Indonesian News

Cupcake ReSolution Spreading a sense of hope

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 11:00

Cupcake ReSolution is making a difference in a big way even if it still has a long road ahead.

Cupcake ReSolution — a social impact initiative that aims to help less-fortunate children rightfully claim their birth certificates, a process that is far more challenging than it should be — was co-founded by Fatya Azlika and Patrice Madurai in 2015, just two years after the latter started the initiative in South Africa to help identity-less children there.

The two initially met in Den Haag, the Netherlands in 2012, when Fatya was chairing the Economic and Social Council at the European International Model UN, in which Madurai was a delegate.

It only made sense for an Indonesia-focused version of the initiative.

“Demographically speaking, Indonesia and Africa share the same characteristics and problems regarding children with no identities,” explains Fatya,

“Both are experiencing obstacles to creating proper and equal access for health and education for all children. Feeling truly inspired and challenged, the idea came to me to establish Cupcake ReSolution in Indonesia.”

The question is of course what exactly does cupcakes have to do with all of this? For the founders, it has to do with giving the children a tangible sign of hope.

Fatya considers hope and dreams as something taught to us from an early age, ever since we blew out birthday candles as children while wishing for things.

However, for these children, she said wishes, hopes and dreams are something so distant and impossible to reach. Consequently, these kids will never be aware of their rights and how special they are.

Sweet treat: Children enjoy their cupcakes during Cupcake ReSolution’s campaign. The social impact initiative works to restore hope and help children who are not issued birth certificates after being born.

“With a cupcake, we are trying to spread a sense of hope, love and happiness by providing an opportunity for children to blow out their very own candle, eat their very own cupcake and start dreaming and wishing for a brighter future,” Fatya says.

“For the kids, it will begin a mindset shift to start believing in dreams and wishes. For us, it is a gesture of love and care and sound out a movement to raise awareness.”

To set things up, Fatya and Madurai began brainstorming, conducting research, as well as onsite surveys and interviews. They formed a community called Katalisator Kesetaraan or Gender Catalyst (KATASETA) and proposed Cupcake ReSolution as the first project they would tackle.

“Our main goal is simple, to bring equality — in terms of basic rights for education and health — for all children in Indonesia so that they will have a better future,” Fatya says.

The first ever Cupcake ReSolution was conducted in Jakarta on Nov. 29 last year with 50 houses visited and 300 cupcakes successfully distributed.

It’s not just about distributing cupcakes — Cupcake ReSolution’s main job is to find a way through the country’s notoriously ineffective bureaucracy. Thanks to Cupcake ReSolution, other several improvements have been implemented. For one, the issuance of birth certificates is now free of charge.

However, Fatya said there are apparently still fraudulent practices occurring as identified by the village neighborhood (RT) level, from which people still need their authority to issue supporting letters for registration.

As the complications of registration stays the same, she said, birth certificates require seven government-issued documents. In some circumstances, lack of awareness coupled by stigmatization are hampering the process of birth certificate registration.

“[The] best approach is to streamline and to digitize the process of birth certificate registration. With this approach, we believe that the birth certificate registration process can [improve its efficiency] significantly,” Fatya says.

For Fatya and Madurai, giving the children access to their birth certificate will lead them away from the many challenges they would face otherwise.

“The issues are limitless for the kids and also for Indonesia. First, millions of births are not registered in Indonesia so these children don’t have legal identities. This situation condemns them to anonymity, and often being marginalized, because simple activities — from opening a bank account, claiming basic health services or attending good schools — often requires a legal identity,” explains Fatya.

Simply put, children with birth certificates will have better access to basic health services and education. Consequently, better educational outcomes would result.

However, she says, Indonesia still lacks accurate data to effectively plan, budget and deliver health and education services to children — with between 50 and 75 percent of Indonesian children not having birth certificates.

“Finally, most importantly, these ‘invisible children’ will often lose hope and lose sight for a better future, which will trap them forever in the vicious cycle of poverty. Therefore, we need to fully be in the spirit of attaining the MDGs [Millennium Development Goals] in which we strongly need to eradicate poverty.”

— Photos courtesy of Cupcake ReSolution

Categories: Indonesian News

Commentary: Jokowi’s hardball may mothball Masela gas project until 2022

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 11:00

President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo’s decision to choose an onshore liquefaction process for the giant Masela gas project could be right for domestic political consumption.

But his hardball approach and policy inconsistency, without taking into account the prevailing weak oil-market conditions, could jeopardize the commercial viability of the whole Masela LNG project gas development in southern Maluku.

That was our main reading of the President’s decision last Wednesday to select an onshore liquefaction (OLNG) concept for the Masela project, which sits on almost 11 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in the Arafura Sea.

His decision overrules the recommendations of the SKKMigas upstream oil and gas regulatory body, his energy and mineral resources minister and the oil and gas contractors, Inpex-Shell, which all chose a floating LNG (FLNG) concept.

Ordering Inpex-Shell to go back to the drawing board to prepare an OLNG project will possibly postpone the final investment decision on the project until 2022, almost three years after a new government takes over.

Both Inpex and Shell say they have not received the final documents on the President’s decision, so were unable to make any meaningful comment, except confirming that the project would suffer another delay.

But analysts have noted that since this is a huge project, Inpex-Shell will certainly conduct a disciplined approach to see whether the OLNG project will be consistent with their requirements for a development concept that is commercially robust across a range of scenarios.

Wood Mackenzie consulting company observed in its latest report that “ the decision to go onshore will not only extend the time to first gas [delivery] but also brings into questions Inpex and partner Shell’s commitment to the project”.

Inpex-Shell had previously looked into both OLNG and FLNG options but had selected a FLNG concept because it would cost over US$7 billion less than the estimated $22 billion for an OLNG, as well as being faster to develop.

They will certainly ask for more incentives to make the project commercially viable and bankable, but these additional incentives could wipe out most of the economic advantages (multiplier impacts) Jokowi had in mind when he chose an OLNG over a FLNG.

