Chris John heads to LA for rematch against Juarez

Friday, May 29, 2009

WBA world featherweight champion Chris John will depart to Los Angeles on Wednesday for his June 27 rematch against Rocky Juarez.

The first match in Houston on Feb. 28 ended in a controversial draw, with Chris, who dominated his opponent, retaining his title.

The Indonesian camp is looking for a KO win this time.

"I predict there will be a 10th-round KO for Chris," said Chris's coach and manager, Craig Christian of Australia.

Chris expressed relief the rematch would not be in Houston.

"I'm glad to finally have the rematch in LA. It was almost another Houston bout again," Chris said during a media conference Tuesday at the sports ministry office.

"We'll fight more strongly. There's always a chance to KO the opponent. However, I don't want to be burdened by the target. I'll just play to my best," he said.

Chris will have a month to adapt to the local conditions before the rematch planned for the Staples Center in LA on June 27. RCTI will broadcast the bout live for Indonesian viewers.

A day before the match, the World Boxing Association will confer the Super Champion title belt on Chris for his 10 successful defenses of his belt. He becomes the first Asian featherweight boxing champ to have attained this feat.

The ceremony will be held at the Indonesian Consulate General.

Oscar de la Hoya from Golden Boy Promotions agreed to move the rematch from Houston to LA by requiring Chris's camp to purchase 5,000 tickets for the match, each worth US$25 to $50.

"Greater Indonesian audience support in LA will definitely fuel my fighting spirit," Chris said, pointing out there were less than 100 Indonesians at his Houston match.


Indonesia faces higher subsidy costs

Despite a forecast lower electricity production cost next year, the government proposes a higher budget for the power subsidy than this year's, because of increased national power consumption.

The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry told a hearing with lawmakers on Thursday that the government proposed to increase the budget allocation for the electricity subsidy next year to between Rp 43.25 trillion (US$4.19 billion) and Rp 48.39 trillion, up from Rp 42.46 trillion allocated for this year.

J. Purwono, the ministry's director general for electricity and energy utilization, said the projected subsidy cost was largely based on two assumptions - Indonesia crude oil price (ICP) of between $50 and $60 per barrel and a rupiah rate of between 10,000 and 10,200 per dollar.

"The proposed subsidy is higher than the Rp 42.46 trillion allocated for this year. The increase is mainly caused by the growth of electricity consumption, which is forecast *to grow* at 6 percent next year," Purwono told lawmakers from Commission VII overseeing the energy and mineral resources ministry.

State utility PT PLN, the sole distributor of electricity, plans to use more coal to generate power next year partly due to the running of newly constructed power plants under PLN's 10,000-megawatt (MW) power program to meet power demand in Java and Bali.

Purwono said that the subsidy proposal would be incorporated into the 2010 state budget bill, along with other allocations. Thursday's hearing was part of the series of meetings to formulate government revenue and expenditure for next year.

PLN forecasts it will sell as much as 144.52 TWh (tera watt hours) of power in 2010, up from 135.99 TWh forecast to be sold this year, president director Fahmi Mochtar said.

He added PLN's average production cost would decline from Rp 962 per kWh (Kilowatt Hour) in 2009 to Rp 931 per kWh next year. "We will reduce our oil-based fuel consumption and this will reduce our costs," Fahmi said.

He said PLN expected to reduce its oil-based fuel consumption from 8.01 million kilo liters in 2009 to 4.56 million kilo liters in 2010. As a consequence, PLN consumption of coal and gas will increase.

Fahmi said that coal consump-tion would increase from 23.77 million tons in 2009 to 31.70 million tons in 2010, while gas consump-tion would increase from 313,716 Billion British Thermal units of gas (BBTU) in 2009 to 323,447 BBTU in 2010.

Although PLN's production cost will be lower next year, Fahmi said the company would still not be able to make a profit.

"Our average selling price is still lower than our average production cost," he said, adding that PLN's average electricity price was at Rp 654 per kWh.

Last year, the company suffered around Rp 13.1 trillion in losses.


Harta Boediono 18 M, Kok Belum Berhaji ?

Isu berbau agama adalah isu biasa dalam demokrasi yang selalu muncul dalam pemilu pasca reformasi. Pasangan Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono-Boediono sebaiknya tidak menghindar dan harus memberikan penjelasan kepada publik mengenai isu tersebut.

