Tag Archives: Indonesian

Indonesia to resume search for victims, black box of crashed Sriwijaya jet

By Bernadette Christina Munthe

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian divers prepared to resume a search on Thursday for the remains of 62 victims and the cockpit voice recorder from a Sriwijaya Air plane that plunged into the Java Sea soon after takeoff last weekend, officials said.

The search at the crash site of the downed Boeing 737-500, that was traveling from Jakarta to Pontianak, was temporarily suspended on Wednesday after bad weather whipped up high waves.

“We hope that today’s weather will be calm,” said search and rescue director Rasman MS. “With good weather that can support our operations, they (the divers) hope to achieve optimum results in finding the victims and plane debris.”

A team of divers recovered one of the plane’s so-called black boxes, the flight data recorder (FDR), from the seabed earlier this week with efforts underway on Thursday to retrieve the cockpit voice recorder (CVR).

With the cause of the fatal crash of the 27-year-old plane unclear, investigators will rely heavily on the black boxes to determine what caused the jet to lose control minutes after take-off.

Indonesia’s national transportation safety committee expects to download the FDR data in the coming days, said the committee’s chief, Soerjanto Tjahjono.

The country’s transport ministry previously confirmed the ill-fated jet had been grounded in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, but had passed airworthiness requirements in mid-December and resumed service shortly after.

On Wednesday, divers had continued to retrieve plane debris, as well as body parts and the personal effects of the 62 Indonesians on board.

The national police’s disaster victim identification (DVI) team has identified six victims from the flight, including a crew member and two passengers, according to CNNIndonesia.

The Sriwijaya crash is the second major airline disaster in Indonesia after 189 people were killed onboard a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max that plunged into the Java Sea minutes after take-off in 2018.

(Writing by Kate Lamb; Editing by Ed Davies and Michael Perry)


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Indonesia to resume search for victims, black box of crashed Sriwijaya jet

By Bernadette Christina Munthe

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian divers prepared to resume a search on Thursday for the remains of 62 victims and the cockpit voice recorder from a Sriwijaya Air plane that plunged into the Java Sea soon after takeoff last weekend, officials said.

The search at the crash site of the downed Boeing 737-500, that was traveling from Jakarta to Pontianak, was temporarily suspended on Wednesday after bad weather whipped up high waves.

“We hope that today’s weather will be calm,” said search and rescue director Rasman MS. “With good weather that can support our operations, they (the divers) hope to achieve optimum results in finding the victims and plane debris.”

A team of divers recovered one of the plane’s so-called black boxes, the flight data recorder (FDR), from the seabed earlier this week with efforts underway on Thursday to retrieve the cockpit voice recorder (CVR).

With the cause of the fatal crash of the 27-year-old plane unclear, investigators will rely heavily on the black boxes to determine what caused the jet to lose control minutes after take-off.

Indonesia’s national transportation safety committee expects to download the FDR data in the coming days, said the committee’s chief, Soerjanto Tjahjono.

The country’s transport ministry previously confirmed the ill-fated jet had been grounded in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, but had passed airworthiness requirements in mid-December and resumed service shortly after.

On Wednesday, divers had continued to retrieve plane debris, as well as body parts and the personal effects of the 62 Indonesians on board.

The national police’s disaster victim identification (DVI) team has identified six victims from the flight, including a crew member and two passengers, according to CNNIndonesia.

The Sriwijaya crash is the second major airline disaster in Indonesia after 189 people were killed onboard a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max that plunged into the Java Sea minutes after take-off in 2018.

(Writing by Kate Lamb; Editing by Ed Davies and Michael Perry)


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Southeast Asia is embracing China’s Sinovac vaccine despite its confusing efficacy data

In a livestream from the Indonesian presidential secretariat’s YouTube channel, the country’s leader Joko Widodo rolled up his sleeves to receive his shot of the Sinovac coronavirus vaccine, kicking off the nation’s mass inoculation campaign.

His vaccination comes just two days after Indonesia became the first country outside China to grant emergency use authorization to privately Chinese biotech firm Sinovac’s Covid-19 shot. Indonesia has already secured 330 million doses of the vaccine, and so far about 29 million doses have been delivered to the country.

Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, countries have also readily embraced the Sinovac, even as wildly different efficacy rates have been recorded for its vaccine.

What was reported by Brazil’s public Butantan Institute, the country’s major vaccine provider, last week as a 78% efficacy rate was tampered by rumblings that it was actually less than 60% effective, before the institute sharply revised the total efficacy rate to 50.4% yesterday. Over 12,000 volunteers took part in those trials, the vaccine’s largest.

