The Cost of Indonesia’s 2015 Fires

The Cost of Indonesia’s 2015 FiresIndonesian forest fires, fanned by an extended drought associated with El Nino, delivered more carbon emissions into the atmosphere than the entire European Union, an astounding 11.3 million tonnes per day against 8.9 million tonnes for the EU, according to a new study. The study, written  by nine climate scientists from Kings College London in…

Ramadan Lunch Raid Spotlights Religious Intolerance in Indonesia

Ramadan Lunch Raid Spotlights Religious Intolerance in IndonesiaAn ever-weary 52-year-old housewife named Saeni lies on the floor of her tiny, humble rental house in the town of Serang in West Java, feverish and sick, she says, after having made national headlines for the past two weeks in a brouhaha that has alarmed many over the growing clout of conservative Islamists.  “I can’t…

Indonesia About to Introduce Draconian Islamic Certification Law

Indonesia About to Introduce Draconian Islamic Certification LawIn December 2014, as one of its last actions before its term ended,  Indonesia’s House of Representatives pushed through a law requiring halal labeling, or Islamic certification of food products and pharmaceuticals that had been hanging fire for eight years, primarily because of a flock of contentious provisions that critics say will damage the interests…

Indonesia Opens the Door – a Bit – to More Foreign Investment

Indonesia Opens the Door – a Bit – to More Foreign InvestmentIndonesian President Joko Widodo has fulfilled a long-awaited promise, delivering a revised list of businesses and sectors formerly closed or limited in terms of foreign investment. The list largely follows a February policy package that described sectors previously closed to foreign investment that are now to be open with varying restrictions. They include the film…

Indonesia’s Oldest Party Picks a Shakedown Artist

Indonesia’s Oldest Party Picks a Shakedown ArtistGolkar, Indonesia’s oldest political party, has just elected as its chairman a man who was caught on tape in mid-November attempting to shake down Freeport McMoRan for 20 percent of the US mining giant’s Indonesian shares under a divestment scheme. He is Setya Novanto, 60, who was driven from the speakership of the House of…

Indonesian Child Rape Case Sparks Public Outrage

Indonesian Child Rape Case Sparks Public OutrageRising public anger over a gruesome gang-rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl by seven teenage boys and seven men has brought together activists and much of the Indonesian public in a show of solidarity for the victim, at the same time raising national awareness of widespread sexual violence, which one critic called a “national…

Indonesia Prepares for New International Condemnation

Indonesia Prepares for New International CondemnationOnce again, Indonesia’s Police Mobile Brigade Unit is preparing an unknown number of firing squads to be deployed to the Nusakambangan prison island, where they are expected to shoot an as-yet undetermined number of drug offenders, including a British grandmother who was caught smuggling cocaine into Bali. Police have been keeping the number of individuals…

Indonesia’s Feared Anti-terrorism Squad Under Fire in Hunt for ISIS

Indonesia’s Feared Anti-terrorism Squad Under Fire in Hunt for ISISSiyono’s wife Suratmi probably did the best thing she could when she asked for help from Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Islamic organization, to figure out why her husband died in the custody of the Indonesian police’s feared counter-terrorism squad Densus 88 last month. Along with her effort to seek for the truth through Muhammadiyah, she…

Sour Anniversary Looms for Indonesian Environmental Disaster

Sour Anniversary Looms for Indonesian Environmental DisasterOn May 28, it will be 10 years since something went disastrously wrong 1800 meters down inside Banjar Panji I, an exploratory gas well being drilled near the Surabaya town of Sidoarjo, about 900 km. southeast of Jakarta in east Java. When drillers attempted to shake loose a stalled drill bit, or it broke or…

Jakarta Governor Seeks to Break Indonesia’s Political Mold

Jakarta Governor Seeks to Break Indonesia’s Political MoldDenied an endorsement by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama says he will run independently in next year’s gubernatorial election, upsetting a time-honored tradition in which politicians pay parties for the privilege of running. The decision is causing consternation in political circles in Jakarta. But it is at one…