If they noticed the recently concluded meeting in Bali for the foreign ministers from East Asia and Latin America, observers might just have shrugged. More than 12 years since it started, the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) has not caught attention — not compared to, say, the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Yet even without headlines, the real relationship has grown.
The government has arranged some compensation programs to provide relief to the poor and near poor affected by the fuel price hike following the House of Representatives’ approval of the revised state budget on Monday. This compensation is designed to anticipate an increase in the poverty rate.
At a market in Yogyakarta, a man sells stickers of Soeharto’s portrait with a caption in Javanese roughly translated as “Do you still remember the good times of my era?” The sticker is not ironic and it can be found frequently on the back of cars, trucks and motorcycles.
Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao is often said to be the Che Guevara of the country. His charisma and charm helped him escape troubled times before his nation gained independence. Perhaps one day he might realize his dream to become a pumpkin farmer and persuade neighboring countries to accept Timor Leste as a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Soon after political leader Lutfhi Hasan Ishaaq and his crony Ahmad Fatanah were arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), the mainstream media, on behalf of the Indonesian public, cried out at the extent of corruption at the Agriculture Ministry.
A gathering of some 200 chief editors in Nusa Dua, Bali last week had a number of noble objectives. They included a “campus media empowerment program, capacity-building for local journalists, as well as infrastructure assistance to improve education in remote areas nationwide.”
The world has collectively sighed in relief on witnessing the change seeping into Iran following the surprise victory of reformist-backed presidential candidate Hasan Rohani, although some of Iran’s long-time foes — like Israel — have warned the international community against any wishful thinking about new developments unfolding in the Islamic republic.
Despite persistent political noise over the alleged malfeasance in the November 2008 bailout of Bank Century (now renamed Bank Mutiara), the bank has made remarkable progress over the past two years, with its equity capital rising to Rp 1.4 trillion (US$140 million) from minus Rp 2.2 trillion and capital adequacy ratio exceeding 11 percent, an astronomical increase from minus 36 percent.
It was a bitter farewell for national badminton player Taufik Hidayat when he was forced to make an early exit at the Djarum Indonesia Open before the home crowd. Losing to Indian qualifier Sai Praneeth 15-21, 21-12, 21-17 in the first round of the tournament was not an expected finale to his career, which saw him win six Indonesia Open champion titles.
The dispute over the contract between the Jakarta city administration and PT Pam Lyonnaise Jaya (Palyja) has become so serious that the administration has signaled that it will unlikely continue its partnership with the tap water operator, which serves the western part of the capital city. The eastern part of the city is served by PT Aetra Air Jakarta.
It is wonderful to know that Scottish oil drilling expert Malcolm Primrose was released unharmed 48 hours after his abduction by a group of unknown gunmen in East Aceh on Tuesday. But the kidnapping attempt itself, reportedly over a huge ransom, is embarrassing for a province in dire need of new finds to renew the oil and gas industry as it peters out.
The General Elections Commission (KPU) deserves a thumbs-up for its courage to uphold the rules of the game for the 12 political parties contesting the 2014 legislative election. Law No. 8/2010 on elections clearly requires the parties to meet the 30 percent quota for female candidates, therefore the disqualification of eight parties in several electoral districts for their failure to do so is a bold move that we support.
We could easily blame the steep fall in the rupiah exchange rate to below 10,000 to the US dollar and the 3.5 percent decline in local share prices on Tuesday on the US Federal Reserve’s plan to tighten its monetary policy, assuring the public that our economy remains robust with one of the highest growth rates in the world.