That’s much lower than the 91.25% and 65% efficacy rates Turkey and Indonesia had previously reported from separate small clinical trials, respectively. Limited data have been published from any of these trials, however, raising questions of transparency.

The relatively low efficacy rate will “have implications for China’s vaccine diplomacy as well as its domestic vaccination campaign,” noted Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

It may also complicate matters for the World Health Organization, which is currently assessing whether to add the Sinovac vaccine to its emergency-use listing.

“Because it is at the borderline of the WHO-imposed cutoff efficacy rate [of 50%], the WHO might find it not so easy to make the decision to pre-qualify the China-made vaccine because…it may raise doubts over whether the WHO made the decision to defer to the Chinese government’s request, so there’s the question of credibility and reputation at stake,” said Huang.

To be clear, a 50% efficacy, while not ideal, is still better than nothing. Antony Fauci, the US’s leading infectious disease expert, had last summer said that a 50% to 60% efficacy rate would be acceptable. For comparison, seasonal flu vaccines are typically 40% to 60% effective.

Florian Krammer, an immunologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, gave the following verdict on Sinovac in light of the latest results out of Brazil:  “Likely still useful. But not really my first choice…”

So far, the conflicting data does not appear to have deterred Southeast Asian nations from placing large orders for the Sinovac vaccine.

The Philippines announced yesterday that its first ever batch of coronavirus vaccines will be from Sinovac, with the first 50,000 doses allotted for the country’s frontline medical workers and no other vaccines from other drugmakers expected to be available until at least June.

Thailand is currently processing applications from Sinovac and AstraZeneca to register their vaccines for use in the country. Though the overwhelming bulk of Thailand’s vaccine orders have been for AstraZeneca’s, Sinovac’s is expected to be ready next month, while the latter’s won’t be ready until May.

Malaysia has also procured 14 million Sinovac doses,  in addition to 25 million shots from Pfizer-BioNTech and 6.4 million doses from AstraZeneca.


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Author: Mary Hui

Indonesia certifies N219 regional turboprop

State-owned Indonesian Aerospace (IAe), also known as Dirgantara Indonesia, has received certification for its N219 commuter aircraft.

State-owned Indonesian Aerospace (IAe), also known as Dirgantara Indonesia, has received certification for its N219 commuter aircraft.

A type certificate was officially issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on 18 December, the transport ministry said in a statement on 28 December.

N219

Source: Wikimedia Commons

An N219 test aircraft in 2017

The ministry plans to order the small regional turboprop for flight calibration purposes and for providing air transport services to remote regions, among others.

It states: “The Minister of Transportation hopes that this achievement will motivate Dirgantara Indonesia to continue to innovate, because technical improvements are still needed in the next generation of aircraft so that they can compete with foreign-made aircraft and have high [commercial value].”

The same statement indicates that the aircraft has been undergoing certification since February 2014 and the three-year validity on the certification period was extended twice, on 8 February 2017 and 11 February 2020.

According to the ministry, each aircraft is fitted with two Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PT6A engines and can carry up to 19 passengers.

Following the type certification, IAe has plans for the N219 to enter the commercialisation phase in 2021, it states in a 28 December evening update posted on its official Twitter account.

English-language media Jakarta Globe reported on 11 December that the aircraft type completed its final test flight that day. According to the report, Indonesia’s minister for research and technology Bambang Brodjonegoro said the final test flight would clear the way for a commercial aircraft licence for the N219 to fly commercial routes in the country.

Cirium fleets data shows that IAe has two prototypes. PK-XDT (MSN 001) was rolled out in November 2015 and launched its first flight in August 2017. PK-XDP (MSN 002) was rolled out in September 2018 and its first flight was in December that year.

The local government of the semi-autonomous Aceh province most recently showed interest in the programme, placing in December 2019 an LOI to order four examples.

Domestic airline Aviastar Mandiri has by far shown the greatest support for the programme, placing in October 2018 an LOI for 20 orders, adding to an April 2015 LOI for 20 orders and 10 options.

Other LOIs – for eight orders by national private charterer Air Born and 10 orders and options for five by for Jakarta-based Trigana Air – also date back to April 2015.

Defunct airlines Merpati and Nusantara Buana Air had lapsed LOIs to order 20 examples each, placed in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Nusantara also had options for another 10.

This story has been updated to include an update from IAe

French national arrested in Bali for meth, guns possession – Expat Guide to France | Expatica

A Frenchman has been arrested on the Indonesian resort island of Bali for alleged possession of illegal drugs and guns, police said on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old French national, identified by his initials R J H B, was arrested on Monday after police received a tip-off that he was involved in drug trafficking.

