Indonesia takes precautionary measures against forest fires forecast


Jakarta (ANTARA) – Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD highlighted the government’s precautionary measures against land and forest fires forecast to increase in the dry season during the July-October 2020 period.

“We have to take precautionary measures against land and forest fires,” the minister remarked here on Thursday.

President Joko Widodo has issued Presidential Instruction (Inpres) No. 3 of 2020 on prevention, enforcement of law against land and forest fires, and on-field handling.

As stipulated in the Inpres, land and forest fire handling efforts would be undertaken under the directions and management of the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs.

Mahfud cautioned that the nation must not disregard the potential of forest fires while focusing on the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We agree that this calls for seriously handling both issues. We should not ignore the potential of forest fires and only focus on the COVID-19 pandemic,” he emphasized.

Land and forest fires in Indonesia had been under the global spotlight since 2015, including criticism from Singapore.

“Protests arose from Indonesian civil society and international society. Singapore had issued an anti-haze law in 2015 as a mark of protest against Indonesia’s failure to handle the fires,” he noted.

Since early 2016, the president always led meetings on tackling the issue of forest fires, he pointed out.

On June 23, Mahfud MD affirmed that Indonesia had efficaciously reduced the number of forest fires, with no major fires reported in the nation in the past few years.

The government has readied some integrated measures to prevent land and forest fires, the minister stated.

Mahfud MD reiterated that some measures had been readied as a precautionary step against forest fires this year.

In 2019, forest fires had ravaged almost 16 thousand square kilometers of land, mostly on the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan.

In 2015, the fires blazed through 26 thousand kilometers of land, thereby resulting in one of the worst haze episodes in the country’s history.



Source: Antara News


100 drug offenders awarded death penalty in 2020

Jakarta (ANTARA) – District courts in different parts of Indonesia have awarded the capital punishment to at least 100 drug offenders in the first half of 2020, said National Police Chief, General Idham Azis.

“May they soon be executed by firing squads to deter others,” he said while witnessing the National Police’s special task force destroy 1.2 tons of crystal methamphetamine, 35 thousand ecstasy pills, and 410 kilograms of marijuana at the Jakarta metropolitan police headquarters on Thursday.

The drugs were seized from members of local and international drug rings, including those operating from Iran, Pakistan, China, and Aceh and Jakarta in Indonesia, during raids conducted in May and June this year.

Several members of parliament, officials from the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), and representatives from the public prosecution office also came to witness the destruction of the seized drugs.

Strict and harsh law enforcement is the remedy for breaking the chain of drug-related crimes in Indonesia, and it would also serve as a deterrent to others, forcing them to reconsider getting involved in drug-trafficking activities and use of illicit drugs, Azis remarked.

“The key remedy is punishing them (offenders) severely,” he said, adding that public prosecutors and judges should not hesitate to award the severest punishment to drug dealers.

Domestic and transnational drug dealers view Indonesia as a potential market due to its large population and millions of drug users. The drug trade in Indonesia is valued at almost Rp66 trillion.

According to a report from BNN, about 50 drug use-related deaths occur daily in Indonesia. However, the fatalities fail to deter people from using drugs.

In the face of the grave threat posed by drug lords, BNN chief commissioner General Heru Winarko has advised capital punishment for those involved in the drug trade in the country.

Both BNN and the police have continued their war against drugs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

On May 19, 2020, under the command of Brig. Gen. Ferdy Sambo and Sen. Coms. Herry Heryawan, the National Police’s Red and White Special Task Force seized 821 kg of crystal meth in Serang District, Banten Province.

On June 4, 2020, a drug raid in Banten Province helped uncover another case involving the smuggling of 402.38 kg of crystal methamphetamine from the Middle Eastern region into Indonesia on board a hired fishing boat.



Source: Antara News



Telkomsel users can access Netflix in near future


Jakarta (ANTARA) – Cellular service provider Telkomsel confirmed its plan to open streaming access to Netflix for its customers.

“In the near future, (customers) will be able to access Netflix,” Telkomsel’s Head of Home LTE, Arief Pradetya, remarked during a virtual press conference on the launch of Telkomsel Orbit, Thursday, while responding to a question on whether the program will enable customers to access the streaming service platform.

Pradetya chose to not divulge details on when Netflix will be accessible through Telkomsel, though ensured that the company will make an announcement once it is.

The information on Telkom lifting the ban on Netflix has been doing the rounds.

Ririek Ardiansyah, the company’s chief executive officer, had noted back in June that they were yet deliberating on the matter to unblock the streaming platform.

“It depends on the results of discussions between Telkom and the Netflix team and whether they are willing to change to become more compliant with the regulations, particularly in terms of the content and takedown policy,” he had noted in June.

Telkom also expressed hope that Netflix would further empower the content made by local producers.

Ardiansyah explained that if specific conditions were fulfilled, then the company was prepared to open access to Netflix via both Indihome and Tekomsel.

Communications and Informatics Minister Johnny G. Plate was also optimistic that Netflix would showcase more local content at the start of the year.

“Now, we demand that Netflix feature more films of Indonesian filmmakers for supporting Indonesian original filmmakers,” he emphasized.

Speaking in connection with Telkom’s cellular ban on Netflix, the minister remarked that it was a business matter between the two companies.



Source: Antara News



Villages can aid food self-sufficiency amid pandemic: minister


Cianjur, W Java (ANTARA) – Indonesian villages have continued to produce food amid the COVID-19 pandemic and are therefore expected to serve as national food buffers, Deputy Minister of Villages, Development of Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration, Budie Arie Setiadi, said.

“We should have self-sufficiency in all commodities, especially as many villages in Indonesia are food producers, and have (accumulated) a quite large stock (of food) during the (coronavirus) pandemic. Hence, they can serve as national food buffers,” Setiadi said here on Thursday.

He said he has urged villages, especially in Cianjur, the country’s main rice producer, to increase production of food crops.

The imposition of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in many regions, as part of efforts to curb COVID-19 transmission, has not affected agricultural production although there were restrictions on outdoor activities, the minister said.

“We have been encouraging villages to serve as the national food buffer because the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed almost all villages to keep an adequate supply of food. We should have self-sufficiency in various food commodities,” he added.

The country’s economic condition, according to Setiadi, is reflected in the development of villages, which are ready to lead post-COVID-19 economic recovery, including in internet growth.

“Some regions in West Java already have the access (to Internet). In Cianjur, out of 354 villages, only 20 did not have access to internet. We will work in coordination with all related institutions to accelerate the recovery of the network,” Setiadi said.



Source: Antara News



Indonesia’s COVID-19 positivity rate shows a decline

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Indonesia’s coronavirus positivity rate, which reflects the percentage of samples testing positive, has continued to fall, head of the expert team at the Task Force for the Acceleration of COVID-19 Handling, Wiku Adisasmito, said.

“If we look at it, the positivity rate has gone down. For example, on June 15, the positivity rate was at 14 percent, and between June 22 and 28, it went down to 12 percent,” he said at a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday.

Positivity rate refers to the ratio of the number of patients with positive COVID-19 test results against the number of people who took the test.

Adisasmito stated that the positivity rate percentage, along with the incident rate of COVID-19, paints a picture of the real potential of COVID-19 infection numbers in Indonesia.

He also said that in the past few weeks, the number of confirmed cases has gone up, with over 1,000 cases reported across the country.

The number, however, is expected to continue to rise as more tests are carried out, he stated.




Source: Antara News