inside the car that was hit sustained minor injuries.

According to Jamsostek's operations and services director Ahmad Ansyori, the company offered Heryawan's family Rp 99 million (US$10,550) on Friday, including Rp 200,000 every month for the next 24 months.

"We will also give Heryawan's eldest child, who is still at university, a Rp 150,000 scholarship every month," Ahmad told the Post.

Two car park accidents occurred last year at the Permata Hijau International Trade Center in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta.

A family of three was killed when their vehicle fell from the sixth floor of center's parking building earlier in the year.

The second accident, which resulted in no injuries, occurred when a driver lost control of his vehicle and rolled backwards, smashing through a meter-high wall in the parking building.

RI property industry predicted to grow at 5-10 pct only in 2008

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Developers said that property industry in Indonesia was predicted to grow at 5 to 10 percent in 2008 only due to market uncertainty and various economic turbulences at home and abroad.

"The property industry is predicted to grow at five to ten percent only due to economic turbulences at home and abroad," Johannes Mardjuki, president director of PT Summarecon Agung Tbk, said here on Saturday.

The global turbulences as a result of the United States subprime mortgage and European financial crisis would affect the world`s economic growth.

He said that the sluggish world economic growth was believed to have impacted the Asian region, including Indonesia which was forced to revise its economic growth target at over six percent.

Mardjuki said that the US and European financial crisis could, however, be balanced by the high growth in China and India which grew over ten percent, thus still allowing the Asian market to grow well.

He said the increase in the world`s crude oil price which happened to reach US$100 per barrel some time ago also raised concern, though it had returned to US$80 per barrel now.

The increase had created a deficit in the government`s expenditure budget.

Therefore, developers were still cautious in setting a growth target in the property sector because the market situation was uncertain, he said.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Inmates get 'bugged' public phones at Cipinang prison

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Cipinang Penitentiary has installed public telephones for prisoners to provide them with telecommunication means as it intensifies its confiscation of the cell phones widely used by inmates.

In a speech marking the launching of the phone service Thursday, penitentiary chief Wibowo Joko Harjono said prisoners could use the telephones, which were operated by state-owned telecommunication provider PT Telkom Indonesia, for a charge similar to the usual public rate.

"There are ten units available," he said. "All telephone conversations are recorded to prevent convicts from using them for illegal purposes, such as narcotics transactions."

The penitentiary came under fire late last year after senior actor Roy Marten was arrested by the Surabaya Police for suspected drug use and trafficking. He had previously served a nine-month prison term in 2006 for drug use.

Critics said Roy turned himself from a user into a distributor after his experience at Cipinang Penitentiary. Many fear that correctional institutions across the country are centers of narcotics distribution because convicts are able to use cell phones to build and maintain strong connections with narcotics rings.

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Sisno Adiwinoto said recently it was easier to obtain drugs in penitentiaries than any other place.

"It takes only five minutes to obtain drugs inside penitentiaries, while it may take five to seven hours to get them outside," he was quoted as saying by

Directorate General for Penitentiaries of the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, Untung Sugiyono, told the same news agency that while cell phones were not allowed in prison, prisoners had been using them secretively.

"We realize that prisoners need telephones to communicate with their families or friends, but misuse of cell phones is our greatest concern," he said.

Head of Jakarta's Justice Ministry office Didin Sudirman said surveillance in penitentiaries was weak because of the lack of officers and overcrowding in correctional facilities.

"The country's jails and penitentiaries have a total capacity of 4,080 persons and are currently occupied by some 10,000 prisoners. With 692 guards working in shifts, we calculate that one officer is responsible for 62 inmates," he said.

Untung said the ministry had been planning to renovate and expand all penitentiaries and jails in Jakarta to add more room for the growing number of prisoners while also gradually employing more guards. (lln)

Administration speeds up safety-check on parking buildings

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Jakarta Property Management and Control Agency is accelerating safety checks on parking buildings in the city following a recent accident at the Menara Jamsostek building that claimed one life.

Agency head Hari Sasongko said it would immediately close parking facilities not meeting the construction standards of a 2007 degree.

All carparks had to submit building designs to the agency or else wait for agency officers to inspect them, he said.

Hari said owners of buildings closed for safety reasons would have to first submit new building designs and then rebuild, adding that both design plans and the finished work would have to pass agency approval.

