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Turkey protests Germany over satirical Erdogan video

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 tribunnews.com 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

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

Govt encourages local production of pharmaceuticals

Wed, 2016-03-30 08:29

A young boy is vaccinated against polo at a 2016 National Immunization Week event at state-owned pharmaceutical company Bio Farma’s headquarters in Bandung, West Java, on Tuesday. (thejakartapost.com/Arya Dipa)

The government hopes to increase locally made pharmaceutical products, ingredients and medical equipment through the 11th economic policy package, which was issued on Tuesday, a minister says.

Two hundred and six companies control 76 percent of the local pharmaceutical industry. Ninety-five companies produce 60 types of pharmaceutical products using middle- to low-tech methods. However, 90 percent of the ingredients are imported.

"Regarding the import-dominated industry and the government program to provide universal health care, the government wants medicine and its ingredients to be made locally," said Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution in Jakarta on Tuesday.

At least 939 types of medicine and supplements were used in the national healthcare program last year, he said. Most were basic remedies, such as painkillers, paracetamol and penicillin and vitamins.

Pharmaceutical sales reached Rp 62.1 trillion (US$4.6 billion) last year. “We want the medicine and ingredients made locally. We will issue a presidential decree to speed up deregulation of the pharmaceutical industry,” Darmin said.

Five product categories will be focused on for local production, he continued, such as biotechnology, vaccines, herbal extracts, active pharmaceutical ingredient and medical devices.

The government will encourage business development in the industry through private investment, synergy between private companies with state-owned enterprises and synergy among state-owned pharmaceutical companies Bio Farma, Indofarma and Kimia Farma.

To support the use of locally produced medicine, the government has removed the pharmaceutical sector from the negative investment list, allowing foreign investors 100 percent ownership. The government will extend e-catalogue and medicinal standard usage and provide a tax holiday, a special economic zone and an integrated logistics center. (ags)

Categories: Indonesian News

Tense commuters, politicians: No more 'normal' in Brussels

Wed, 2016-03-30 08:29

Commuters walk across a pedestrian crossing near Brussels Central Station as they return to work after the easter holidays in Brussels, Tuesday. (AP/Alastair Grant)

One week after the airport and subway attacks in Brussels, Belgium's justice minister on Tuesday pleaded for an end to the political backstabbing about what went wrong in the investigation and handling of violent extremism, as authorities hunted for fresh clues about the network behind the killings and last year's Paris bloodshed.

Investigators are still looking for at least one suspect in the March 22 attacks that killed at least 35 people. Due to Belgium's complex decision-making processes, criticism has grown that the country is a soft target and that its security services are ill-equipped to deal with extremist networks.

"Now is not the time to fight one another. As far as I know, the enemy is in Syria," Justice Minister Koen Geens said Tuesday.

In the wake of the Paris attacks that killed 130 people, Belgium came under intense criticism since much of the atrocity was at least prepared and coordinated in and around Brussels, and several of the attackers were Belgian or had lived in Brussels for a long time.

In recent days, there have been accusations that investigators should have picked up the scent of the attackers well before March 22. One of the suicide bombers, Ibrahim El Bakraoui, had been caught near Turkey's border with Syria in 2015 and Ankara says it had warned Belgium and the Netherlands that he was "a foreign terrorist fighter." Authorities in Brussels said they did not know he was suspected of terror-related activities until after he was deported to the Netherlands.

Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur, who is facing criticism for his own actions before and after the suicide bombings, said in Paris on Tuesday, that "there are certainly some analyses to be done on the investigation. Were there mistakes? Did we miss anything? Certainly. Otherwise these attacks would not have happened."

He said his city, which is headquarters to European Union institutions, could never go back to "normal" again. "There's no such thing as 'normal' anymore. That's a concept we have to revisit."

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo pledged solidarity with Belgium as it begins "a long and painful process of grieving and reconstruction."

The airport has yet to reopen since the attacks but it has been testing a temporary check-in system for use in the coming days. The subway system is mostly running again, though under heavy guard.

The Maelbeek station, hit by a suicide bomber in the morning rush hour, remained closed. One stop away, Franz Alderweireldt, 82, who takes the subway every day, said "I think this is not over."

He said that "when terrorists plan an attack, they will do it no matter what, even if there are dozens or hundreds of soldiers or police on the street."


Helene Franchineau in Brussels contributed.