Upstream oil and gas analysts here estimate that Inpex-Shell will need at least two years to conduct another environmental impact analysis, another one year for a more detailed feasibility study on the OLNG and one year more for finalizing its final plan of development (POD).

Even if the government speeds up approval of the POD, the oil companies will still need another two years to seek potential buyers and lenders. Hence analysts predict Inpex-Shell will not make a final investment decision until 2022. If the contract for the project’s front-end engineering design is awarded within one year later, engineering, procurement and construction will start only in 2023 and the plant will come on-stream in 2029.

The main predicament in this process is that Inpex-Shell will have to negotiate an extension of the Masela block concession, which will end in 2028, because even under the original POD for a FLNG, as proposed by the contractors, the project had been scheduled to start production only in 2024/2025.

Fortunately, though, the extension of an oil and gas production contract can be negotiated 10 years before its end. But negotiations for the contract’s extension are unlikely to start in 2018, an election year, when inordinately strong nationalist sentiments heat up campaigns.

The negotiation process will also plunge the project into political and social quagmire, as the Maluku provincial and regency administrations, as well as state-owned Pertamina oil company, may demand a piece of the huge gas-resource pie.

Since this is a gas business and all the risks are to be borne by Inpex-Shell, commercial viability is the key to determining whether the project will advance to the implementation stage or end up mothballed.

The main question then is who will buy the gas and at what prices and for how long. When it comes to the LNG market, many analysts have predicted a market glut within the next 10-15 years, with an estimated additional capacity of 50 million tons a year to come on stream, mainly in Australia, the US, Africa and Malaysia.

The day Jokowi announced his choice of OLNG for Masela, newspapers in Australia reported that Woodside Petroleum and its partners, including Shell, had shelved plans to build the $30 billion Browse floating LNG project off Australia in the face of global oversupply. The decision means there are no longer any major gas export projects under serious consideration in Australia after a $220bn-plus run of investment decisions unprecedented anywhere in the world.

The pace of development of giant gas export schemes has slowed globally, as LNG prices have plummeted with oil prices, prompting many companies to delay funding decisions until business conditions brighten.

In Asia, LNG prices have plunged by 80 percent over the past two years. The basic question then is whether the much larger cost and the more complex development of OLNG justifies spending vast amounts of money at current oil prices below $40/barrel.

Yet more important is whether potential lenders who will put up at least 80 percent of the investment will be convinced that their credit will be returned. After all, most giant oil and gas companies have seen their available funds for development decimated by slumping prices.

Categories: Indonesian News

New product

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 11:00

Insurance firm Panin Dai-ichi Life vice president director Simon Imanto (left) and director Jutany Japit show a promotional poster at the launch of the company’s Premier Heritage Plan on Tuesday in Jakarta. The product is aimed at providing customers with financial protection solutions in the present and future.(JP/DON)

Categories: Indonesian News

Fresh catch

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 11:00

Customers select various types of fish at an auction in Batang regency Central Java. Fish products have been selling for as low as Rp 12,000 (90 US cents) per kilogram this season.(JP/Agus Maryono)

Categories: Indonesian News

Jokowi gives ‘full support’ to taxmen

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 11:00

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has once again extended his support to tax officials carrying out their duties amid the challenges of meeting the government’s high tax-collection target.

On Tuesday morning, the President briefed 56 echelon I and II officials working at the taxation directorate general (DJP) and regional offices. It was his third visit to the DJP since assuming office in October 2014.

“I’ve been here twice before. It means I’m giving full support to all tax officials,” he said in a press conference after the briefing.

Considering that 2016 is the year of law enforcement for tax, such support is needed when tax officials crack down on rich tax evaders, including individuals with strong political ties or affiliations.

“Everybody is equal. If they have not paid their tax obligations, we will make them pay,” Jokowi said.

The former furniture businessman emphasized that tax officials must be supported in order to achieve the tax revenue target as it played a crucial role in financing development.

This year the government is eyeing around Rp 1.36 quadrillion (US$101.79 billion) in tax revenues, an increase of 28.2 percent from the achievement posted in 2015.

Many have said that the target, which is contained in the 2016 state budget, is overly optimistic, citing the ongoing economic slowdown, both global and domestic.

However, the President hinted that a downward revision of the target was under way, saying that the administration did not want to be too optimistic. “We want to be optimistic, but realistic.”

Revision of the state budget is expected to take place between June and July, before which the tax amnesty bill is expected to be passed, House of Representatives Speaker Ade Komarudin has told The Jakarta Post.

The bill is expected to lead to the repatriation of billions of dollars held by Indonesians overseas and result in a multi-billion-dollar boost to state revenues.

However, Jokowi was quick to refute any notion that the government is relying too much on the tax amnesty bill to jack up state revenues, saying: “There’s no such thing as dependence on the tax amnesty […] Tax amnesty or not, we have made the calculations.”

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said that it would turn to individual taxpayers as the basis for future revenues, arguing that they were more immune to economic slowdown compared to corporate taxpayers.

Last year the DJP reaped Rp 9 trillion in individual income tax (PPh), more than double what it obtained in 2014. As the focus is now on individuals, the DJP hopes to see this figure double again this year.

Separately, Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) economists urged the government not to force its tax amnesty plan even though the realization of tax revenues only reached Rp 122.4 trillion by February, a mere 9 percent of the overall target this year in the state budget.

CORE economist Akhmad Akbar Susamto said that although the outlook on meeting the tax-collection target seemed grim, the government should focus on maintaining the fiscal momentum by immediately preparing the revisions for the state budget instead of trying to push the tax amnesty bill.

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Categories: Indonesian News

As Sri goes home, 1,000 Indonesians await in Syria

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 11:00

The rescue of Sri Rahayu from Raqqa — dubbed the capital of the Islamic State (IS) movement — was rather suspenseful.

