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Peatland mappers win $1million to help tackle Indonesian haze fires
2 February 2018 - An award-winning method for mapping Indonesia's vast peatlands, developed by Dutch, German, and Indonesian scientists, will help the Southeast Asian nation tackle annual fires that harm health in the region, the organizers of the prize said on Friday (2 February). The International Peat Mapping Team (IPMT) will receive $1 million for winning the two-year competition, funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and managed by the U.S.-based World Resources Institute (WRI). (more)

In a Papuan district, tribes push to revive a legacy of sustainability
2 January 2018 - Two tribes in the foothills of the Cyclops Mountains in eastern Indonesia have ratified a village regulation that aims to formalize their age-old traditions. The villagers are also known to practice herbal medicine using locally sourced plants, which they incorporate into their traditional rituals and culture. (more)

Indonesia ministry seeks to extend forest moratorium by two years
10 May 2017 - Indonesia's environment and forestry ministry wants to extend a moratorium on issuing new licenses to use primary forest and peatland in the Southeast Asian country by two years, an official said on Wednesday, 10 May. The moratorium was established under the previous administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in a bid to reduce gas emissions linked to fires caused by deforestation, with peatlands particularly vulnerable. (more)

Indonesia's March foreign tourist arrivals rise 12.78 pct y/y
2 May 2017 - Indonesia attracted 909,173 foreign tourists in the month of March, up 12.78 percent from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said on Tuesday, 2 May. Foreign tourist arrivals had risen 9.19 percent in February. (more)

Indonesia's February foreign tourist arrivals rise 9.19 pct y/y
3 April 2017 - Indonesia attracted 838,686 foreign tourists in February, up 9.19 percent from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said on Monday, 3 April. January's annual increase in tourist arrivals was a stronger 29.04 percent. (more)

Wedding vows a blessing for clean-up of filthy Indonesian river
30 December 2016 - Only a year ago, a stretch of the Ciliwung river in Indonesia's capital was foul-smelling and clogged by a thick layer of floating plastic and other trash. Now, after a clean-up involving hundreds of volunteers, the river hosted a wedding ceremony for a young couple who grew up on its banks in a bid to inspire others to help preserve Indonesia's fragile environment. (more)

Indonesia pledges to protect peatlands to fight climate change, haze
6 December 2016 - Environmental activists hailed on Tuesday Indonesia's ban on converting peatlands into plantations but said enforcement was critical to reducing annual fires that shroud parts of Southeast Asia in choking haze. Indonesia announced on Monday (5 December) that companies were banned from turning peatlands into palm oil and other types of plantations, and must restore peatlands they have degraded. (more)

Indonesia takes new step to combat loss of forests, fires
6 December 2016 - Indonesia has strengthened its moratorium on converting peat swamps to plantations in a move a conservation research group says will help prevent annual fires and substantially cut the country's carbon emissions if properly implemented. Draining of peat swamps by palm oil and pulp wood companies is a big contributor to destruction of tropical forests in Indonesia and the country's greenhouse gas emissions. Indonesia's move was welcomed by Norway . . . (more)

Indonesia October foreign tourist arrivals up 15.6 pct y/y
1 December 2016 - Indonesia attracted 913,589 foreign tourists in October, up 15.62 percent from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said on Thursday, 1 December. (more)

Indonesia and EU announce historic deal on timber trade
15 September 2016 - Indonesia will in November become the first country in the world to export wood products to the European Union meeting new environmental standards in a move aimed at bolstering transparency and curbing illicit logging. Officials from both parties unveiled measures on Thursday to ensure timber exports to the trade bloc, valued at roughly $1 billion a year, are sustainable and harvested within the law. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Bringing Maharishi Vedic Architecture to Indonesia
19 July 2013 - Last year Gde Brawishwara Putra, a business executive from Bali, Indonesia, completed a course on Maharishi Vedic Architecture in the Netherlands, and he has been involved in locating suitable land in Bali for the construction of a Maharishi Vastu development. Gde was also happy to discover that Maharishi University of Management offers an MBA degree in sustainable business. He feels this is the right education he needs to create a business back home that aims not only to maximize profit, but to care for the people and the environment. (more)

