BREAKING NEWS: Regions on full alert after deadly Jakarta attack

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Breaking News 15-1

In response to the deadly terrorist attack that struck #Jakarta on Thursday, local police and military institutions in the country’s major cities have stepped up security precautions at various high-profile locations including consulates, malls and five-star hotels, in order to prevent similar such incidents from occurring elsewhere in Indonesia.

In Denpasar, Bali, police and military personnel intensified patrols in popular tourist districts such as Kuta, Seminyak and Nusa Dua, soon after the attack happened in Jakarta. Dozens of armed police were also seen securing the Australian consulate-general on Jl. Tantular, Denpasar, and the US consulate-general on Jl. Hayam Wuruk.

Bali Police are also tightly monitoring the main entrances to the popular resort island.

Bali Police chief Insp. Gen. Sugeng Priyanto emphasized that Bali was still safe and that there were not yet any intelligence reports of a possible terrorist attack targeting the island.

“As of now, [Bali] is still safe. But we have to remain alert,” Sugeng said.

In October 2002, a series of coordinated attacks in Kuta orchestrated by the regional terrorist network Jamaah Islamiyah led to the death of more than 200 people, including 88 Australians.

Three years later, another series of bomb attacks hit the island, killing at least 20 people and injuring 100 others.

In Medan, North Sumatra, foreign consulate offices, such as the US and Chinese consulate offices, and a number of shopping malls and hotels in the city also received heightened security measures.

Security personnel, for example, were seen combing through the JW Marriot hotel on Jl. S. Parman, Medan.

North Sumatra Police’s vital object security directorate head Sr. Comr. Heri Subiansauri said the combing procedure, aimed at searching for suspicious objects, was not only carried out at the hotel but also at other vital objects in the city.

“We conducted the combings in response to the bomb attack in Jakarta. We have also posted personnel at vital points across the city. We have expanded security at several places,” Heri said.

The Medan Police’s headquarters and police posts on the streets of Medan also received expanded security from fully-armed police personnel.

Medan Police chief Sr. Comr. Mardiaz Kusin Dwihananto said the police had deployed personnel to secure vital facilities prone to disturbances.

Security in Bandung, West Java, and Pekanbaru, Riau, has also been intensified.

Pekanbaru Police chief Sr. Comr. Aries Syarief Hidayat said fully-geared two-wheeled patrol teams had been deployed to various corners of the city. Every entrance to the city was also tightly guarded to prevent intruders.

“Police have continued to coordinate with the Indonesian Military [TNI] to prevent terror attacks. Intelligence officers have also been spread to gather as much information as possible from the public,” he said.

The Roesmin Nurjadin Airbase in Pekanbaru also tightened security by closing access from Jl. Inpres and from the direction of the Sultan Syarif Kasim Airport II International in Pekanbaru.

West Java Police chief spokesman Sr. Comr. Sulistyo Hartono said the police had also placed personnel on standby to secure every vital object situated across the province.

“We’re on high alert,” Pudjo said.

Separately, the Central Sulawesi Police declined to comment on the possible involvement of the Poso-based terrorist group led by Santoso in the deadly attack on Jakarta.

The group, which has become the most-feared group in the region after orchestrating the murder of a number of local residents, is believed to be affiliated with the radical Islamic State (IS) movement.

“I only take care of Poso. I don’t want to comment on the attack in Jakarta. Please ask the National Police,” Central Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Idham Azis told the Post by phone.

Ni Komang Erviani, Apriadi Gunawan and Ruslan Sangadji
The Jakarta Post
Asia News Network
Denpasar/Medan/Palu
January 15, 2016 10:07 am

Source: The Nation

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Asia commemorates tsunami of 11 years ago

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Tsunami 26a

In Southeast Asia was Saturday commemorated the 2004 tsunami. The tsunami that followed a massive earthquake in the Indian Ocean cost in that year to about 230 000 lives. Most people died in Indonesia, where the memorial according to media is primarily used to draw attention to measures to ensure that such a disaster does not have to take place once. With the commemorations and processions the inhabitants of the affected areas are hoping to keep up the momentum in improving safety measures. In Sri Lanka, where some 40,000 people were killed by the tsunami, the disaster is commemorated with two minutes of silence.

Tsunami 26b

Thailand and other nations in and around the Indian Ocean held memorial services yesterday on the 11th anniversary of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that killed about 230,000 people.

Tsunami 26c

The southern provinces of Phuket and Krabi held religious rituals to make merit for the deceased and to remember those who were lost, as well as the heroes who rescued others. Similar activities were held in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and elsewhere in and around the Indian Ocean where the tidal waves reaped death and destruction, as far away as coastal Africa.

A total of about 230,000 people died from the December 26, 2004 tsunamis, one of the deadliest natural disasters on record.

Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada led officials in white and members of the public offering alms to 26 Buddhist monks at the city hall yesterday morning, while Laem Phet monastery near Patong Beach hosted a Buddhist merit-making event.

An Islamic ritual was also held at Bang Tao Beach in Tambon Cherng Thalae.

At the Mai Khao tsunami memorial cemetery, the “Eleven Year in Memory of Tsunami” event was held with a ceremony for Buddhists, plus Christians and Muslims. It was attended by the relatives of victims, officials and representatives from various embassies.

