Indonesian president launches Southeast Asia's first high-speed railway, funded by China
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has inaugurated Southeast Asia’s first high-speed railway, which begins its commercial operations on Monday, a key project under China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative that will drastically cut the travel time between two key cities.
TikTok says it regrets Indonesia's decision to ban e-commerce sales on social media platforms
Chinese-owned app TikTok says it regrets the Indonesian government’s decision to ban e-commerce transactions on social media platforms and particularly the impact it would have on the millions of sellers who use TikTok Shop.
Myanmar won't be allowed to lead Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 2026, in blow to generals
Myanmar won’t take over the rotating leadership of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as scheduled in 2026, in the latest blow to efforts by its ruling generals to gain international recognition after violently seizing power in 2021.
Jakarta is the world's most polluted city. Blame the dry season and vehicles for the gray skies
Indonesian authorities are blaming the dry season and and motorized vehicles as the main causes of air pollution in Jakarta, after a Swiss air quality technology company named the city as the most polluted in the world.
G7 'outreach' an effort to build consensus on global issues like Ukraine, China, climate change
Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies are sitting down with a carefully chosen set of counterparts from other countries during their summit in Japan in an effort to expand the G7’s sway and to include voices from the so-called Global South.
Indonesian police fire tear gas to disperse soccer fans
Indonesian police have fired tear gas outside a soccer stadium to disperse fans who were trying to force their way into a match in Central Java province, months after the use of tear gas in another stadium caused one of the world’s worst sporting disasters.
Ukraine war, tensions with China loom over big Bali summit
A showdown between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin isn’t happening, but the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and growing tensions between China and the West will be at the fore when leaders of the world’s biggest economies gather in tropical Bali this week.
Indonesia police chief, others removed over soccer disaster
An Indonesian police chief and nine elite officers have been removed from their posts and 18 others are being investigated for responsibility in the firing of tear gas inside a soccer stadium that set off a stampede, killing at least 125 people.
Russia's war in Ukraine to overshadow G-20 talks in Bali
Foreign ministers from the Group of 20 leading rich and developing nations are gathering in Indonesia’s resort island of Bali for talks bound to be dominated by the conflict in Ukraine despite an agenda focused on global cooperation and food and energy security.
Indonesian leader denies delay of 2024 polls to extend term
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has denied that his administration is attempting to delay the 2024 presidential elections after senior politicians including his close ally supported the idea of extending his stay in office beyond the two-term legal mandate.
Indonesia raises Semeru volcano alert, fearing new eruption
Indonesian authorities have raised the alert level for the highest volcano on Java island, saying Mount Semeru could blow up again after a sudden eruption earlier this month left 48 people dead and 36 missing in villages that were buried in layers of mud.
Indonesian Muslims mark grim Eid amid devastating virus wave
Muslims across Indonesia are marking a grim Eid al-Adha festival for a second year as the country struggles to cope with a devastating new wave of coronavirus cases and the government has banned large gatherings and toughened travel restrictions.
Suicide bomb hits Palm Sunday Mass in Indonesia, 20 wounded
Police officers inspect the area near a church where an explosion went off in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, Sunday, March 28, 2021. A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a packed Roman Catholic cathedral on Indonesia's Sulawesi island during a Palm Sunday Mass, wounding a number of people, police said. Police later said both attackers were killed instantly and evidence collected at the scene indicated one of the two was a woman. Indonesia has been battling militants since bombings on the resort island of Bali in 2002 killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists. Indonesia has been on high alert since police in December arrested Jemaah Islamiyah leader Aris Sumarsono, also known as Zulkarnaen.
Striking Myanmar rail workers move out as protests continue
State railway employee load belongings after being evicted from their homes Saturday, March 20, 2021, in Mandalay, Myanmar. State railway workers in Mandalay have been threatened with eviction to force them to end their support for the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) against military rule. AdNumerous reports on social media, including videos, have shown security forces vandalizing cars parked on the street. It said security forces have reportedly occupied more than 60 schools and university campuses in 13 states and regions. Ad“Schools must be not used by security forces under any circumstances," it declared.
UN official: Myanmar people want UN sanctions, peacekeepers
Police and military forces occupy a road block barricade in Yangon, Myanmar, Friday, March 19, 2021. “People are really looking for concerted international action in terms of sanctions. Getting Security Council approval for U.N. sanctions or peacekeepers will be an uphill struggle. That’s because it will require support or an abstention from China, a veto-wielding council member that calls itself a friend of Myanmar and has a policy opposing sanctions. Ad"The protests and the violence haven’t really spread in Rakhine as they have in the rest of the country," Kirkwood said.
2 journalists detained as Myanmar junta clamps down on press
(AP Photo)YANGON – Two more journalists were detained in Myanmar on Friday, part of the junta’s intensifying efforts to choke off information about resistance to last month’s coup. The journalists were covering legal proceedings against Win Htein, a detained senior official from the National League for Democracy, the party that ran the country before the takeover. AdAbout 40 journalists have been arrested since the Feb. 1 coup, with roughly half still in detention, including Thein Zaw of The Associated Press. “Indonesia urges that the use of violence in Myanmar be stopped immediately to avoid more victims. “Indonesia also urges dialogue and reconciliation to be carried out immediately to restore democracy, peace and stability in Myanmar."