The 40-year-old domestic worker and native of Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, traveled under the shade of mountains to Aleppo with an employee from the labor agency that hired her, for around six days. They drove away from main roads to avoid suspicion and unwanted encounters.

If they happened to bump into someone in their clandestine journey, the man would introduce Sri — who wore a hijab — as his wife, as being discovered might cost them dearly.

“I couldn’t bring any of my belongings with me. The only thing that mattered was that I arrive in Aleppo safely,” she told a press conference held at the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.

She was picked up by the Indonesian protection and repatriation team midway and sheltered in Aleppo for around three months, before traveling to Damascus on March 12 with the help of Muhamad Abdulkader Akraa, a lawyer hired by the Indonesian embassy who was awarded the Hasan Wirajuda award last year for his dedication to saving Indonesian citizens in Syria.

Sri — who entered Syria in 2011 — was retrieved from Raqqah six months after the Indonesian embassy detected her presence in the city in June 2015 and planned a rescue.

She had worked in the city for over two years, after her contract as a domestic worker in Aleppo expired and the agency that brought her into the country farmed her out to a new employer in Raqqah, some 160 kilometers to the east of Aleppo. The agency lied to her, telling her that the Indonesian embassy had closed after the war.

With mounting terrors — from regular bombings, seeing homes being raided and occupied by IS fighters to witnessing severed heads put on display after a fresh execution — Sri was tempted to flee and contacted a friend in Aleppo, who later forwarded her number to the Indonesian embassy.

Her employer was especially concerned about her safety, she said, after his house was bombed last year. Her employer — who paid her well — had been looking for ways to send her out of town.

“I couldn’t bring any of my belongings with me. The only thing that mattered was that I arrive in Aleppo safely.”

Sri was among 33 Indonesian citizens who made their way home from Syria on Tuesday, flown by the Indonesian protection and repatriation team as the 237th batch evacuated from Syria since 2012.

A total of 12,217 Indonesians have been repatriated from Syria since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, most of whom are domestic workers, according to the Foreign Ministry’s director for the protection of Indonesian nationals and entities abroad, Lalu Muhammad Iqbal.

It was estimated that 12,517 Indonesians resided in Syria in 2012, but the repatriation team’s job was nowhere near done, Lalu told reporters in the conference, as the figure was inflated over the years by possible illegal entries.

“Our latest estimate is that there might be around 1,000 more Indonesians living in Syria,” he said.

In Aleppo, once a thriving city in Syria and currently one of the most dangerous areas in the country, Indonesians might be residing undetected.

However, an exact calculation is impossible as many of them are probably working in shut-in Arab houses and have no access to the outside world, or have moved out of the town with their employees to avoid terror in Aleppo.

Lalu said that the embassy had cooperated with a number of parties, from the local wing of Red Crescent and taxi drivers, to disseminate information for evacuation and to detect the whereabouts of Indonesian

“We are cooperating with cab drivers by giving them pamphlets with our embassy’s contact number written on it, to hand out to passengers that look Indonesian. If possible, we ask the drivers to take them directly to the embassy and we pay them there,” he said.

Maintaining contact with evacuated citizens is also important, he added, as they could be key in locating other Indonesians trapped in the country.

However, not all of them want to go home. Among the difficulties in evacuating Indonesians, he said, was that repatriation was voluntary.

“Some Indonesians live in relatively calm cities, like Damascus, and persevere to continue working there and choose to stay,” he said.

Categories: Indonesian News

Revitalized colonial building stands out in numerous ways

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 09:58

Financial district charm: Olveh building at Jl. Jembatan Batu No. 50 in Pinangsia, West Jakarta. Pinangsia is derived from the Dutch word financieel (financial), showing that the area was a business district in colonial times.(JP/DON)

The latest building revitalized by the Jakarta Old Town Revitalization Corporation (JOTRC) in Kota Tua, West Jakarta, has a unique story and represents an impressive architectural achievement.

Archaeologist Candrian Attahiyat said during a discussion recently that the building, erected in 1921-1922 for Dutch life insurance company Olveh (Onderlinge Levensverzekering Van Eigen Hulp), was not located in the main Batavia (now Kota Tua) old town complex built by the Dutch colonialists and was rather small compared to other colonial buildings.

Candrian said, however, that the building, designed by renowned Dutch architects Richard LA Schoemaker and CP Wolff Schoemaker, was unlike any other. “The building is sexy, beautiful. If you see it from afar, you can recognize it easily.”

Historians have found no valid source to ascertain whether the building was mainly designed by Richard or his brother Wolff.

Candrian said the symmetrical design, its slim figure and the twin tower made the building stand out.

He said the most interesting thing about the building was the original floor that was 90 centimeter below the current one.

“That means the road in front of the building may have been around 120 cm below,” he said.

The archaeologist, who has studied Kota Tua for years, said the building was built near the Chinese community.

“The building itself was in front of a Chinese temple that was actually older than Olveh,” he said.

“The uniqueness of the building lies in the fact that the color was white, ornamented with stained glass,” he said.

However, the preservation team could only save one stained glass window, he added.

The building has two holes on the third floor to place ventilation fans. “However, they were never installed, as they never arrived from the Netherlands,” he said.

Another interesting feature of the building is the balcony. “It is quite advanced for its time, as it is quite wide, almost two meters,” he said. Most balconies without pillars at that time, he said, would only measure around 120 cm.

Olveh was built in an area now called Pinangsia. “Pinangsia was derived from Dutch word financien [financial],” he said.

Insurance company Olveh at the time occupied the third floor only. The first and second floor were leased to other companies.

Candrian said records showed that the opening of the building was celebrated with an ondel-ondel (Betawi giant effigy) performance.

The building was taken over by the Indonesia government in 1961 and handed to state-owned life insurer Jiwasraya.

“The building was abandoned during the 1998 riot, just like other businesses that were shut down at the time,” Candrian explained.