"The offenders must consider all possible collision factors in the designs."

Hari said the agency would ask for help from universities to carry out checks at some 400 parking buildings so as to complete the process by mid-year.

A 2007 agency decree provides that walls in parking buildings must be strong enough to withstand collisions.

The agency has inspected 22 parking buildings for safety following a string of carpark accidents.

On Tuesday, a 42-year-old chauffeur died after accidentally backing his car through a steel fence at Jamsostek building on Jl. Gatot Subroto, South Jakarta.

The incident took place at around 10:30 a.m., after the man -- who had 15-years professional driving experience -- dropped his employer at the building.

The car hit a moving vehicle, causing minor injuries to the occupants and landing upside down.

Two carpark accidents occurred last year.

At Permata Hijau International Trade Center in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta, a family of three was killed when their vehicle fell from the sixth floor of the garage.

The second accident occurred when a driver lost control and rolled backwards, smashing through a meter-high wall on a spiral ramp of a carpark.

No one was injured in that accident.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Community-based green areas needed, say NGOs

Evi Mariani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

In response to the administration's plan to evict thousands of residents in 2008 to make way for green areas, organizations have offered a community-based approach in revitalizing green areas.

The organizations said they believed that the concept would benefit the city, the communities and the public.

"The city could save some budget money for revitalization and maintenance, while it would still get the green areas," Nurkholis Hidaya from Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH) told a press conference Wednesday.

Nurkholis said that in the draft of the city budget, the institute noted that during 2008 the city planned to evict 16 communities to get 55,540 square meters of green areas. The fund for the evictions and revitalization is set at Rp 27.3 billion.

The series of evictions is another phase in the administration's plan to increase the city's existing green area, 9.6 percent of its total 9,156 hectares, to 13.9 percent by 2010.

Among the 16 communities to be moved are the fish and flower traders on Jl. Barito, who were evicted on Jan. 18. The next community to be evicted is ceramics and rattan traders in Rawasari, Central Jakarta.

Vendors in Rawasari got their eviction orders on Wednesday.

LBH Jakarta and the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), which helped Barito fish and flower sellers protest against the move, said communities in Jakarta were smart. They had the capacity to offer solutions to the city's problems, if the city administration allowed them, the groups said.

"We work with at least two architecture firms, which support community-based design. For Barito, the YP+A firm had designed a lively hybrid park," Nurkholis said.

He said it was unfortunate the administration had decided to its own design, despite praising the one proposed by the vendors.

Selamet Daroyni from Walhi said the city's plan to evict thousands was unfair and showed the city did not have the courage to shut down the malls and hotels sitting on formerly green areas and instead preferred to tackle the powerless.

"Jakarta's green areas have dwindled from 37.2 percent in 1965 to 6.2 percent in 2007, largely thanks to the developments of large commercial buildings like malls and hotels," Selamet said in the conference.

"The communities only use a small percentage the green areas, about 10 percent, probably," he added. "Therefore, we think the city's attempt to evict these communities won't touch the source of Jakarta's environmental problems."

'Dewatering' shares blame for city's water woes

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The unchecked construction of malls and high-rise apartment buildings could add to water shortages in the capital, an official said Wednesday during an impromptu visit to an apartment building in South Jakarta.

During construction, developers often use a process called dewatering to drain water from the ground, which may affect wells dug in residential areas, said Peni Susanti, head of the Jakarta Mining Agency.

Some of the extracted water is also not properly redirected, being sent toward sewers instead of being stored or utilized, she said.

"The city water supply is scarce, developers should not just be throwing it away," Peni said while inspecting Gandaria City, a mall and apartment building currently being constructed on Jl. Iskandar Muda.

During the inspection, officials from the mining agency found one spot where clean water was being redirected to sewers outside of the walled construction area.

"This will not do, it is a waste of clean water and you need to at least redirect the plumbing into an aquifer or a water storage facility," Peni told developers.

Construction workers are digging a basement for Gandaria City, which requires the groundwater to be extracted and redirected.

Peni said any water extracted during the dewatering process should be stored and reused later.

After the site was inspected last year, 10 pipes were installed to recharge water back into the ground, according to Indramawan, a representative for the developer of Gandaria City.

Dewatering could also affect the surrounding community as the process drains groundwater with a certain radius, usually 40 to 50 meters depending on the technology,

Imam Sudjono, head of groundwater control subdivision at the mining agency, said Wednesday's inspection was done in response to complaints from residents who were having trouble finding groundwater.