Consciousness-Based Education brings fulfilment to students in Bali
17 July 2011 - Nearly 1,000 students have learned the Transcendental Meditation Technique as part of Consciousness-Based Education programmes in Bali. The culture in Bali is very open to Transcendental Meditation, said a teacher of the programme working there. 'It's just so close to the way they live their lives.' (more)

Transcendental Meditation, natural health care expanding in Bali
17 July 2011 - The Transcendental Meditation Programme, natural holistic health care, and other programmes to benefit diverse areas of life are offered at Bali's two new Maharishi Invincibility Centres. (more)

Indonesia: Growing interest in Consciousness-Based Education among Bali educators, schools
6 May 2010 - Educators in Bali, Indonesia, are increasingly interested in implementing Consciousness-Based Education programmes at their schools. Many students are already enjoying the benefits of practising the Transcendental Meditation Technique, and now have an opportunity to create invincibility for their nation through participating in large coherence-creating groups of meditators in their schools. (more)

Indonesia: Students the channel to create perpetual peace in their nation and the entire world
9 April 2010 - Students in Indonesia are gaining inner serenity and simultaneously creating a more peaceful nation and world through their practice of the Transcendental Meditation Programme. (more)

Transcendental Meditation Teachers catalyst for expansion of Maharishi's programmes in Indonesia
23 March 2010 - Teachers of the Transcendental Meditation Programme and other Yogic Flyers in Bali, Indonesia, have been very active in leading Consciousness-Based Education initiatives in the area, as well as establishing a Maharishi Invincibility Centre. (more)

Indonesia: Five schools in Bali help create invincibility through student Yogic Flying groups
21 March 2010 - Bali, Indonesia is taking great strides towards national invincibility, with the establishment of Yogic Flying groups in multiple schools. (more)

Expansion of Consciousness-Based Education in Indonesia
18 November 2009 - Interest in Consciousness-Based Education is soaring in Bali. Two Consciousness-Based Education seminars drew large, highly attentive audiences; several school administrators attended a weekend Maharishi Invincibility Centre course on the topic; and a new board focussing on Consciousness-Based Education has been established to continue the momentum. (more)

Indonesia: Students can create national invincibility
17 November 2009 - Hundreds of students in Bali are enjoying the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation Technique, and hundreds more may soon learn. (more)

Laying the foundation for invincibility in Indonesia
15 November 2009 - Invincibility is rising in Indonesia--particularly in Bali--through Consciousness-Based Education; great interest in an upcoming Transcendental Meditation Teacher Training Course; and Refresher Courses for the Transcendental Meditation Sidhi Programme and for Transcendental Meditation Teachers. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Jail to jihad: Indonesian prisons a breeding ground for militancy
18 January 2016 - Afif was an inmate in a high-security Indonesian jail when he transformed from aspiring radical Islamist to soldier for Islamic State, ready to sacrifice his life for a group based thousands of miles away in the Middle East. His journey ended with his death last week on a busy intersection in central Jakarta, after the gun and suicide bomb attack he launched with three other militants that brought Islamic State's brand of violence to Southeast Asia for the first time. Afif's graduation from jailbird to jihadi shines a light on a prison system where staff shortages, overcrowding, and corruption have allowed extremists to mingle and emerge as determined killers in the name of Islam. (more)

Islamic State claims Jakarta attack, targets Indonesia for first time
14 January 2016 - Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the heart of Indonesia's capital on Thursday (14 January) and the assault was claimed by Islamic state, the first time the radical group has targeted the world's most populous Muslim nation. Just seven people were killed in Jakarta despite multiple blasts and a gunfight, and five of them were the attackers themselves, but the brazenness of the assault suggested a new brand of militancy in a country where low-level strikes on police are common. (more)