Candrian, who is also the former head of the cultural heritage conservation unit of the Old Town management agency, said the building was unfortunately not listed as a cultural heritage building.

“It is partly my fault. However, we have prepared the documents to register it right away,” he said.

Boy Bhirawa, the architect tasked with revitalizing Olveh, said the biggest challenge in renovating the building was reviving its soul. “Buildings should have souls, so in the end, the city will have a soul,” he said.

Boy said that when he first visited the building, he found the floor had been coated many times. “We dug it out to find the original floor, as we want to restore it,” he said, adding that the coatings had helped protect the original floor.

Boy said, however, that reviving the old surface would put the building at risk of flooding by groundwater in the rainy season.

“We eventually installed a pump to ensure that water can be flushed out of the building,” he said.

Boy said he also considered protecting the bricks, produced in the Netherlands. “We need to plaster the walls to protect the bricks, but it is expensive to use breathing plaster and paint,” he said, adding that the renovation had cost almost Rp 3 billion (US$228,000).

Categories: Indonesian News

Greater Jakarta: Jakarta, Italy to cooperate in fashion, sport

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 09:58

The Jakarta administration is set to cooperate with Italy to develop the local fashion industry.

Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaha Purnama said the city administration would help artists and micro entrepreneurs cooperate with fashion figures from Italy.

“Our artists and entrepreneurs will cooperate with fashion professionals from Italy. We will set up a co-working space near Melati Reservoir in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta,” Ahok said after a meeting with Italian Ambassador to Indonesia Vittorio Sandalli at City Hall on Tuesday as quoted by

Ahok said the city administration hoped the artists and entrepreneurs would be able to participate in the annual Jakarta Fashion Week.

He further explained that Italy was not only known for its fashion but also soccer. Thus, the city administration would send soccer and futsal players as well as other athletes to train in Italy.

Categories: Indonesian News

Editorial: Thorny road to equal rights

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 09:58

Santa Clara, a Catholic church in North Bekasi, east of Jakarta, finally gained a building permit last year, after a process that had taken 18 years. Bekasi Mayor Rahmat Effendi said all requirements had been met; the local chapter of the Inter-Religious Harmony Forum (FKUB) had also issued a recommendation for the church as the congregation had gathered the minimum approval of 60 locals and 90 future users of the house of worship.

However, for the recent Palm Sunday Mass, devotees were still forced to pray in the street, their shophouse too small for the hundreds of attendants. Not only is their church not yet finished; the administration had asked them to suspend construction following protests by hard-line Muslims who demand the permit be revoked. The hard-liners make accusations of, among other things, efforts at Christianization — an oft-trumpeted fears following the traumatic undermining of Islamist influence under former strongman Soeharto — and manipulation of the required signatures.

Witnessing Santa Clara’s fate, other local congregations who have yet to own a church are pessimistic about obtaining permits. Meanwhile, many Muslims are deeply embarrassed by such protests and intimidation. Plenty of devotees are much more comfortable with the Muslims who joined traditional Easter observations, as in Central Java, in the spirit of the national slogan of “unity in diversity”.

Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, who supports the mayor’s decision to issue the permit for Santa Clara, has urged dialogue among disputing parties, suggesting legal measures if needed. But regarding the GKI Yasmin church in Bogor, also in West Java, the mayor has not executed the Supreme Court ruling mandating the church’s construction.

Therefore, though he was just doing his job, Mayor Rahmat is among very few leaders willing to stand up to protesters in the name of religion. In Singkil in Aceh, 13 churches are under pressure to close down by dominant Muslims.

In this latest addition to the long list of appalling treatment of minorities, so far the President’s ministers are consistent with Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s drive to employ “the state’s presence” to end discrimination and human rights violations. Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo also supports the Bekasi mayor’s decision — and more importantly, late last year Tjahjo suggested reducing or even scrapping the requisite to collect signatures for approval. The state should be facilitating the right to worship, Tjahjo said.

Campaigners for Indonesia’s pluralism reiterate that such hardships are rare, and Muslims also report difficulties in building mosques in areas where they are not the majority. But naturally the dominant population does not experience the bulk of such hardship.

If the Santa Clara case goes up to the Supreme Court, the ultimate test will be of President Jokowi, of whether he has greater commitment to upholdingthe constitutional right to freedom of worship than his predecessor. Citing the 2006 ministerial decree on houses of worship, where local leaders have the highest authority, then president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono refused to put his foot down. President Jokowi must encourage the necessary steps to end discrimination and suffering among several minorities — and revoke the 2006 decree altogether.

Categories: Indonesian News

Islands in focus: Farmers attend workshop for certification

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 09:58

Farmers from the Independent Farmers Association are participating in a three-day workshop, organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Agriculture Ministry and Asian Agri palm oil group, aimed at helping them improve production.

Riau Agriculture Agency development division head Muhadi, said the workshop, which began Tuesday, would feature sessions on legality and plantation management, environmental management and farmer organizations.

“The certification is designed to help plantation workers and owners improve the quality of their produce,” he said, adding that those who attended the workshop would receive guidance in implementing what they had learned during the sessions.

“There will also be an audit, and if they are successful, they will be the first independent farmers in Indonesia to receive certification,” he said.

Categories: Indonesian News

Islands in focus: Residents restless after Mt. Sinabung eruption

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 09:58

Residents living around Mount Sinabung in Karo Regency, North Sumatra, are afraid to leave their houses after increasing volcanic activity over the past two days.

On Tuesday, Sinabung erupted at least three times, spewing volcanic ash to heights of up to 2,500 meters and pyroclastic flows reaching as far as 2 kilometers.

A farmer from Gurukinayan village, Warga Sembiring, said he was surprised by the eruption as it had been a while since Sinabung last erupted.

“The eruption this morning was quite large. Many people who had gone to the fields returned home immediately,” he said.

Another local, Ahmad Sitepu, said he hoped that the volcanic activity would decrease soon so residents could return to tending their fields.