UN chief: UN will seek to unite world, reverse Myanmar coup
Supporters give roses to police while four arrested activists make a court appearance in Mandalay, Myanmar, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021. (AP Photo)CAMEROON – Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pledged Friday that the United Nations will do everything it can to unite the international community and create conditions for the military coup in Myanmar to be reversed. It detained Suu Kyi, whose party swept that vote, and other lawmakers, activists, journalists and members of civil society. “Indonesia and Malaysia take the political situation in Myanmar seriously,” Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said after meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Jakarta. Guterres said the U.N. is also in contact with the 15-member Security Council, which is in charge of international peace and security.
Indonesia, Malaysia vow to counter anti-palm oil campaign
Indonesia and Malaysia are the world’s largest exporters of palm oil, which plays an important role in their economic recovery. After meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Indonesian President Joko Widodo told a joint news conference that Indonesia is fighting against palm oil discrimination. Ad“We are concerned over the current anti-palm oil campaign, especially in Europe, Australia and Oceanea,” Muhyiddin said. There are over 2.7 million palm oil smallholders in Indonesia and 600,000 in Malaysia. The Associated Press’ investigation reports late last year revealed that many palm oil companies in Indonesia and Malaysia exploit children in their plantations.
Asia Today: South Korea adds 559 cases, highest in 10 days
(AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)SEOUL – South Korea has reported 599 new coronavirus cases, the highest in 10 days, as health workers scramble to slow infections at religious facilities, which have been a major source throughout the pandemic. — Indonesian President Joko Widodo received the second dose of the Chinese coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday, two weeks after the first injection. — India has vaccinated 2 million health workers in less than two weeks and recorded 12,689 new cases. Myanmar health authorities on Tuesday announced 411 new coronavirus cases, bringing the confirmed total to 138,368. It has recorded 532,916 coronavirus cases, including 8,055 deaths.
Indonesia's confirmed coronavirus cases exceed 1 million
(AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)JAKARTA – Indonesia’s confirmed coronavirus infections since the pandemic began crossed 1 million on Tuesday and hospitals in some hard-hit areas were near capacity. Indonesia’s Health Ministry announced that new daily infections rose by 13,094 on Tuesday to bring the country’s total to 1,012,350, the most in Southeast Asia. The total number of deaths reached 28,468. Jakarta continues to be hardest hit city in Indonesia, confirming more than 254,000 cases as of Tuesday, including 4,077 deaths. Health Ministry data showed hospital capacity nationwide was at about 70%.
After seeing floods, Indonesian leader visits quake zone
In this photo released by the Indonesian Presidential Palace, President Joko Widodo, center, talks to an official as he inspects an earthquake-damaged government building, in Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. Widodo visited the areas where a deadly earthquake left thousands of people homeless in an effort to reassure them the government's response is reaching those struggling after the quake. (Indonesian Presidential Palace via AP)MAMUJU – Relief workers struggled Tuesday to clear the rubble of collapsed buildings on an Indonesian island where a strong earthquake killed at least 90 people and left thousands homeless. Disaster Task Force Commander Firman Dahlan said at least 12,900 people are in shelters in Mamuju and the neighboring district of Majene in West Sulawesi. The quake and flood disasters followed a landslide in West Java on Jan. 9 that left 40 people buried in tons of mud.
Damaged roads, lack of gear hinder Indonesia quake rescue
Motorists make their way through a road affected by an earthquake-triggered landslide near Mamuju, West Sulawesi, Indonesia, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. At least 415 houses in Majene were damaged and about 15,000 people were moved to shelters, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Raditya Jati. The quake set off landslides in three locations and blocked a main road connecting Mamuju to Majene. State-owned firm AirNav Indonesia, which oversees aircraft navigation, said the quake did not cause significant damage to the Mamuju airport runway or control tower. On Thursday, a magnitude 5.7 undersea quake hit the same region, damaging several homes but causing no apparent casualties.
Indonesian health workers receive COVID-19 vaccination
A health worker prepares to give the COVID-19 vaccine to a government official in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. Indonesia started vaccinating health workers and public servants against COVID-19 on Thursday, a day after President Joko Widodo received the first shot of China's Sinovac Biotech vaccine. The Health Ministry is planning to vaccinate more than 1.3 million health workers and 17.4 million public officials in the first stage. “The pandemic is still going on and health care workers are the front-liners in caring for COVID-19 patients,” Deputy Health Minister Dante Saksono said. The first 25 health workers to get the jab were employees of Jakarta's Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital.
Asia Today: Chinese city tests millions amid new outbreak
Another 16 cases were reported in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang and one in the northern province of Shanxi. The world’s fourth most populated country plans to vaccinate millions of health care workers and other other high-risk groups in the coming months. Health officials are still working to secure access to enough doses to protect around 67% of the population. — Japan expanded a coronavirus state of emergency to seven more prefectures Wednesday, affecting more than half the population amid a surge in infections across the country. Suga has been criticized as being to slow to act as the country’s coronavirus infections and deaths roughly doubled over the past month to about 300,000 and 4,100 respectively.