"Kekayaan Pak Boediono Rp 18 miliar. SBY mengatakan dia muslim yang taat. Lalu masyarakat tanya, 'kok belum naik haji?'. Itu kan hal wajar. Pertanyaan begitu ya dijawab. Kita jangan tepis, tapi jelaskan," kata pengamat politik Islam UIN Syarif Hidayatullah, Bachtiar Effendy, di Jakarta, Kamis (28/5).

Isu mengenai istri SBY dan Boediono yang tidak berjilbab, ujar Bachtiar, seharusnya juga perlu disikapi dengan jeli. Apalagi, yang mengangkat pertama kali isu itu adalah kalangan Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS) sebagai partai pendukung. "Kalau orang tidak suka dengan isu jilbab, ya dibalas dengan isu lain. Jangan kemudian menghindar dengan mengatakan itu isu tidak penting," ujarnya.

Bachtiar mengingatkan, mayoritas pemilih adalah muslim. "Dalam pemilu, apapun jadi penting. Orang pakai baju apa, ngomong apa jadi penting," tambah Bachtiar.

Upaya menghindari isu agama, lanjut Bachtiar, menunjukkan ketidakmampuan menangani isu tersebut. Padahal, isu agama bukanlah isu istimewa. "Dulu tahun 1999 dan 2004 sempat ada isu menolak calon presiden perempuan dengan alasan agama. Sekarang isu itu berganti dengan isu jilbab," pungkasnya.


Special BlackBerry Storm packages from Indosat

Gadget freaks wanting to get their hands on the latest BlackBerry Storm are probably screaming in agony now as Indosat’s recent event called BlackBerry Touch Experience has just ended.

It’s painful because at this event, held in Promenade Senayan City from May 18 to 24, Indosat was offering a 50 percent discount on various applications developed specifically for this gadget, including Quick Dial, Anti-Theft Software, i-Berry themes, digital Koran and hadith, IDX Mobile for stock, Arena Games and Arena Music.

Even so, the good news has yet to turn sour, as Indosat is also giving out Storm packages until June. For those intending to purchase a BlackBerry Storm, do so between May 18 and June 30. The price tag during this period is only Rp 8,550,000 and without cash, its one year credit payment program is just as intriguing.

Included in the promo is a price reduction to Rp 1 per month for all BlackBerry services, 100 minutes worth of free calls to Indosat numbers for a month and 100 free SMSes every month for a year. Don’t you just love being geeky?


Prabowo’s intelligence contacts give him an edge

The presidential candidate with the strongest links to experienced intelligence experts will have an edge in the upcoming presidential election, political expert Arbi Sanit says.

Although the presidential partnerships of Kalla—Wiranto and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono—Boediono are made up of strong figures with either direct or indirect access to the military, with former intelligence personnel on their team, Megawati and Prabowo definitely have an advantage, Arbi said.

The Megawati-Prabowo team will probably have more access to pertinent intelligence, he said at a discussion on the participation of former generals in the election and the reform of the defence sector in Jakarta on Thursday.

Megawati and Prabowo have Muchdi, a former deputy of the country’s intelligence agency (BIN). Muchdi is deputy chairman of Prabowo’s Gerindra party, and was also a suspect in the murder of prominent human rights activist Munir. Despite the allegations, he was exonerated of all charges by the state court at the end of last year.

Arbi said the advantage of having military influence in a campaign team would be the links to the intelligence sector.

“With intelligence operations, the skeletons in your enemy’s closets can be investigated easily.”

He said the campaign period would most likely see tough battles between the former generals.

“Even if the presidential election goes smoothly and safely, what remains worrying is what will happen after the result is announced.

“The danger lies in the money being sourced from tycoons, or the use of military influence through families, to get an advantage,” he said.

Whether or not the candidates are still active in military duty is not important, he argued.

“I see these generals as having the same working methods. They still have the same culture of discipline and ability to organize people.”

Generals also have power over military territory, whereas political parties must share areas with other parties.

“True they [political parties] have branches, but they are different from military bases.”

Another dangerous possibility would be if active military personnel joined the campaign team, Arbi said.

Asrian Mirza, deputy director of the Megawati Prabowo Media Center, said the generals backing their team were all former military men who were aware that to contribute to politics in civil society they should be civilians themselves.