"I've received complaints from people saying they can't find water even after drilling wells as deep as 15 meters," he said.

Gandaria was not the only high-rise development reprimanded for wasting extracted groundwater during construction.

Earlier Wednesday, officials from the mining agency visited an apartment building currently being constructed at Rasuna Epicentrum, South Jakarta. Imam told the developer to obtain a permit for using the drained water.

Imam said agency officials planned to inspect other high-rise developments in Sunter, Kelapa Gading and Mangga Dua in North Jakarta.

High-rise buildings are heavy users of groundwater, reducing groundwater elevation by up to two to five meters a year in the city, according to data provided by the agency. (anw)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Isolated Maluku regency seeks to pave its way to wealth

M. Azis Tunny, The Jakarta Post, Ambon

East Seram, a four-year-old regency in Maluku, is developing land and sea transportation with the aim of escaping isolation, jump starting development and addressing widespread poverty.

Over the past four years, almost 80 percent of a 528-kilometer highway traversing Seram Island has been finished and the rest is slated for completion within the fiscal year.

"The regency's economy is maturing as subdistricts and villages are becoming connected and more farmland in the regency is under irrigation. More people travel to the provincial capital in Ambon and to other provinces now. And more traders are reaching the locals (in remote areas)," East Seram regent Abdullah Vanath told The Jakarta Post.

Asked why his administration had prioritized infrastructure development, Abdullah said without better infrastructure it wasn't possible to combat poverty.

When it was created, pursuant to the regional autonomy law in 2004, the regency had a total of 3.5 kilometers of asphalted road.

Even today the vast majority of population lives in poverty.

"Like other people, my family was also poor.

"Few people went beyond elementary school because you have to move to Ambon if you want to go high school or university," said Abdullah, citing a 2007 survey which found 78 percent of the population of 17,000 was living below the poverty line.

"My great desire is to complete the ongoing development of the infrastructure before my term ends in 2009 so that by 2010 the regency can start catching up with other regencies in Maluku and other provinces in the eastern part of the country."

Abdullah said, despite the high poverty rate in the regency, he was optimistic the main social problems would gradually be solved.

"Following the development of infrastructure and other facilities such as hotels and ports, investors will come to help explore the rich natural resources and people will seek better livelihoods, send their children to school and live modern lives."

The regency has considerable economic potential due to an abundance of natural resources such as timber, oil and gas. However, geographic isolation from international markets prevents exploitation.

Besides the geographical disadvantages, unpredictable climate conditions hinder farming and fishing.

Inadequate rainfall frequently limits harvests to one a year while stormy seas keep fishing boats from going to sea for long periods.

Sea passage to East Seram can be as difficult as the route overland.

Weeks may go by without the arrival of a cargo or passenger boat -- or even months during periods of bad weather.

Abdullah said that government as well as the people had to work harder to improve life in such a rugged, isolated place. However, he said, progress was just a matter of time.

The formation of the regency was hardly noticed by investors because of the absence of modern infrastructure. Meanwhile, construction materials and the most basic commodities can be extremely expensive due to transportation premiums.

Abdullah, who previously held a senior position in the Maluku provincial government, acknowledged that mismanagement had also affected development. He said a certain part of the development budget had "leaked out" due to weak oversight and law enforcement.

"Several local officials, including the chief of the local public works ministry office, have been declared suspects in a road construction graft case and they will be prosecuted in accordance with the law. Law enforcement is a must if we want to create good governance."

Car plunges off 8th floor parking lot, one killed

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post): A man has died after the car he was driving plunged from the eighth floor of a high-rise parking lot in South Jakarta on Tuesday.

Heryawan, 42, accidentally backed his car through the steel fence of the parking lot. He was killed almost instantly.

The incident happened at around 10:30 a.m. after Heryawan had dropped his employer at a meeting in the Menara Jamsostek building on Jl. Gatot Subroto.

The victim, a resident of Pesanggrahan, South Jakarta, had worked as a driver for an insurance agency for 15 years.

The car fell on the passenger side of a moving vehicle, before hitting the ground upside down.

The two people inside the car it hit sustained only minor injuries.