Head of the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center’s (PVMBG) Mount Sinabung observation post, Armen Putra, said eruptions would continue in line with the increased seismic activity.

Categories: Indonesian News

Canadian artist transforms into comic characters online

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 09:58

In this March 19 photo, Kay Pike transforms herself using body paint and latex into Superman while live streaming at her home in Calgary, Alberta. The Canadian artist turns her body into different characters for an Internet audience. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

Kay Pike stands in front of a giant mirror, dabs her brush into paint and touches it to her skin.

She'll repeat the motion thousands of times over the next 12 hours as she transforms from a willowy blond artist to dark-haired Superman for viewers following along online. Twice a week, the 28-year-old turns her body into a different character for an Internet audience.

"We don't talk about gender roles on my channel. In fact, when people say, 'You should paint yourself as Superwoman,' I'm like, 'No. I want to paint myself as Superman,'" says Pike, who, when she's done, looks like she could have been ripped from a comic book panel.

Pike is a fan of cosplay, in which participants wear costumes to represent a character from anime, comic books, cartoons, video games or movies.

After sitting as a body paint model for a friend, Pike realized she could still dress up without having to make a costume. She posted a video of her first solo effort on Reddit and it caught the attention of, a live-streaming company in San Francisco.

"One week later, I was live streaming body paint on Twitch."

Pike started in December and already has 163,000 followers on Instagram.

She receives a little advertising money but relies more on donations from viewers and from, a crowdfunding site for artists. There is also cash from her fashion line, which she sells at comic conventions, as well as appearance fees.

"It's like small income from a lot of different places that add up to a mortgage payment."

Superman is a favorite of her husband, Moose, who narrates, reads posts from her followers and runs things behind the scenes.

In between singing along to pop music and answering questions from her followers, Pike gives step-by-step details on how she creates the character.

She was led to painting characters for cosplay "to get out of some mega-social anxiety. Having the fashion line, we're going to the shows, right? I totally, 100 percent could not talk to anyone on the other side of the camera."

Pike refers to all her creations as her "little paint children." She said it would be boring and lonely to do the painting without an audience.

"At the end, it's a little sad to wash it off." (ags)

Categories: Indonesian News

Turkey protests Germany over satirical Erdogan video

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 09:58

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, flanked by Family Affairs Minister Sema Ramazanoglu, left, and Economy Minister Mustafa Elitas, speaks to the media at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, March 29. The German ambassador to Turkey has been summoned to the foreign ministry over the broadcast by German television of a song that pokes fun at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an official said Tuesday. (Kayhan Ozer, Presidential Press Service, Pool via AP)

The German ambassador to Turkey has been summoned to the foreign ministry over a German television broadcast of a song that pokes fun at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Turkish official said Tuesday.

Turkey condemned the satirical video to Ambassador Martin Erdmann during a meeting last week and demanded that the public broadcaster that aired it on March 17 cease showing it, according to a ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government rules.

The German-language song, which can still be seen on broadcaster ARD's website and on social media, alludes to the imprisonment of opposition journalists, authorities' heavy-handed response to protesters and allegations that Turkey prefers to take action against Kurdish rebels rather than the Islamic State group. It features a clip of Erdogan falling off a horse.

Its lyrics include the line: "A journalist who writes something that doesn't suit Erdogan will be in the slammer tomorrow."

Germany's Foreign Ministry confirmed in a statement that its ambassador in Ankara discussed the issue with Turkish diplomats Tuesday and "a few days ago."

"He made clear in these conversations that the rule of law, independence of the judiciary and protection of fundamental freedoms, including freedom of the press and freedom expression, are valuable goods that must be protected together," the ministry said.

The broadcaster made a similar point about freedom of expression.

"That the Turkish government apparently has taken diplomatic action ... is not compatible with our understanding of freedom of the press and opinion," Andreas Cichowicz, the chief editor of NDR television, the ARD regional broadcaster that produced the song, told German news agency dpa. He said NDR hasn't yet received any complaint.

The German Federation of Journalists' chairman, Frank Ueberall, said that Erdogan "apparently has lost his grip."

Ueberal added in a statement that the president's indignation is "laughable" but said people shouldn't overlook the fact that "the persecution of critical journalists is bitter reality in Turkey."

More than 1,800 cases have been opened against people accused of insulting Erdogan since he came to office in 2014, under a previously seldom-used law against insulting the president. Those who have gone on trial include celebrities, journalists and even schoolchildren.

The Turkish official said a number of foreign envoys are being summoned to the ministry for a formal protest about a group of diplomats who last week attended the trial of two opposition journalists.

Erdogan severely criticized the diplomats — including one who posted selfies from the courthouse— accusing them of violating their boundaries and siding with those he said wanted to carry out a "coup" against the government.

Turkey is concerned over "postings on social media that amount to intervention in the independence of the courts and are contrary to the principle of impartiality," the ministry official said. (ags)

Categories: Indonesian News

Building public trust

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 08:29

Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Yuddy Chrisnandi, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, Ombudsman Amzulian Rifai and the Corruption Eradication Commission’s deputy for prevention, Pahala Nainggolan, (from left to right) sign a cooperation pact at the Cabinet Secretariat to improve integrity.(JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

Categories: Indonesian News

Lawmakers split on TNI role in tackling drug crime

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 08:29

Lawmakers are split on the suggested involvement of the Indonesian Military (TNI) in efforts to catch narcotics offenders, with some insisting that law enforcement was not part of the military’s duties, while others appear to support the idea.

Mahfudz Siddiq, who heads House of Representatives Commission I overseeing intelligence, defense and foreign affairs, said the military did not need to enter the civilian realm and should only focus on combating drug use in its own ranks.

“So far, the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and National Police are enough to deal with drug cases,” the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician said on Tuesday.

Commission I deputy chairman TB Hasanuddin of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) said the TNI had no legal basis for interfering with civilian matters and combating drug criminals, as its duty was only to defend the country.