“There are no active military personnel in our campaign team or in the party,” Asrian said.

Mufti Makarim, executive director of the Institute for Defense Security and Peace Studies, said all three teams had former intelligence officials in their ranks.

Mufti said there were two factors that could influence participation by generals in the campaigns.

“First, there is the feudalistic nature of society that perceives a strong government as coming from a strong leader, and while a strong leader in the past was a king, in modern times the society sees this in a military figure,” he said.

“Secondly, there is the belief among the political elite that votes supported by the military will bring more influence in politics,” said the former secretary-general of Kontras, the Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence.

“There is a view that if you don’t give the military a bargaining position, then you will lose support in politics,” he said.

One positive aspect of military involvement, however, is that “they are more aware that if they still want to contribute to the country, they have to follow the rules of democracy and enter politics via a party”.


Indonesia Foreign Minister's picture

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Character building: The missing link in Indonesia’s public school curriculum

Pria Saptono, a math teacher at Sevilla School in Pulomas, East Jakarta, thought he could squeeze in some character building lessons for his students by having them compete in an international math competition.

“The Gauss contest puts more emphasis on student’s abilities in figuring out logical solutions to mathematical problems, since children are free to use their own methods,” Pria said, referring to the 2009 Gauss test — a Canadian mathematics competition held at Sevilla School on Saturday.

This was one of Pria’s attempts to develop his student’s willingness to learn by making mathematics fun, as opposed to information-cramming to get students through the national exams.

“The national exams focus so much on solving problems using formulas, teachers are pressed to cram as much as they can into students’ minds, which I think causes students to forget the essence of learning.

“As a teacher, I would be doing a disservice to my students and their parents if I didn’t teach them the more fun aspects of problem solving.”

Many of the city’s teachers have questioned Indonesia’s education system since apparently it can produce International Science Olympics gold-medalists, and yet the country still ranks high among the most corrupt in the world.

In response to this perceived shortfall, many have begun investing in character education programs, social work and friendly competitions to develop students’ characters.

There is the aptly named Character School on Jl. Raya Bogor, Depok, which focuses completely on character training. Here teachers encourage students to find their main interests and focus on them.

The studies slip into cognitive learning, but focus on making sure children end up wanting to learn.

Then there’s Cikal School in Cilandak, which works to involve children’s parents in their schooling, with community work and psychological techniques to enable children’s characters to develop.

Teachers like Pria who do not teach at such schools, can only do their best to make sure children leave the classroom not just smarter, but also more responsible.

“I don’t think children from my school will grow up without morals,” said Betsy Eliana, a kindergarten teacher at the Al-Azhar mosque in Rawamangun.

“Morals are an important part of our lessons, which we impart using examples of how the Prophet acted.”

Sri Sungging Sumunan, also a kindergarten teacher at Al-Azhar, said children did not get enough character education.

“Especially students at public schools. I think private school teachers have more time to impart important moral lessons,” Sri said.

Character School executive director Rahma Dewi criticized public schools’ moral education (PPKn) programs under the national curriculum.

“Just compare the amount of time given to moral education, and even art lessons, to math and science classes. It’s astounding how much the government is ignoring this important facet of children’s development,” she added.

Earlier this month, the Sampoerna Foundation funded a training workshop for teachers, led by Thomas J. Martinek, an education professor from the Kinesiology department of the University of North Carolina.

Martinek said Indonesian students shared similar problems to students in the United States, with teachers in Indonesia unable to figure out ways to develop students’ characters.

Thomas urged the government to support character education in through the curriculum, instead of just slipping moral lessons into schools without correct implementation.

“The Obama administration has poured a lot of money into character education and I do think it is a growing trend. In fact, it should be the logical trend because it is certainly the most important aspect of educating children.”


Tangerang Council rejects bird flu regulation draft

Tangerang Regency Council considers a regulation draft on bird flu, currently being discussed by the administration, would have severe impact on local residents bird farm.

Daka Udin, a councillor, said that the regulation draft contains articles on limitation on fowl numbers in a farm and prohibition of setting up coops near residential houses.

He said the regulation would send a blow to small farmers.

“The administration needs to reconsider these articles,” he said, as quoted by

Tangerang Council Speaker Endang Sudjana also said that small farmers in the area have put their coops near their residence for ages.