Categories: Indonesian News

National University to provide digital library

Wed, 2016-03-30 07:00

National University (UNAS) is preparing a digital library that will provide easy access to books, journals, theses, subject gateways, conference proceedings and video learning tools that connect to selected libraries worldwide. (Shutterstock)

National University (UNAS) is preparing a digital library that will provide easy access to books, journals, theses, subject gateways, conference proceedings and video learning tools that connect to selected libraries worldwide.

The university's rector, El Amry Bermawi Putera, said all literature and reading material for lecturers and students would be accessible within the next semester from anywhere, anytime.

Illah Sailah from the Private Universities Coordinating Body (Kopertis) Region III said the launch of the digital library was crucial as higher education institutions in many countries had already provided open courses and allowed people to access their literature online.

By conducting the open course, said Illah, universities would provide open registration that could boost the number of students from other regions, including ASEAN countries. (wir/kes)




Categories: Indonesian News

French president: 3,000 extra staff hired for Euro security

Wed, 2016-03-30 07:00

France's President Francois Hollande (center) shakes hands with Belgium Ambassador to France Vincent Mertens de Wilmars, outside the Belgium embassy, in Paris, Tuesday. (AP/Thibault Camus) 

French President Francois Hollande says private security firms have hired an additional 3,000 people for the European Championship soccer tournament.

After last week's Brussels attacks that killed at least 35 people, French authorities decided to continue with Euro 2016 from June 10-July 10 as planned, including the fan zones where spectators gather to watch games on large screens.

Hollande said 2.5 million people are expected to attend the matches in 10 French cities, and about 5 million are expected to visit the open-air areas.

Referring to the high risks of attacks, Hollande said in a speech to sports professionals in Paris that "we must show that sport, like culture, like our lifestyle, will not yield to this pressure and this threat."

Categories: Indonesian News

Police officer stabbed day after girl decapitated in Taiwan

Wed, 2016-03-30 07:00

A woman prays in front of a makeshift memorial offered with flowers and stuffed animals for a girl who was attacked to death Monday by a knife-wielding assailant outside a subway station in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday. (AP/Chiang Ying-ying)

A transit police officer was stabbed in the head Tuesday a day after a young girl was decapitated in apparently random knife attacks in Taiwan's capital.

The officer attacked at the Xinbeitou subway station in northern Taipei has serious injuries in the head, neck and back. He was taken to a hospital for injuries described as not life-threatening, according to the government's Central News Media and other reports.

A suspect apprehended at the scene was taken in for questioning but no immediate word was given on a possible motive.

Police are also seeking a motive in the attack on the 3-year-old girl who was grabbed from behind by an assailant as she waited with her mother outside another subway station in the capital. The 33-year-old suspect, identified as Wang Ching-yu, had past arrests for drug offenses and had sought treatment for mental illness, according to media reports.

Mourners who gathered Tuesday at the site of the girl's murder in the suburb of Neihu prayed and left flowers and stuffed toys.

Commentators debated possible reasons behind the attack and whether the normally placid island republic of 23 million people was becoming less safe.

The murder has also reignited a debate on whether to end capital punishment on Taiwan as some are campaigning for.

Categories: Indonesian News

Egypt plane drama ends: hijacker arrested, passengers freed

Wed, 2016-03-30 07:00

A passenger leaves a hijacked EgyptAir aircraft after landing at Larnaca Airport in Cyprus Tuesday. (AP/Petros Karadjias)

An Egyptian man who hijacked an EgyptAir plane during a routine domestic flight to Cairo and forced it to land on the island of Cyprus on Tuesday has surrendered and was taken into custody after he released all the passengers and crew.

His surrender ended an hours-long drama and standoff at the Larnaca airport in southern Cyprus. The hijacker had earlier freed most of the passengers but kept seven people — four crew members and three passengers — with him.

Just minutes before the arrest, local TV footage from the airport showed several people disembarking from the aircraft and a man who appeared to be a crew member climbing out of the cockpit window and sliding down the side of the plane.

Alexandros Zenon, the permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry in Cyprus, confirmed the hijacker's surrender and subsequent arrest, saying the situation was "over." The arrest was also reported by Egypt's prime minister, Sharif Ismail, and Civil Aviation Minister Sharif Fathi.

"All passengers and crew are safe," Fathi said on state television.

