The word "sleepy" could have been invented for Ranai, the largest town in Indonesia's remote and sparsely populated Natuna archipelago. It has few cars and only two sets of traffic lights. The cloud-wreathed mountain looming over it resembles a slumbering volcano. Nearby beaches lie pristine and empty, waiting for tourists. From Ranai, it takes an imaginative leap to see Natuna - a scattering of 157 mostly uninhabited islands off the northwest coast of Borneo - as a future flashpoint in the escalating dispute over ownership of the South China Sea, one of the world's busiest waterways. But that's precisely what many people here fear. They know Natuna is quite a prize. Its fish-rich waters are routinely plundered by foreign trawlers. Lying just inside its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone is the East Natuna gas field, one of the world's largest untapped reserves. And any quarrel over Natuna would also upset a delicate strategic balance, undermining Indonesia's role as a … [Read more...] about Remote, gas-rich islands on Indonesia’s South China Sea frontline
Indonesia jakarta map
Indonesia wants to hold regular military exercises with the United States near the sparsely populated Natuna archipelago, an area of the South China Sea near China's claims, a navy spokesman said on Monday. Although Indonesia is not a claimant in the South China Sea, the military has accused China of including parts of Natuna within its so called "Nine-Dash Line," the vague boundary used on Chinese maps to lay claim to about 90 percent of the sea. The United States, which raised concerns on Friday about China's rapid reclamation of reefs in the area, held a joint military exercise over the weekend with Indonesia in Batam, about 300 miles (480 km) from Natuna. "It was the second joint exercise we have conducted with the United States in that area and we are planning another one next year. We want to make it routine in that area," said Indonesia Navy spokesman Manahan Simorangkir. The military exercise included the use of surveillance and patrol aircraft, such as the P-3 Orion, which can … [Read more...] about Indonesia eyes regular navy exercises with U.S. in South China Sea
The prosperous city-state, which prides itself on its clean air, was shrouded in heavy smog from slash-and-burn clearances on the neighboring Indonesian island of Sumatra last June which sent its air pollution index to a record high. One year on, and an election-distracted government in Indonesia has still not ratified the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) 2002 Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, and fires continue to burn in Sumatra. That is despite outrage in Singapore as well as environmental groups putting pressure on Jakarta. Fires are used to clear land on plantations and can burn for weeks because of peat deposits below the surface. There is also a growing likelihood of an El Nino weather pattern this year, meaning Singapore, as well as parts of Indonesia and Malaysia, could be set for months of intense haze with a knock-on effect on health and business, especially tourism. A strong El Nino, marked by a warming of the surface of the Pacific, can cause severe … [Read more...] about Singapore braces for worst ‘haze’ as Indonesia fails to halt slash-and-burn clearances
A six-month photographic project about changes in cities, namely “Mapping invisible cities”, ended with a workshop-exhibition in Jakarta, Indonesia from July 1-3. The project was carried out in the capitals of six countries – Indonesia’s Jakarta, Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur, the Philippines’ Manila, Singapore, Thailand’s Bangkok and Vietnam’s Hanoi – under the supervision of Peter Bialobrzeski, a jury member of the World Press Photo competition. Vietnam’s representatives in this project were three young photographers, Dam Duc Vu, Ngo Xuan Phu and Nguyen Viet Hung. The exhibition in Jakarta showcased 96 photos by 26 photographers. (Source: Tuoi Tre, Vnn) … [Read more...] about Three young Vietnamese photographers join exhibition in Indonesia
Aida Widyawati boards a commuter train each day to travel from her home in South Tangerang, west of Jakarta, to her job as an office manager in the centre of Indonesia's capital. The 120-km (75-mile) round trip takes three and a half hours on a good day. Last month, the mother-of-two sprained both ankles falling down some stairs at home and was forced to take a taxi to work. Her total journey time rose to six hours. In the monsoon season, her commute time can easily double. "It is very boring," said Widyawati, who tries to catch up on sleep during her travels to work. "I just hope that the government will one day offer a better service." Widyawati is one of more than 5 million people struggling to get to work each day in Southeast Asia's largest city. Known as the "Big Durian" after the stinky fruit popular in the region, Greater Jakarta is home to about 25 million people and faces numerous challenges due to rapid urbanisation, climate change and the failure of infrastructure and … [Read more...] about From traffic jams to floods, can Indonesia’s ‘Big Durian’ be fixed?