Dutch documentary immortalizes Indonesian heroine

Monday, May 18, 2009

The pen is sharper than a blade. This was an adagium used by social observer and woman activist Debra H. Yatim to describe the struggle of the Javanese lady aristocrat Kartini in breaking the old customs that barred women from access to education and the right to self-determination.
She was the moderator of a film discussion on the national heroine’s life story held at Erasmus House on April 18.

The event started with a film screening Just Call Me Kartini.

The original title was in Dutch Noem Mij Maar Kartini, a documentary written and directed by Hans Hulscher.

The documentary is about Raden Adjeng Kartini’s life based on her letters written in Dutch to her friends, black and white archive film and photos of Kartini and her Java traditions from the 19th century.

The films opens with Javanese gamelan music; continued by a narrator speaking in Dutch who read Kartini’s letters to her friends in the Netherlands.

Kartini’s letters reflect her rebellion against the old customs in Central Java, revealing her deep thoughts on women’s emancipation, education, the fight against polygamy, and finally her understanding

of her social environment. Kartini’s big dream, which was to fight for her freedom and women’s rights was not realized in her own lifetime.

She had to marry the regent of Rembang who already had three wives and seven children, in a show of loyalty to her father.

Dutch ambassador Nicholas van Dam said in his speech after the movie that the whole event was held to commemorate Kartini Day on April 21.

In her speech, State Minister of Women’s Affairs Meutia Hatta highlighted that despite modernization, a lot of women were still thinking in a backward way, far from Kartini’s forward thinking. She hoped there would be more modern Kartinis in these present days.

“Kartini, who lived 130 years ago, used letters to communicate and share her thoughts. Nowadays with the rise of technology, women could communicate their concerns much more easily, such as by Facebook, which is known by most city people, as a great tool for communication,” said Debra, starting off the discussion.

Irma Alansyah, on the specialist staff from a state ministry, drew attention to the spirit of communication, better education, humanism, and the changes in the mindset of women moving from domestic to public life, as making relevant Kartini’s message for modern times.

“In Kartini’s era, there was a need of emancipation. But, nowadays men and women have the same rights. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of problems including poverty, domestic violence, polygamy, human trafficking, low job opportunities, and low involvement of women in government policy,” added Yuda Irlang from the Institute of Women’s Voice Development Movement (Yayasan Gerakan Pemberdayaan Swara Perempuan).

Reza Dyan Perdani, a medical student at the University of National Development “Veteran” (UPN) Jakarta, said Kartini had changed the nation into what it is today.

“I’m proud of Kartini … she deserves the title of Indonesian heroine. I feel blessed that I can have a proper education, freedom to express myself, and freedom to choose from my own free will, unlike in Kartini’s era.”

Barbara Brouwer, the event organizer, said: “The public responded very much. Maybe some people miss the spirit of the women’s movement. Years before, Kartini Day commemorations were always a little stiff; people just used kebaya and traditional clothing [to remember her contribution]. Now, by discussing and working out the solutions on women’s issues , we can make a real contribution on Kartini Day.”


Rupiah strengthens to 10,300 level

The rupiah has strengthened to the level of Rp 10,300 against the US dollar in Jakarta inter-bank market on Monday morning, after weakening to Rp 10,400 level last week.

The rupiah was traded at Rp 10.385 against the greenback on Monday morning, compared to last week's close of Rp 10.445

Money market analyst Edwin Sinaga told Antara news agency that the strengthening of the rupiah was driven by a statement by Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati that year-on-year inflation in May would not reach 5 percent, below the government's target of 6 percent.

In addition, the market was also buoyed by the news that Indonesia's economy grew by 4.4. percent in the first quarter of this year, making the country one of a few Asian economies that posted positive growth in the first semester.

Such positive news, Edwin said, would continue to boost the rupiah.

"We are optimistic that the rupiah eventually will reach Rp 10,000 level per dollar," Edwin said.


Students articulate traditions in competition

Friday, May 8, 2009

Thirty-three students from across the archipelago competed in a creative writing and arts contest Saturday, wowing the audience and judges alike with their performances.

The competition, now in its second year, is held by the American Indonesian Exchange Foundation (AMINEF) and the United States Embassy and aims to help voice the ideas of Indonesian youth. The theme of the latest event was, "how do my traditions matter in a changing world."