Police said he resisted arrest, and later found nearly five grams of crystal methamphetamine and three guns — a rifle with a stabilizer, a Makarov pistol and a revolver — at his home.

They also found more than two dozen bullets.

“(These guns) are very prone to misuse, especially because the suspect is a drug user. If he loses control, the guns could be dangerous,” Bali police chief Putu Jayan Danu Putra told journalists Wednesday.

Police said the suspect has lived in Bali for years, speaks fluent Indonesian and works in the property business.

He has now been charged with possession of illegal drugs and guns, and could face up to 20 years in prison and a Rp 8 billion ($560,000) fine if found guilty.

Indonesia has some of the toughest drug laws in the world, including the death penalty for traffickers.

Reached by AFP, the French embassy in Jakarta declined to comment.


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Indonesian Payment Gateway Xendit Expands Operations To Philippines – UNBOX PH

Indonesian fintech firm Xendit is expanding its operations to the Philippines as pandemic requirements have pushed more and more Filipinos to embrace digital, cashless transactions.

Xendit offers companies and SMEs simplified payment processes that are tailored to accept payments from multiple sources, including bank accounts, debit, and credit cards.

Xendit’s expansion comes as COVID fears and government restrictions have pushed many businesses to transition their operations to a more digital-friendly model.

Xendit offers a technically advanced yet user-friendly process that allows businesses of all sizes to easily end and accept payments. Through Xendit, any business can go live in less than a day using modern APIs and a dashboard that makes settlement, reconciliation, and accounting simple. Xendit’s product portfolio allows businesses to quickly accept major payment methods with fast activation times.

“There is a growing trend toward digital payments and those who have embraced it cite that they enjoy the convenience, quick transaction time, and low processing fees. By working with
Xendit to increase the accessibility of digital payments for our users, we can contribute to far-reaching financial inclusion, innovation, and competitive costs,” says Jonathan Bates, Head of GrabPay Philippines.


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Author: John Nieves

Indonesia receives over a million Chinese Covid-19 vaccine doses

This handout photo taken on December 6, 2020 and released by the Indonesian Presidential Palace shows workers unloading the 1.2 million dosage of Covid-19 vaccine made by Sinovac, on arrival from Beijing at the Jakarta International Airport in Tangerang. (Photo by HANDOUT / INDONESIAN PRESIDENTIAL PALACE / AFP)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — Indonesia has received 1.2 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine made by China’s Sinovac, officials said, as the world’s fourth most populous nation struggles to get soaring case rates under control.

The doses arrived in Jakarta late Sunday on a flight from Beijing, with another 1.8 million expected to be sent again next month.

Although Chinese regulators have yet to clear any of country’s vaccines for mass distribution, they have approved some advanced candidates for emergency use.

On Monday, Indonesia’s Covid-19 response team chief Airlangga Hartarto said the first batch of doses will be examined by the food and drug agency, with plans to distribute them to medical workers and other high-risk groups.

The country’s top Muslim clerical body, the Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI), will also check the first consignment, officials said — to ensure it meets halal requirements in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.

Late Sunday, President Joko Widodo welcomed the delivery.

“We are grateful that the vaccine is now available and we can immediately prevent the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak,” he said.

“(But) I have to reiterate, first, that all procedures must be followed properly to ensure public health and safety, and the efficacy of the vaccine,” he added.

In August, Indonesia launched human trials of the Sinovac-made jab, with around 1,600 volunteers taking part in the six-month study.

The Indonesian government has paid some 637 billion rupiah ($45 million) for the three million Sinovac doses. Another 100,000 more are set to be delivered by another Chinese firm, CanSino.

China has promised to make its vaccines available as a “global public good” as it seeks to counter global criticism for its early handling of the pandemic.

“We expect that multilateral vaccines [from other countries] will also start to arrive gradually in 2021,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Monday.

Indonesia has been in talks with other pharmaceutical firms, including UK-based AstraZeneca.

The country is one of the Asian nations worst hit by the pandemic, with Covid-19 infections topping 575,000, and more than 17,000 deaths.

However, the true scale of the crisis is widely believed to be much bigger, as the country has one of the world’s lowest testing rates.

© Agence France-Presse


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Author: Edrian Acla

Suspected Hollywood ‘Con Queen’ arrested in UK

Hollywood sign
Hollywood sign

An Indonesian man suspected of being the “Con Queen of Hollywood”, a figure who allegedly impersonated female executives to defraud aspiring stars, has appeared in court in London.

Hargobind Tahilramani, 41, is alleged to have swindled hundreds of thousands of dollars out of hopeful actors.

The FBI is investigating the alleged scam, which it said began in 2013.