Indonesia starts mass COVID vaccinations over vast territory
Indonesia’s vaccination program is the first large-scale use outside of China of the Sinovac Biotech Ltd. vaccine. Indonesia plans to vaccinate two-thirds of its population of about 270 million people — or just over 180 million people. Besides Indonesia, China and Bolivia have granted conditional use authorization for the Sinovac vaccine. Indonesia received its first shipment of the Sinovac vaccines on Dec. 6 and began distributing the doses around the country while awaiting emergency use authorization. It was cleared for that use based on clinical trial data and after the Indonesian Ulema Council declared the vaccine halal.
Indonesia green-lights emergency use of Chinese vaccine
Indonesia's highest Islamic body has gave its religious approval to China's Sinovac vaccine, paving the way for its distribution in the world's most populous Muslim nation. The vaccine was cleared for emergency use after Indonesian authorities reviewed clinical trial data from Brazil, Turkey and Indonesia, which are all taking part in Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine. Indonesia conducted its own Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine with 1,620 volunteers. Griffith University epidemiologist Dr. Dicky Budiman said that many people have questioned and expressed doubt about the vaccine, as the data Indonesia used for emergency authorization is only preliminary. Authorities in China and Bolivia have both issued emergency authorization for the CoronaVac vaccine.
Indonesian divers find parts of plane wreckage in Java Sea
An investigator of Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee inspects parts of Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 that crashed in the waters off Java Island, at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. Indonesian rescuers pulled out body parts, pieces of clothing and scraps of metal from the Java Sea early Sunday morning, a day after the Boeing 737-500 with dozens of people onboard crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, officials said. Earlier Sunday, search and rescue operations resulted in parts of the plane being found in the sea at a depth of 23 meters (75 feet), leading rescuers to continue searching the area. “We are sure that is the point where the plane crashed.”He said the objects found included broken pieces of fuselage with aircraft registration parts. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing 162 people.
Indonesian cleric who inspired Bali bombings freed from jail
The convicted firebrand cleric who inspired the Bali bombers and other violent extremists walked free from prison Friday after completing his sentence for funding the training of Islamic militants. (AP Photo/Aditya Irawan)JAKARTA – A firebrand cleric who inspired bombings in Bali and other attacks walked free from an Indonesian prison Friday after completing his sentence for funding the training of Islamic militants. He was convicted of funding the military-style camp to train Islamic militants and sentenced to 15 years in jail. Indonesian authorities had struggled to prove Bashir's involvement in the Bali bombings and fought multiple battles to uphold convictions on other charges. Upon release from prison in 2004, he was arrested and again charged with heading Jemaah Islamiyah as well as giving his blessing to the Bali bombings.
Concern among Muslims over halal status of COVID-19 vaccine
While the diplomats were there to finalize deals to ensure millions of doses reached Indonesian citizens, the clerics had a much different concern: Whether the COVID-19 vaccine was permissible for use under Islamic law. Spokespeople for Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have said that pork products are not part of their COVID-19 vaccines. In Indonesia, the government has already said it will include the Muslim clerical body in the COVID-19 vaccine procurement and certification process. “Public communication regarding the halal status, price, quality and distribution must be well-prepared,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in October. The government has announced several COVID-19 vaccine procurement deals with the company totaling millions of doses.
The Latest: China reports results of mass testing
(Siphiwe Sibeko/Pool via AP)BEIJING — China has reported new coronavirus cases in the cities of Shanghai and Tianjin as it seeks to prevent small outbreaks from becoming larger ones. ___RENO, Nevada — The head of the Nevada agency promoting business growth has urged companies to embrace new restrictions as coronavirus cases soar. Kentucky continued setting records with 2,135 new confirmed coronavirus cases reported, the state’s highest daily number on a Monday since the pandemic again. Gary Herbert on Monday relaxed restrictions on social gatherings ahead of Thanksgiving weekend as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to surge. Also on Monday, Spain’s 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population — a key metric in measuring the pandemic’s spread — has continued to fall.
Firebrand Indonesian cleric returns from 3-year Saudi exile
JAKARTA – Tens of thousands of followers of a firebrand cleric joyfully welcomed him at an Indonesian airport on Tuesday as he returned home from a 3-year exile in Saudi Arabia after criminal charges including a pornography case were dropped. Police dropped both charges last year due to weak evidence, but authorities in Saudi Arabia had banned him from leaving the country without any explanation. “My return home today is to call on you and to invite all Indonesian Muslims to join in a moral revolution. He said the moral revolution should include fighting all kinds of injustice and corruption, and changing human nature from conducting bad deeds to good ones. Agus Maftuh Abegebriel, Indonesia's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said Shihab was given a visa to leave Saudi Arabia this month for Indonesian citizens who undergo a deportation process.