“If they directly take action against civilians, it means they are violating the law. Combating drugs is part of the task of law enforcers, such as the police, not the military. If they want to act like a law enforcement institution, we need to deal first with the regulations,” Hasanuddin said.

He went on to say that it was almost impossible to revise the military law because it would collide and contradict with other laws related to law enforcement.

However, he added, the TNI were permitted to support the work of the police in certain situations, such as in conducting arrests.

The idea to open the door for the military to join the war on drugs was brought up by BNN chief Budi Waseso on Monday. He said the government should enlist military force in eradicating drug criminals in response to the drug emergency.

“The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and National Police are enough to deal with drug cases.”

“If the state declared a war against drug crime, it means we are in a state of war, in which the military also has the authority to engage,” Budi said as quoted by news agency Antara.

According to him, TNI personnel could help detention officers guard convicts. He cited the TNI’s good performance outside their military tasks, such as teaching in remote areas and helping the government accelerate the construction of road projects in Papua.

Budi contended that drug cases posed a “threat” to national security, as drug smugglers often traveled in and out of the country, so repressive action by the TNI would be acceptable.

He said cooperation between the BNN and the TNI could take the form of BNN providing data on targets to the TNI, so that the latter could take action. It could be like the “Petrus [mysterious shooters] killings”, Budi said, referring to the execution-style killings committed between 1982 and 1985.

“Why do I think so? Because we don’t need to humanize drug smugglers, as they don’t humanize other people,” Budi said.

Golkar Party lawmaker Adies Kadir agreed that the drug emergency had become a threat to the country, thus requiring extraordinary actions.

“Drug smugglers are more dangerous than terrorists, because they destroy and kill younger generations slowly, so it’s no longer only a civilian problem,” Adies said.

Another Golkar politician, Meutya Hafid, said the police could request help from the TNI if needed, so could the BNN, and it did not matter, as long as it did not disturb the TNI’s main duty.

“Nothing’s wrong with the BNN’s idea. The BNN must know what and when it needs. Moreover, asking help from the military doesn’t always relate to weaponry use. It can be exchanging information,” Meutya said.

Categories: Indonesian News

National scene: Film industry workers inspire teens

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 08:29

The Culture and Education Ministry has invited reputable film industry workers to schools to share their personal stories and experiences in working in cinema. The program is aimed at inspiring teenage students to achieve their dreams.

The ministry’s film development head, Maman Wijaya, said the program, dubbed “Cinema Inspiring Classes” (KIS), came from Minister Anies Baswedan and that film industry workers, including actors, scriptwriters and directors, could better engage young people.

Two-day classes will be held at schools that meet the ministry’s criteria and are recommended by the education agencies.

“The first session will see 300 students learning about the journeys of the speakers, while a smaller 20-person session will be for students interested in film,” Maman said on Tuesday. “We’ll apparently review this criteria to also accommodate smaller schools with students from low-income families,” he went on to say.

Categories: Indonesian News

Chronic congestion costs big cities Rp 35t a year

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 08:29

Men work on the light rapid transit project (LRT) in Jakarta on Monday. The Jakarta administration is spending Rp 4 trillion (US$299.68 million) on the LRT, which will connect Jakarta and its satellite cities.(Antara/M. Agung Rajasa)

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo intends to accelerate the construction of mass transportation systems in big cities to ease chronic traffic congestion, which costs Jakarta and Bandung, West Java, trillions of rupiah in losses a year.

The government is pressing ahead with the construction of light rapid transit (LRT) networks in several cities as one way to tackle traffic jams.

"Every year, we suffer losses of Rp 35 trillion [US$2.62 billion]. Therefore, LRT development is necessary because we don’t want to lose more money because of traffic congestion," Jokowi said when opening a limited Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Office on Tuesday.

Based on government data, annual losses cause by traffic congestion comprise Rp 28 trillion in Jakarta and Rp 7 trillion in Bandung.

LRT networks will be built in Palembang in South Sumatra, Bandung and Greater Jakarta, connecting Jakarta, Depok and Bekasi. Construction of the LRT is currently under way, as is a Jakarta MRT and a high-speed railway between Jakarta and Bandung.

Once completed, the various modes of mass transportation will be integrated.

"The various modes of mass transportation will be integrated, including the MRT, the LRT, the commuter line, the busway, the airport train and the high-speed train," the president said.

Accelerating construction of mass transportation is deemed important as the President wants the projects completed in time for Jakarta to host the 2018 Asian Games.

He has also instructed his administration to solve all issues related to permits, technicalities and licenses pertaining to spatial planning and problems concerning the overlapping of LRT and overpass construction.

State-owned developer Adhi Karya has been appointed to build LRT two routes in Jakarta. They are the 24-kilometer line connecting Cibubur to Cawang in East Jakarta and the 18-kilometer line connecting Bekasi Timur to Cawang and Dukuh Atas in Central Jakarta. (rin)

Categories: Indonesian News

An infant's 5-month life points to hunger's spread in Yemen

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 08:29

The watered grave of Udai Faisal who died of severe acute malnutrition is marked only by stones, at a graveyard in Hazyaz village, on the southern outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen, Monday. (AP/Hani Mohammed)

The baby was born in war, even as planes blasted his village in Yemen. Five months later, Udai Faisal died from war: His skeletal body broke down under the ravages of malnutrition, his limbs like twigs, his cheeks sunken, his eyes dry.

He vomited yellow fluid from his nose and mouth. Then he stopped breathing.

"He didn't cry and there were no tears, just stiff," said his mother, Intissar Hezzam. "I screamed and fainted."

The spread of hunger has been the most horrific consequence of Yemen's war since Saudi Arabia and its allies, backed by the United States, launched a campaign of airstrikes and a naval blockade a year ago in a fight against Shiite rebels. The impoverished nation of 26 million, which imports 90 percent of its food, already had one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world, but in the past year the statistics have leaped.