Last year, two similar accidents took place at the Permata Hijau International Trade Center in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta. (Mustaqim Adamrah)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Jakarta to punish reckless ad firms

Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The property management and control agency is set to hand down punishment to two companies for their negligence in constructing two billboards recently felled by strong winds.

Agency head Hari Sasongko said Saturday the agency had determined negligence in the billboards' construction, based on its findings and reports from the companies.

"They have violated a governor decree. We'll freeze their working licenses for a year," he said.

"We're still preparing documents declaring their punishment, which they will know within a month."

On Nov. 14, a billboard fell on a taxi in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, injuring the driver and two passengers, and another fell on top of an internet cafe and telecommunication kiosk in Setiabudi, South Jakarta.

One fallen billboard near the Grand Indonesia traffic circle disrupted traffic.

Hari said the agency was carrying out legal proceedings only against the two companies who built the billboards in Kebayoran Baru and Setiabudi, exempting the one responsible for the fallen billboard near the Grand Indonesia traffic circle.

"The ... billboard near the Grand Indonesia traffic circle is out of our territory," he said.

"A government regulation allows billboard construction companies to place their temporary ads for a few weeks without being required to ask for an agency-issued license," he said.

The agency has issued 700 business licenses for construction companies since 2002, 400 of which were extended.

Construction companies buy licenses from the agency to erect outdoor advertisement structures in Jakarta and sell the space to advertising companies.

Following the November accidents, the agency planned to revise requirements for building billboards.

In the future, a billboard must be able to withstand winds of 75 to 100 kilometers per hour, higher than old requirement of 40 to 50 kilometers per hour.

Hari said the agency would issue a decree for the future benchmark.

"An advisory team that works for the agency to oversee property structures will hopefully finish drafting the decree within a month," he said.

The agency also planned to require construction companies to replace their single-pole billboards with double-pole billboards to make them stronger.

However, Hari said the plan would likely take months of deliberation among the agency and other stakeholders, including the city spatial planning agency and the city revenue agency.

"We need to find a way to strictly implement safety standards, as well as keep the city's revenue from ads from decreasing," he said.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

CIA Says Hackers Have Cut Power Grid

Several cities outside the U.S. have sustained attacks on utility systems and extortion demands.

Robert McMillan, IDG News Service

PCWorld, Saturday, January 19, 2008 6:00 AM PST

Criminals have been able to hack into computer systems via the Internet and cut power to several cities, a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency analyst said this week.

Speaking at a conference of security professionals on Wednesday, CIA analyst Tom Donahue disclosed the recently declassified attacks while offering few specifics on what actually went wrong.

Criminals have launched online attacks that disrupted power equipment in several regions outside of the U.S., he said, without identifying the countries affected. The goal of the attacks was extortion, he said.

"We have information, from multiple regions outside the United States, of cyber intrusions into utilities, followed by extortion demands," he said in a statement posted to the Web on Friday by the conference's organizers, the SANS Institute. "In at least one case, the disruption caused a power outage affecting multiple cities. We do not know who executed these attacks or why, but all involved intrusions through the Internet."

"According to Mr. Donahue, the CIA actively and thoroughly considered the benefits and risks of making this information public, and came down on the side of disclosure," SANS said in the statement.

One conference attendee said the disclosure came as news to many of the government and industry security professionals in attendance. "It appeared that there were a lot of people who didn't know this already," said the attendee, who asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak with the press.

He confirmed SANS' report of the talk. "There were apparently a couple of incidents where extortionists cut off power to several cities using some sort of attack on the power grid, and it does not appear to be a physical attack," he said.

Hacking the power grid made front-page headlines in September when CNN aired a video showing an Idaho National Laboratory demonstration of a software attack on the computer system used to control a power generator. In the demonstration, the smoking generator was rendered inoperable.

The U.S. is taking steps to lock down the computers that manage its power systems, however.

On Thursday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved new mandatory standards designed to improve cybersecurity.

CIA representatives could not be reached immediately for comment.

Related Article:

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Minister says 10,000 more homes expected

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post) : Public Housing Minister M. Yusuf Asy'ari said Friday he expected more than 10,000 people would have a decent house this year through a subsidized sharia "credit" scheme.

The government has allocated Rp 800 billion (US$84.66 million) from the state budget for the house subsidy, nearly triple last year's subsidy of Rp 300 million.

In its 2004-2009 plan, the ministry aims to provide 1.35 million housing units for people who are yet to have a house due to skyrocketing housing prices.