At the tsunami memorial stone area behind Sunwing Hotel, the Phuket Longstay mid and advanced Aged Japanese Association (PLAJA) hosted a tsunami anniversary event and a religious ritual in which three Japanese monks prayed for the deceased and missing in the disaster. In the evening, a tsunami anniversary exhibition, a mourning ceremony, a Christian ritual and a Buddhist teaching were due to be held at Patong.

Similar events were held in Krabi, while those who survived the deadly waves said they still could not forget the drama.

Krabi governor Pinit Boonler hosted the ceremonies for three faiths on Koh Phi Phi yesterday, during which divers also went underwater to lay wreaths at the undersea memorial at Ao Ton Sai.

Bee-ah Changreu, 58, who came to remember her friend and relatives who lost their lives in the waves said she still had the horror of tsunami – with bodies lying on beaches – vivid in her mind as she was also on Koh Phi Phi when the disaster occurred.

Ranong province did not host a tsunami anniversary service yesterday. Officials opted instead for a campaign for public knowledge on how people can protect themselves and survive disasters in the future. Provincial governor Suriyan Kanchanasil said related agencies would soon survey evacuation routes and re-arrange them, as well as fix disaster warning towers to be ready for use, to boost public confidence.

But several people still showed up at memorial sites in Ranong to lay flowers in memory of the deceased.

On December 26, 2004, the 9.1-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami that hit coastal communities across the Indian Ocean. The waves hit six provinces on the Andaman coast – Krabi, Phang Nga, Phuket, Ranong, Satun and Trang. It left at least 5,400 people dead and 2,800 missing.

Residents in Aceh held services yesterday also in memory at least 165,000 people killed in Indonesia’s westernmost province.

“We can never forget this day. It brings us a lot of pain. My heart sinks as I think of my son,” 42-year-old resident Anjammal Thangadurai said. She lost her 5-year old son in the tragedy.

Sources: AD.nl & The Nation

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Orangutans found in cages on Phuket to return to #Indonesia

Oran

Thailand will return 14 orangutans to Indonesia five years after they were found in cages on the side of the road in Phuket.

Authorities found 13 Sumatran orangutans in Phuket in 2010, apparently bound for a private zoo.

The 13 orangutans were held in Khao Pra Thab Chang wildlife breeding centre in Ratchaburi province, where they bred one more orangutan.

Indonesia submitted a letter this month to request their return and agreed to pay for the transportation of the orangutans.

A C-130 Hercules transport aircraft will fly to Thailand to pick up the orangutans on Sept 7, reported the Bangkok Post.

Orangutans are listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and there are just over 7,000 Sumatran orangutans left.

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Indonesia eyes using yuan in Asean

yuan-china-renminbi

In an effort to help protect currencies in the Southeast Asian region against global headwinds, Indonesia has proposed a broader use of the Chinese yuan in the Asean region in order to better synchronise with China as Asean’s largest trading partner.

Trade Minister Thomas Lembong said on the sidelines of the 47th Asean Economic Ministers (AEM) meeting in Kuala Lumpur that he shared the views of other economic ministers of Asean member countries to strengthen regional currencies by using more Chinese yuan than US dollars.

“[…] we should be pushing for a harder, broader use of China’s renminbi in regional trade and finance,” he told reporters on Saturday.

Thomas said, however, that the proposal was still in the early stages of discussion and that he was conferring with the coordinating economic minister at home.

Most Asean member countries have seen their currencies weaken against the US dollar, with some being undervalued.

Malaysia’s ringgit has emerged as Asia’s worst-performing currency, hitting a 17-year low to 4.348 ringgit per US dollar on Tuesday morning.

The rupiah, meanwhile, is the second worst performer with an exchange rate standing past 14,000 rupiah per US dollar, the lowest level since the 1998 Asian financial crisis.

Indonesia is also experiencing massive investment outflows in which foreign investors recorded a total of 4.29 trillion rupiah (US$310.2 million) in net sales last week.

Year-to-date foreign transactions reversed course from net purchases of 15 trillion rupiah in April to net sales of 4.38 trillion rupiah on August 14.

Separately, the Asian giant, China, has cut its yuan rate against the US dollar to keep its exports competitive.

Applying a similar measure, Asean member Vietnam has seen its currency weaken 1 per cent to 21,890 dong to the US dollar.

Vietnam’s central bank has also widened the trading band in which the dong can be traded above or below to 3 per cent from 2 per cent.

Thomas stated that a broader use of the yuan would be highly relevant for Asean as an American-style economic cycle was not necessarily well synchronised with the East Asian economic cycle.

“[…] East Asia’s economic cycles are much more like China’s economic cycle, so if for example, much more East Asian trade and finance was in renminbi, then our monetary policy would be more influenced by Beijing rather than Washington,” he said.

On a separate occasion, Malaysian International Trade and Industry MinisterMustapa Mohamed, who is chairing the AEM event, said it made a lot of sense for Asean countries to use more yuan as China was one of the largest trading partners for Asean.

According to data from the Asean Secretariat, China has become the largest trade partner outside the region with total trade amounting to 14.5 per cent of Asean’s total trade last year.

Source: The Nation 

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