The number of people considered "severely food insecure" — unable to put food on the table without outside aid — went from 4.3 million to more than 7 million, according to the World Food Program. Ten of the country's 22 provinces are classified as one step away from famine.

Where before the war around 690,000 children under five suffered moderate malnutrition, now the number is 1.3 million. Even more alarming are the rates of severe acute malnutrition among children — the worst cases where the body starts to waste away — doubling from around 160,000 a year ago to 320,000 now, according to UNICEF estimates.

Exact numbers for those who died from malnutrition and its complications are unknown, since the majority were likely unable to reach proper care. But in a report released Tuesday, UNICEF said an estimated 10,000 additional children under five died of preventable diseases the past year because of the breakdown in health services, on top of the previous rate of nearly 40,000 children a year.

"The scale of suffering in the country is staggering," UNICEF said in the report, and the violence "will have an impact for generations to come."

The Saudi-led coalition launched its campaign on March 26, 2015, aiming to halt the advance of Shiite rebels known of Houthis who had taken over the capital, Sanaa, and stormed south. The Houthi advance was halted. But they continue to hold Sanaa and the north. In the center of the country, they battle multiple Saudi-backed factions supporting the internationally recognized government that tenuously holds the southern city of Aden.

The fighting and the heavy barrage of airstrikes have killed more than 9,000 people, including more than 3,000 civilians, according to the UN Human Rights Office. More than 900 children have been killed and more than 1,300 wounded, 61 percent of them in airstrikes, according to UNICEF.

Coalition airstrikes appear to be "responsible for twice as many casualties as all other forces put together," Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said. The coalition argues that the rebels often use civilians and civilian locations as shields for their fighters.

Around 2.3 million people have been driven from their homes. Strikes have destroyed storehouses, roads, schools, farms, factories, power grids and water stations. The naval blockade, enforcing a UN arms embargo on the rebels, has disrupted the entry of food and supplies.

The ripple effects from war have tipped a country that could already barely feed itself over the edge. The food, fuel and other supplies that do make it into the country are difficult to distribute because trucks struggle to avoid battle zones or need to scrounge for gas.

The fate of Udai illustrated the many factors, all exacerbated by war, that lead to the death of an infant.

His family lives off the pension that Udai's father, Faisal Ahmed, gets as a former soldier, about US$200 a month for him, his wife and nine other children ranging from 2 years old to 16. He used to sometimes work construction, but those jobs disappeared in the war. With food prices rising and supplies sporadic, the family eats once a day, usually yoghurt and bread, peas on a good day, said Udai's parents, both in their 30s.

The day Udai was born, warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition were striking an army base used by Houthi rebels in their district of Hazyaz, a shantytown on the southern edge of Sanaa. Shrapnel hit their one-bedroom house where Udai's mother was in labor.

"She was screaming and delivering the baby while the bombardment was rocking the place," the father said.

Hezzam breastfed her newborn son for about 20 days, but then her milk stopped, likely from her own malnutrition. Even after childbirth, she had to collect firewood for the mud brick stove at the doorstep of her house. Like much of the country, electricity has long been knocked out in their neighborhood, either because of airstrikes or lack of fuel, and there's rarely cooking gas.

"I go every day to faraway places to search for the wood then carry it home on my head," she said.

The family turned to formula to feed Udai, but it wasn't always available and they couldn't always afford it. So every few days, Udai got formula and the other days he would get sugar and water. Water trucks occasionally reach the area, but otherwise his parents had to use unclean water. In the past year, the number of people without regular access to clean water has risen from 13 million people to more than 19 million, nearly three-quarters of the population.

Within three months, Udai was suffering from diarrhea. His father took him to local clinics but they either didn't have supplies or he couldn't afford what they did have. Finally, on March 20, he made it to the emergency section at al-Sabeen Hospital.

Udai was suffering from severe malnutrition, diarrhea and a chest infection, said Saddam al-Azizi, head of the emergency unit. He was put on antibiotics and a feeding solution through the nose.

The AP saw Udai at al-Sabeen on March 22. His arms were convulsing, his emaciated legs motionless, his face gaunt and pale. When he cried, he was too dehydrated to produce tears. At around five months old, he weighed 2.4 kilograms.

"Unstable," his chart read for every day he'd been there.

Two days later, his parents took him home. His father told the AP it was because the doctors told them it was hopeless, and he complained the staff was not giving him enough treatment. Al-Azizi said he suspected it was because the family couldn't afford the medicines. The hospital stay is free, but because medicines are in such short supply, families must pay for them, he said.

"It was a mistake to take him out," he said. The treatment needed time to work.

Still, al-Azizi had given Udai only a 30 percent chance of survival.

Al-Sabeen was already dealing with dozens of malnourished children. In the first three months of the year, it has treated around 150 children with malnutrition, double the same period last year, al-Azizi said. Around 15 died, not counting Udai.

Some parents managed to get there from remote parts of the country. One woman described walking for four days from her mountain village outside Sanaa, carrying her emaciated daughter, who at two years old weighed only four kilograms (8.8 pounds).

Mohammed Ahmed brought his son here from the city of Ibb because the hospital there had no supplies. He drove the 90 miles (150 kilometers) through rebel checkpoints while warplanes struck, he said. His 10-month-old son Marwan, after 15 days in the hospital, now weighs 3.5 kilograms (7.7 pounds).

Hospitals and clinics around the country have suffered shortages of medicines and fuel, meaning millions live in areas that have virtually no medical care. UNICEF said nearly 600 health facilities nationwide have stopped working.

The Saudi-led coalition allows humanitarian flights bringing medical supplies as well food and water in to Sanaa as well as shipments into Hodeida port, the closest one to the capital. But getting the supplies around the country is difficult. Even pre-war transportation infrastructure was poor, and now trucks often can't get through battle zones. Drivers fear getting hit by airstrikes or have to scrounge to obtain expensive gas.

