Indonesia’s Plastic Trash Crisis

Indonesia’s Plastic Trash CrisisIndonesia, the second-largest contributor of plastic waste to the world’s waters after China, in March pledged US$1 billion per year to attempt to reduce the junk in its waters by 70% by 2025, according to Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairsi. It is not surprising that Jakarta has made such a decision,…

Indonesia Crosses the Nine-Dash Line

Indonesia Crosses the Nine-Dash LineOn July 14, Indonesia took a major step forward in confronting China’s South China Sea claims with an announcement that it was renaming a part of the sea in its territory the “North Natuna Sea,” becoming in a single step the most important Southeast Asian nation to stand up to Beijing. That may have come…

Indonesia Can’t Get its Tourism Act Together

Indonesia Can’t Get its Tourism Act TogetherMillions of television viewers in multiple countries often see advertisements encouraging them to come to “Wonderful Indonesia.” The nation does indeed have an amazing number of actual or potential tourist attractions – historic sites, natural wonders, beautiful beaches, interesting buildings, wildlife, arts and local customs. It also now has okay hotels, a web of air…

Sovereign Women in a Muslim Kingdom

Sovereign Women in a Muslim KingdomGiven the generally subservient position of women in most Muslim societies, unsurprisingly it is barely known that there have been occasions when women have been rulers in their own right, and effective ones at that. It is a particular surprise for those unfamiliar with the details of Southeast Asian history to find that Aceh, traditionally…

Indonesia’s Woeful Education System

Indonesia’s Woeful Education SystemIndonesia’s education system is saddled with a long series of difficulties including poor education funding, arbitrarily changing educational curricula, political favoritism, with teachers’ jobs dependent on the sufferance of principals and many other problems. That has led to a ranking by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Program for International Student Assessment of 62nd…

Eco-tourism and a Stunning Sumatra Rainforest

Eco-tourism and a Stunning Sumatra RainforestPerched on a steep rainforested hillside in the mountains near Lake Toba, Sumatra is a cluster of wooden bungalows with a majestic view across a misty tropical valley of an even higher mountain range, also clothed in jungle. From both sides of the valley the hooting of Siamang gibbons mixes with the mournful wailing of…

The Hornbill Hunters of Sumatra

The Hornbill Hunters of SumatraIn 2011, a Taiwanese businessman named Hsien arrived in Indonesia with a plan to make himself rich and in the process to systematically wipe out one of the world’s most majestic and rarest birds, the helmeted hornbill, Rhinoplax vigil, also known as the “King Hornbill”  in the provinces of Kalimantan and Sumatra. He has made…

International Investment Firm Ordered Shut in Bermuda

International Investment Firm Ordered Shut in BermudaThe Supreme Court of Bermuda has ordered the Bermuda arm of the controversial empire of the Lebanese Saab brothers liquidated following an investigation by KRyS Global, an international fraud investigation and dispute resolution firm. Ayoub-Farid and Fadi Saab are the beneficial owners of FBME Bank of Tanzania, whose Cyprus unit was in effect shut down…

Powerful Indonesian Insider Faces Corruption Charges

Powerful Indonesian Insider Faces Corruption ChargesIndonesia’s House Speaker, Setya Novanto, one of the country’s most powerful politicians and a man who narrowly dodged a bullet over allegations of seeking to suborn a bribe from Freeport McMoran, the US-based mining giant in 2015, may not be so lucky this time. On July 17, the country’s fearsome anti-graft agency Corruption Eradication Commission…

Floating Hospitals: Meeting Healthcare Gaps in Indonesia

Floating Hospitals: Meeting Healthcare Gaps in IndonesiaThe increase of Indonesia’s health budget allocation from 3.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product in the 1990s to 5 percent in 2017, totaling Rp104 trillion (US7.28 billion), is designed to alleviate some of the country’s healthcare delivery problems, with  75 percent of citizens still greatly depending on public health care. But one of the biggest…
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