The participants of the National Creative Writing and Arts Performance Competition, or W.O.R.D.S, conveyed the message in their own way through poems, essays, songs, speeches and other performances.

Adelheid Bethanny Nughrahaning Sudibyo, a ninth grader from YPJ Tembagapura in Papua, performed a traditional dance from the region, relating it to the social context of her village.

"I'm not a Papuan, but I learned how to dance the traditional Papuan women's dance as I realize the dance tells about the strength of women during hard times," she said.

"They have danced because they believe they can keep each other strong, they have danced to raise the spirits of the sick and to alleviate their pain," she said.

After dancing, she explained to the audience she and her communities were struggling to combat AIDS, an epidemic that has been tearing apart communities in her region.

"I've prepared this since January, discussing with my parents and teachers. I found it much easier when I had a native teacher helping with some of my work, editing my short essay," Betha said.

Betha won the prize for best overall performance, and will return to Papua with a Rp 1.5 million (US$130) scholarship.

As a participant in the Fullbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) program, her teacher, Rohan Mulgaonkar has been living and teaching English in Papua for eight months.

The prize for the most creative performance went to Yolanda Surya Wijaya from Madiun, East Java, who read an essay titled "The Greatest Miracle." The prize for best English went to Thorifa Yumma from Papua, who read a poem and story titled "The Indonesian tradition of helping others."

The final award, for the best use of theme, was snapped up by Shinta D. Manurung from Manado, North Sulawesi, who presented an essay titled, "When Mapulus Tradition Matters in a Changing World."

"It was the hardest time for us judges to decide the winners because all of you have performed wonderfully," judge Michele Cenzer said. The AMINEF was established in 1992 by the government of the United States and Indonesia and is a bi-national non-profit foundation for the administration of the Fulbright and other scholarship programs in Indonesia.

As a AMINEF Fulbright program, the ETA aims to assist individuals in English-hungry environments starved for native teachers.


Gates offers free software to Indonesian students

Microsoft founder Bill Gates said on Thursday he would help Indonesian students obtain free software and inexpensive personal computers to gain greater access to the Internet.

During a meeting here with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Gates, one of the world's richest men, expressed his commitment to supporting the government's efforts to improve education quality by providing Internet-based national education.

"He (Gates) told the President that Microsoft will continue to train teachers and students throughout Indonesia in software, computer and information and communication technology," Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Aburizal Bakrie told a press briefing after the meeting.

Yudhoyono told Gates that Indonesia and Microsoft should continue to work together as the cooperation would mutually benefit both parties.

The government is seeking to obtain software from Microsoft for a million computers for educational purposes in an effort to cut the ratio of computers to students from the current 1:1000 to 1:20, Aburizal said.

Gates said he was ready to help Indonesia get high-quality personal computers for a price of less than US$200 per unit, plus free software if Indonesia could make a deal with Intel chairman Craig Barrett, who will meet Yudhoyono in Jakarta next week.

"We will make a deal with Barrett to acquire cheap or even free processors for the computers to be distributed to the students. As a result, we will get a much lower price than $200," minister of communication and information Muhammad Nuh said.

He expressed optimism that Indonesia could strike a deal with Barrett, who is known as a leading advocate for education improvement in the United States and around the world, and a vocal spokesman for the value of technology.

Gates also praised Indonesia's progress in fighting software piracy, pointing to fact the country had moved out from a priority ranking on a world piracy watch list.

"Gates' visit shows that he trusts we are making progress in fighting piracy. We are now checking government offices and big businesses to make sure they don't use pirated software. We want to get out from the watch list as soon as possible," Nuh said.

Indonesia ranks as the fourth-worst offender of software piracy in the Asia Pacific after Vietnam, Pakistan and China.

Gates also expressed commitment to expanding the Microsoft Innovation Center program, which now runs at the University of Indonesia, the Bandung Institute of Technology, Gadjah Mada University and the Surabaya Institute of Technology. The center helps students conduct research in the information technology field.

Gates is in Indonesia as a key speaker at the presidential lecture to be held as part of Microsoft's annual Government Leadership Forum, which started Thursday. He will address about 1,500 government officials and business representatives and 1,000 students on Friday.



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