The man's motivation was unclear, but Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said the hijacking was "not something that has to do with terrorism" and a Cyprus government official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the man "seems [to be] in love."

Anastasiades, appearing alongside European Parliament President Martin Schulz in Nicosia, was asked by reporters whether he could confirm that the incident was about a woman. "Always, there is a woman" involved, he replied, drawing laughter.

A Cyprus police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he's not authorized to disclose details of the situation, says the hijacker walked off the plane and was taken into custody by special anti-terrorist police. The official said the man wore a belt but there were no explosives in it. The Cypriot woman who the hijacker had asked to speak to is his former wife with whom he has four children, the police official said. The hijacker had also complained about the current Egyptian government and had demanded the release of female prisoners from Egyptian jails.

A civil aviation official, also speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't allowed to talk to the media, said the man gave negotiators the name of a woman who lives in Cyprus and asked to give her an envelope. It was not clear if she was his former wife.

The flight MS181 took off from the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria on Tuesday morning en route to Cairo with at least 55 passengers, including 26 foreigners, and a seven-member crew.

An official with flight-tracking website FlightRadar24 said the plane showed no immediate signs of distress. The flight between Alexandria and Cairo normally takes about 30 minutes.

There was also confusion about the hijacker's identity. At a news conference in Cairo, Egypt's Civil Aviation minister, Sharif Fathi, refused to identify him.

Earlier, Egyptian government spokesman Hossam al-Queish said the hijacker was Ibrahim Samaha, but an Egyptian woman who identified herself as Samaha's wife said her husband is not the hijacker and was on his way to Cairo so he could fly to the US to attend a conference.

The woman, who identified herself only as Nahla, told the Egyptian private TV network ONTV in a phone interview that her husband had never been to Cyprus and that a photo on Egyptian and regional TV channels that supposedly showed the hijacker was not him. Later, the official Middle East News Agency gave a different name for the hijacker.

Egypt's state news agency, MENA, later identified the hijacker as Seifedeen Mustafa. The name was confirmed by a senior Cypriot official.

Al-Queish, the government spokesman, also told the private CBC TV network that authorities could not confirm that the hijacker had explosives on him. An earlier statement from the Egyptian Aviation Ministry said the man claimed he had a belt with explosives.

The plane landed at the airport in the southern Cypriot city of Larnaca, also on the Mediterranean. A statement from the Egyptian Civil Aviation Ministry statement said the foreigners on board included eight Americans, four Britons, four Dutch, two Belgians, a French national, an Italian, two Greeks and one Syrian. Three other foreigners could not be identified.

The initial batch of passengers released by the hijacker were seen calmly walking off the plane down a set of stairs, carrying their hand luggage, and boarded a bus parked by the plane's side. Security was tight at the airport, with police repeatedly pushing back reporters and TV news crews working just outside the facility's fence, near where the aircraft stopped.

Police also evacuated the nearby Makenzy beach, a stretch of coast close to the airport and popular with tourists. It was not immediately clear why.

An Egyptian aircraft was expected to later fly to Larnaca so it could bring back the released passengers, according to officials.

The incident raises more questions about security at Egyptian airports, five months after a Russian aircraft crashed over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula minutes after it took off from Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

All 224 people on board were killed in the crash. Russia later said an explosive device brought down the aircraft and the extremist Islamic State group took responsibility.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program Tuesday, said that a "very good question" is whether the man who hijacked the plane Tuesday was able to pass through airport security with a bomb-laden belt.

The hijacking was reminiscent of a deadly 1978 incident that involved Egyptians, planes and Larnaca airport.

The incident arose when two Palestinians assassinated an Egyptian government minister at his hotel in Nicosia. The assailants took hostages and drove to the airport, where they boarded a plane with them. They later returned to Cyprus, where they had an hours-long standoff until an Egyptian C-130 carrying commandos landed at Larnaca airport.

The commandos attempted to storm the Cyprus Airways jet, but were fired upon by Cypriot troops. Many were killed. The Palestinians eventually surrendered. They were arrested, sentenced and released years later.

The incident poisoned Egypt's relations with Cyprus for years. Relations eventually improved, but it was Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in office since June 2014, who has forged close ties with Cyprus. El-Sissi and Anastasiades frequently confer in person or on the phone. They spoke by phone Tuesday about the hijacking.


Hendawi reported from Cairo. Maggie Michael in Cairo contributed to this report.

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