Mr Tahilramani was recently arrested in the UK. The US has made a provisional application for his extradition.

The application is on the grounds of aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and a full extradition request is expected in January.

At Friday’s hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, District Judge David Robinson said there were substantial grounds to believe Mr Tahilramani would fail to surrender to the court in future if he was granted bail, so he is being held in custody for another 28 days.

The Hollywood Reporter said Mr Tahilramani was arrested by police in Manchester last week with the assistance of private investigators from a company called K2 Integrity.

Kathleen Kennedy
Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy was allegedly impersonated by the suspect

Mr Tahilramani allegedly impersonated Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy, former Sony movie chief Amy Pascal and ex-Paramount boss Sherry Lansing.

He also allegedly pretended to be Wendi Murdoch, the entrepreneur, film producer and ex-wife of Rupert Murdoch, along with several male movie executives.

The AFP news agency said the court documents, filed in California, showed film industry workers were “approached with offers of lucrative showbiz jobs and instructed to travel to Indonesia for tasks including location scouting, research and drafting screenplays”.

Mr Tahilramani would “use fake accents and alter his voice to sound like a woman”, according to the documents.

‘Training videos’

When victims arrived in Indonesia, they were allegedly cheated out of US currency for upfront payments to Mr Tahilramani and his colleagues, who offered movie projects that never materialised.

If the victims “complained or expressed doubt, Tahilramani would sometimes threaten to ‘dismember’ them”, it was claimed.

The FBI has said the alleged scam moved to “non-existent training videos” when the travel bans took effect due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jules Kroll, co-founder of K2 Integrity, said: “This started as an investigation into a single impersonation case, but it snowballed from there into an investigation into a series of impersonations.”

Follow us on Facebook, or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.


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French president speaks with Egypt, Palestinian leaders

Indonesian Muslims protesters hold posters condemning French President Emmanuel Macron during an anti-France rally outside the France embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020. Indonesian Muslims marched to the heavily guarded France Embassy in Indonesia’s capital on Monday to protest France’s president and his staunch support of secular laws that deem caricatures depicting the Prophet Muhammad as protected speech.(AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to the Egyptian and Palestinian leaders after a week of anti-French protests around the Muslim world and three Islamic extremist attacks on France.

Macron is seeking to calm tensions and to straighten out misunderstandings while also defending France’s values. The French president’s office said Tuesday that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas both offered him support.

Around the Mideast and South Asia, demonstrators have expressed anger in recent days over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published in French newspaper Charlie Hebdo and Macron’s policies toward freedom of expression and Islamism.

Macron’s office said in a statement that el-Sissi expressed his solidarity with France and denounced the attacks as well as the protests.

El-Sissi’s office said the Egyptian leader told Macron during a Monday phone call that coexistence between different religions “should be promoted through dialogue, understanding, mutual respect and without prejudice to religious icons.” El-Sissi said he and France’s leader discussed their countries’ “mutual positions” in fighting extremism and its supporters.

Macron also spoke with Abbas, who offered condolences and “his support to France in this ordeal,” according to Macron’s office.

The Palestinian president’s office said Abbas stressed “the need for everyone to respect religions and religious symbols and not allow anything offensive to Prophet Muhammad and all prophets and religions while condemning all those who do so.” Abbas also emphasized “his rejection of extremism, violence and terrorism,” while Macron expressed his “respect for Islam and the Islamic world,” according to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Macron also explained France’s positions during a weekend interview with Arabic network Al Jazeera in which he called for mutual understanding and respect.

Signing a condolence book at the Austrian Embassy in Paris on Tuesday following a deadly attack Monday in Vienna, Macron said the killings “speak of the determination of our enemies to attack what Europe is, this land of liberties, of culture, of values. Therefore we will not give in.”


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Indonesia halts exports from seafood producer after virus tests

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia has suspended exports from an Indonesian seafood company PT Putri Indah into China after its frozen fish products tested positive for the coronavirus, the country’s fisheries ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The ministry said that an investigation was underway and that the suspension would only apply to PT Putri Indah “whereas the others can still do export activities as usual.”

The virus was detected on the outermost side of the package, not on the fish, the ministry said.

The seven-day suspension began on Friday, it said.

A person in charge of marketing, answering a number listed for PT Putri Indah, hung up the phone without replying.

China’s General Administration of Customs said on Friday that it would stop accepting import applications from PT Putri Indah for one week after a batch of frozen hairtail fish from the company tested positive for the coronavirus.

China customs said on Sept. 11 it would halt imports from companies for a week if their frozen products tested positive a first or second time for the coronavirus.

(Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Stanley Widianto; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)


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