The minister said only people with a maximum monthly income of Rp 2.5 million are allowed to buy the houses.

Last year, the ministry worked together with sharia banks and cooperatives to provide subsidies for 3,933 housing units. The figure was an 800 percent rise from 490 units a year earlier.

Holcim, Mortar join forces to expand horizons

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post) : The third largest cement manufacturer in the country, PT Holcim Indonesia, signed a cooperation agreement Friday with local instant cement manufacturer PT Cipta Mortar Utama.

"We've had a long relationship with Mortar and with this co-branding cooperation I hope we can expand our markets by combining our distribution networks," Holcim president director Tim Mackay said before signing the agreement.

Mortar generally focuses on commercial construction projects, such as the Ritz Carlton and ITC Permata Hijau, while Holcim mainly works in the country's retail sector, especially on housing projects.

Mortar's general marketing manager Jun Suryo Wardhana said the instant cement market was still small in Indonesia, making up only 20 percent of the country's entire cement market.

The primary components in instant cement include silica sand, cement and filler.

Jun said one of the benefits of using instant cement was that people did not have to add sand.

Holcim's production capacity currently stands at 7.9 million tons per year, while Mortar's annual capacity is 600,000 tons.

The Indonesian Association of Cement Producers (ASI) said domestic cement consumption rose last year by 6.6 percent to 34.17 million tons from 32.05 million tons in 2006. (ndr)

Friday, January 18, 2008

More talking needed: Urban observers

Evi Mariani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Every year evictions are carried out in Jakarta in the same way they have been carried out for years.

As part of this process, the administration decides to clear an area and sends in public order officers and bulldozers to make sure residents and traders leave.

Most of the time the process is far from satisfactory, achieving none of the administration's desired results.

The Jakarta Post recently spoke with traders and residents who had experienced being evicted from two areas in the capital.

On Jl. Urip Sumoharjo in East Jakarta, vendors were blamed for causing constant traffic jams. Once they were evicted from the area, the traffic congestion eased slightly.

However, eventually many of the evicted residents decided to return to the area, remaining there until this day.

On Jl. Pancoran in Glodok, West Jakarta, an eviction a few years ago also proved to be a waste of time, with many vendors continuing to trade in the area.

Two urban observers also shared their opinions on evictions in Jakarta with the Post. Parwoto is a housing and community development specialist at the World Bank and Azas Tigor Nainggolan is the head of the Jakarta Residents Forum (Fakta).

While Jakarta is constantly changing, the administration never seems to change its stance on forced evictions.

The city is still a long way from embracing participation when it comes to urban development, urban observers say.

Housing and community development specialist with the World Bank, Parwoto, said one of the administration's shortcomings was that it failed to ensure the quality of meetings.

He said the administration often invited people claiming to represent market traders to meetings, without involving the majority of traders in the decision-making process.

"The psychological aspect is important. Street vendors, for example, are seen as being clueless, so in meetings they are not encouraged to speak," Parwoto said.

He said among groups of traders there was usually an elite few who did not represent the interests of their peers.

Parwoto said in many cases, traders or squatters representing the majority could be "bought", after which they would agree on whatever the city or developers wanted.

However, he said even the participatory process of involving a group's representatives in the decision-making process was rare in the city.

"Last time I attended a meeting with city officials regarding urban development was in 2007. They still had the same perspectives about development," Parwoto said.

Separately, Azas Tigor Nainggolan, the head of the Jakarta Residents Forum (Fakta), spoke of similar experiences when dealing with city officials.

"At one stage there were a few mayors who were willing to talk to me. Fakta once spoke with an East Jakarta mayor about improving conditions for sidewalk vendors. The mayor said okay and told me to talk to his subordinates. But the subordinates could not understand what the mayor wanted them to do," Azas said.

Due to such misunderstandings, forced evictions occur again and again, he said.

Parwoto said urban development involved many complicated issues, especially when streets or riverbanks were being cleared. Consequently, the participatory process required skilled, independent facilitators to achieve the best results, he added.

"This process is faster than forced eviction as it draws less resistance," he said.

As an example, he cited a case in Surakarta, Central Java, where local authorities wanted to evict residents from 47 densely populated villages.

"We managed to get residents from one village involved in the participatory process. We held meetings and the residents were willing to take part in new plans for the area," Parwoto said.