Crowded skies in Southeast Asia put pressure on pilots, air traffic control
31 December 2014 - The sheer volume of flights in the skies over Southeast Asia is putting pressure on outdated air traffic control and on pilots to take risky unilateral action in crises such as that possibly faced by AirAsia Flight QZ8501. The flight with 162 people on board crashed off the coast of Borneo Sunday morning 40 minutes into its flight from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore. The circumstances around the crash are not yet known are not yet known, but investigators and the airline's chief have pointed to changeable weather being a significant factor. 'There are certain flight corridors that are over-stressed due to traffic,' said a former Singapore Airlines (SIA) pilot with a decade's flying experience at the carrier. Pilots say that causes a logistical nightmare for the region's air traffic control, particularly outside high-tech hubs such as Singapore. (more)

Indonesia to continue deforestation despite emissions pledge
16 August 2014 - The government will maintain its deforestation targets despite its pledge to control emissions. Forestry Ministry secretary-general Hadi Daryanto said on Tuesday that the government would proceed with plans to clear 14 million hectares (ha) of degraded forest from 2010 to 2020. Indonesia currently contains 180 million ha of forested land. According to Hadi, the degraded forest would be transformed into convertible forest as the country's growth has forced the government to provide more space for development needs, such as infrastructure, energy, and food supply. Data published in the Nature Climate Change journal indicated that between 2000 and 2012, Indonesia lost over 6.02 million ha of primary forest. The study also revealed that by 2012, Indonesia began recording losses of 0.84 million ha a year, almost twice Brazil's annual primary forest loss of 0.46 million ha. (more)

Rate of deforestation in Indonesia overtakes Brazil
29 June 2014 - Indonesia has greatly under-reported how much primary rainforest it is cutting down, according to the government's former head of forestry data gathering. UN and official government figures have maintained that the country with the third biggest stretch of tropical forest after the Amazon and Congo was losing 310,00 hectares of all its forest a year between 2000 and 2005, increasing to 690,000 hectares annually from 2006 to 2010. Exact rates of Indonesian deforestation have varied with different figures quoted by researchers and government, but a new study, which claims to be the most comprehensive yet, suggests that nearly twice as much primary forest is being cut down as in Brazil, the historical global leader. In the paper in the journal Nature Climate Change published on Sunday, Margano says primary forest losses totalled 6.02m hectates between 2000 and 2012, increasing by around 47,600 hectares a year over this time. Because previous estimates of forest loss have included the clearing of pulp plantations and oil palm estates the real loss of primary forest has until now been obscured. (more)

Hundreds of migrant children behind bars in Indonesia
17 April 2014 - According to UNHCR, about 5 per cent of the more than 10,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia are so-called unaccompanied minors -- children who have made often long and perilous journeys without a parent or guardian to care for them. Indonesian law makes no provision for such children and although the country has ratified the UN Convention on Rights of the Child, which obliges it to assign guardians to unaccompanied children, it has not done so. Currently, about 100 unaccompanied minors, most of them from Afghanistan, but also from Myanmar and a handful of other nationalities, are being held at 13 immigration detention centres across Indonesia, while a further 264 children are in detention with their families, according to UNHCR. Without guardianship, some children remain in detention for extended periods until space opens up in one of only three shelters. A 2013 report by Human Rights Watch described the arbitrary detention of migrant children in Indonesia in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions for months or even years as having a severe impact on their physical and mental health, with many experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. In some cases, minors share cells with adults who abuse them, said Fahra Amiroeddin, deputy programme manager at Church World Service (CWS), which manages the two Jakarta shelters in partnership with UNHCR. A number of child migrants interviewed for the Human Rights Watch report said they had experienced beatings by immigration guards or adult detainees while in detention. (more)