Hospitals and clinics have been hit by airstrikes or caught up in fighting. In the battlefield city of Taiz, the Yemeni-Swedish Hospital for Children was damaged as rebels and Saudi-backed fighters fought over it. Parents had to rush their children being treated there back to their homes, and their fate is unknown.

Udai hardly lasted three hours after being brought home, his parents said. Ahmed, his father, said he blames Saudi Arabia's air campaign for his son's death.

"This is before the war," he said, holding up his 2-year-old son Shehab to show the difference between a child born before the war and after.

They buried the infant at the foot of the mountains nearby. His father read the Quran over the tiny grave marked only by rocks, reciting, "On God we depend."


Michael reported from Cairo. Associated Press Writers Maad Al-Zikry in Sanaa, Yemen, and Lee Keath in Cairo contributed to this report.


Categories: Indonesian News

Four killed after police accidentally detonate grenade

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 08:29

Police officers remove the body of Brig. Haidir, a member of Southeast Sulawesi Police Mobile Brigade, who died in a blast in Haluoleo University in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi on Tuesday. Four people died and eight were injured in a grenade explosion during security training for the University's security staff. (Antara/Jojon)

A Police officer accidentally detonated a hand grenade during a security workshop in Haluoleo University in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi on Tuesday leaving four people dead and eight others injured.

The grenade exploded at around 3:30 p.m. while Adj. First Insp. Syafrudin, a member of the police's bomb disposal squad Gegana, was explaining to the public university's security officers about bomb materials in a workshop, newsportal reported.

As part of demonstration, Brig. Haidir, a member of Southeast Sulawesi Police Mobile Brigade, pulled out the grenade pin and was showing it to the participants when the grenade exploded.

The blast took Haidir's life and three members of the university's security staff, identified as Jufri, Aswan and Kamarudin. Syafrudin and seven security personnel were injured in the explosion.

Southeast Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Agung Sabar Santoso said the police were currently investigating the cause of the blast.

The dead and injured were taken to Bhayangkara Police Hospital in Kendari.

The incident took place during a two-week training workshop for the security staff of Haluoleo University. (afr/rin)

Categories: Indonesian News

Obama seeing China leader as South China Sea tensions rise

Jakarta Post Latest News - Wed, 2016-03-30 08:29

President Barack Obama meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Le Bourget, France, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP/Evan Vucci)

President Barack Obama will be meeting with Asian leaders in Washington this week as fears grow that long-smoldering tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in the South China Sea risk flaring into conflict.

World leaders, including those from China, Japan and South Korea, will be in town for a summit hosted by Obama on nuclear security — the final round in the US president's drive for international action to stop materials that could be used for an atomic weapon or dirty bomb from getting into terrorist hands.

But other pressing security issues will be up for discussion on the sidelines of the two-day gathering that starts Thursday.

Obama will on Thursday meet separately with China's President Xi Jinping at a time when frictions between the two world powers over China's island-building in strategic waters are growing and look set to intensify with an upcoming ruling from an international tribunal on Beijing's sweeping territorial claims.

The US president is also meeting with the leaders of Japan and South Korea. Washington is looking for an elusive unity between its core allies in Asia as threats from North Korea reach fever-pitch after Pyongyang was stung with tough sanctions in response to its recent nuclear test and rocket launch.

Obama will be urging China to implement the UN sanctions it signed up to for use against North Korea, its traditional ally. For his part, Xi will want the US to restart negotiations with the authoritarian government of Kim Jong Un, which has been touting progress in miniaturizing nuclear devices and missile technology that could directly threaten America.

With Obama's presidency in its final year, there's uncertainty among Asian nations on what the next administration will portend. Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is calling for Japan and South Korea to pay more for US military protection, and is advocating a tougher trade policy toward China.

During his seven years in office, Obama has deepened engagement with Asia, despite the huge distraction of chaos in the Middle East. The US and China have cooperated on issues like climate change and nuclear security, even as their strategic rivalry has grown. The US is a major player in China's fast-growing nuclear industry, and this month, the US and China opened a center in Beijing to train technicians and scientists from across the Asia-Pacific on nuclear security.

But when Obama and Xi meet, the hottest topic will be the most divisive one: China's bold pursuit of its sweeping territorial claims in the South China Sea.

China has reclaimed more than 3,000 acres (1,200 hectares) of land in the past two years near sea lanes crucial for world trade. On these artificial islands, Beijing has installed airstrips and other military facilities that US intelligence assesses will enable China to project offensive military power in the region by early next year.

Despite conflicting territorial claims from five other Asian governments, China contends it has a historic right to most of the South China Sea and maintains the US has no business there. It accuses the US of stoking tensions by sending military ships and planes through the area on freedom of navigation maneuvers.

"Washington should know that the more provocative moves it makes against China, the more counter-measures Beijing will take. Such an undesirable cycle may push both sides nearer confrontation and cause both to prepare for the worst-case scenario, potentially making it self-fulfilling," the US edition of the state-supported China Daily said in a recent editorial.

The stakes are set to rise by mid-year when an international arbitration body is set to rule on a case brought by the Philippines challenging the legal basis of the nine-dash line — Beijing's rough demarcation of its claims.

If the Hague-based tribunal rules in the Philippines' favor, as most experts anticipate, it could undermine China's insistence that its stance is consistent with international law. China has refused to participate in the arbitration and says it will ignore the ruling, but a growing number of countries say both parties should be bound by it.

Jeffrey Bader, Obama's former principal adviser on Asia, wrote in a commentary ahead of the summit that there's concern in Washington and the region about how China might react to the ruling, and whether it will militarily challenge Filipino territorial claims. He said that as the Philippines is a US ally, Obama "may warn Xi of the risks of escalation."

The last time Xi visited Washington, in September, he publicly said that China did not intend to pursue militarization in the Spratly islands where most of the land reclamation has happened — a statement that US officials remind Beijing of at every opportunity. But in recent weeks, China has reportedly positioned more military equipment on disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Categories: Indonesian News
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