Residents from the remaining 46 villages are still engaged in an ongoing conflict with the administration, he said.

"The participatory process takes time. But it is still often faster than forced eviction, especially when land prices are being negotiated. The process is also more sustainable," Parwoto said.

'Lack of coordination hampers growth'

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

There is a visible lack of coordination between the central government and local administrations in the development of the real sector and micro, small and medium businesses, a minister says.

The government, through last year's policy package under Presidential Decree No. 6/2007, plans to accelerate growth in the real sector and strengthen small and medium enterprises, which is expected to boost the country's economy.

However, while most of the programs and measures in the policy package have been wrapped up according to the government's target, the implementation has not gone as planned.

"We acknowledge that there is an information gap between the national and local levels. For instance, when the central government finishes formulating a measure, local administrations still do not know the details," Coordinating Minister for the Economy Boediono said Thursday.

"We will soon address the issue. In this case, we will send a copy of each new measure to local administrations to solve the problem," he said.

Of the 159 measures in the policy package, the government had finished 109 of them as of December last year. It has wrapped up 40 out of 49 measures on investment, 28 out of 36 on the financial sector, 28 out of 34 on SMEs and 13 out of 40 on infrastructure development.

According to Jannes Hutagalung, an expert adviser to the coordinating minister, the government has not been able to finish formulating more measures on infrastructure development because it is waiting for several draft laws to be endorsed by the House of Representatives.

Some bills related to infrastructure, including those on income tax, shipping, public transportation, aviation, electricity and energy, are still being deliberated at the House.

Infrastructure development is seen as a key component of the country's economic growth, as infrastructure projects will create jobs and reduce transportation costs, which will lower the prices of goods.

This year, Jannes said, the government would discuss a new policy to further support the development of infrastructure and the growth of SMEs.

He also said the Finance Ministry hoped by the end of 2008 to roll out nationally the "national single window system" currently in use at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta.

Under this system, which was introduced in December, port officials can provide quicker customs service and cargo clearance because all documents are processes electronically.

The government expects the national single window system to be integrated in 2009 with the ASEAN single window system to facilitate trade between ASEAN countries. (adt)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ciputra plans new Rp 7t project

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Publicly listed property company PT Ciputra Property plans to invest Rp 7 trillion (US$747.36 million) on an integrated shopping mall, hotel and apartment project in Jakarta.

President director Candra Ciputra said Tuesday the project would underline the reputation of the Ciputra Group as one of the country's main property companies.

"The total investment for the project is realistic as we have in our possession some Rp 2 trillion in internal cash, and assets worth Rp 8 trillion," said Candra during a groundbreaking ceremony for the project.

He said the firm would only seek Rp 230 billion in loans for the development.

The project, dubbed "Ciputra World", is expected to be completed in 2010, with the company spending some $300 million for the first phase of construction.

Located on Jl. Prof. Dr. Satrio in South Jakarta, the project is expected to be wrapped up in three phases.

According to the firm's director, Artadinata Djangkar, some Rp 400 billion will be spent this year on the development.

"Through an initial public offering back in November last year, our company raised 2.1 trillion in proceeds. Some Rp 1.6 trillion of that will be used to finance the project," he said.

As a result of the new project, the company expects to triple its revenue to some Rp 750 billion this year, up from Rp 280 billion last year and Rp 268.87 billion in 2006, he said.

"Our revenue is mainly from leasing apartment units, mall outlets and hotel chains. Our average annual growth revenue is around 6 percent. But this year we're expecting more revenue from this new project," said Artadinata.

Ciputra World, which will be built on 5.5 hectares of land, will consist of a six-floor shopping mall, 290 apartments, a 200-room hotel, with 80 luxury apartments on its top floors, as well as office space and a five-story parking lot.

"One hundred and fifty of the apartment units are for leasing, and 140 units for selling. The price tag for will be around Rp 2 billion each," said Artadinata.

Ciputra Property owns Ciputra Mall & Hotel in West Jakarta and Semarang, and Apartment Somerset Grand Citra in South Jakarta.

The company recorded a profit of Rp 41.47 billion last year, up by 21.6 percent from Rp 34.09 billion in 2006.

Around 51.05 percent of the company's shares are owned by PT Ciputra Development, 0.01 percent by PT Ciputra Graha Mitra and 48.94 percent by the public. (nkn)