Indonesia's forest fires feed 'brown cloud' of pollution choking Asia's cities
22 March 2014 - High above the vast Indonesian island of Sumatra, satellites identify hundreds of plumes of smoke drifting over the oil palm plantations and rainforests. They look harmless as the monsoon winds sweep them north and east towards Singapore, Malaysia, and deep into Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. But at ground level, south-east Asian cities have been choking for weeks, wreathed in an acrid, stinking blanket of half-burned vegetation mixed with industrial pollution, car exhaust fumes, and ash. From Palangkarya in Borneo to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, the air has been thick, the sun a dull glow and face masks obligatory. Schools, airports, and roads have been closed and visibility at times has been down to just a few yards. Communities have had to be evacuated and people advised to remain indoors, transport has been disrupted and more than 50,000 people have had to be treated for asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory illnesses in Sumatra alone. Last week more than 200 Malaysian schools were forced to close, and pollution twice reached officially hazardous levels. The Asian 'haze', which comes and goes with the wind and droughts, is back with a vengeance just eight months after an embarrassed Indonesian government promised it would never happen again and was forced to apologise to neighbouring countries for the pollution that blanketed the region in June 2013. (more)

Indonesia bristles over 'deplorable' Australian sea incursions
17 January 2014 - Indonesia will increase maritime patrols after what it called deplorable territorial violations by Australia's navy as it tried to turn back asylum seekers, worsening an already bitter dispute between the two neighbours over the issue. Earlier on Friday, Australia apologised for a number of recent incursions into Indonesian waters as part of Canberra's controversial policy of pushing back boats carrying would-be asylum seekers entering its side of the sea. The latest spat comes as often tense relations between the neighbours touched their lowest since the 1990s after allegations late last year that Australia had spied on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other senior Indonesian officials. Indonesia downgraded its relations with Australia in November as a result of those allegations, suspending intelligence and military cooperation, including over asylum seekers. The increasing strain on ties has serious economic implications. Indonesia is a major importer of Australian agricultural products such as wheat and live cattle. Australia is Indonesia's 10th-largest export market. (more)

Indonesia: Critically endangered species in Sumatra on the road to extinction
9 November 2013 - Critically endangered wildlife, including some of the last Sumatran tigers as well as rhinos, bears, and eagles, could be wiped out if plans go ahead to construct a major road through an Indonesian tropical forest reserve currently being restored by British conservationists. The 51km-road, which would enable 850 truckloads of coal a day to be exported more easily to power stations across south-east Asia, would divide the Harapan rainforest, which is licensed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, with the backing of the British government, the Co-op bank, the EU and birdlovers around the world. The 98,555-hectare reserve was selectively logged in the 1970s, but is considered one of the most diverse places on Earth and a global-priority habitat for conservation, containing 20% of the remaining lowland forest of the island of Sumatra. 'Over 300 species of birds breed there - including hornbills, eagles, storks, parrots, kingfishers and rare pheasants. The rafflesia flower - the world's biggest - blooms on the forest floor, and a huge variety of insects can be found too,' he added. The coal road is expected to be more than 50m wide and would lead from a group of five large coalmines in south Sumatra to the Lalan river in Jambi province. It would directly remove around 154 hectares of rainforest, but could affect many thousands more by splitting the forest into two physically separate concessions, allowing hunters and illegal loggers access to the forest and restricting the movement of animals and people. (more)

Palm oil is killing the Sumatran tiger
31 October 2013 - The world is addicted to palm oil. Indonesia is the largest exporter, but production there comes at a huge cost. Oil-palm plantations have savagely encroached on the nation's diverse rainforests, and slash-and-burn clearance for new plantations recently engulfed much of Southeast Asia. Now a report from environmental group Greenpeace blames illegal oil-palm concessions for driving the Sumatran tiger to the brink of extinction. According to maps released by Indonesia's Ministry of Forestry, 1.24 million hectares of irreplaceable forest were lost from 2009 to '11, including nearly two-thirds of all Sumatran tiger habitat. Just 400 of these indigenous Asian felines are now thought to remain on the island, which sees a staggering quarter-million hectares vanish for palm and pulp each year, decimating the vital tracts of rainforest that the animal depends upon for hunting. 'Accelerating deforestation and rampant poaching mean this noble creature could end up like its extinct Javan and Balinese relatives,' according to the World Wildlife Fund. (more)


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