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Aubrey Belford

Bangkok, Thailand
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About Aubrey
Currently Reuters Southeast Asia Special Correspondent, based in Bangkok. Not available for the time being, as work forbids it.
Languages
English Indonesian
Services
News Gathering Feature Stories Content Writing
+9
Skills
Fact Checking
Portfolio

China-born businesswoman charged over meth flight built a web of influence in PNG

28 Jan 2024  |  Islands Business
Mei Lin, a China-born businesswoman and influential member of Papua New Guinea's business community, has been charged with facilitating a drug trafficking operation smuggling over 71 kilograms of methamphetamine from PNG to Australia. Lin, who obtained PNG citizenship in 2016, allegedly used her business, KC 2, for the drug operation. She has built ties with prominent PNG citizens, including a former deputy prime minister, and received Australian government money under a program now under corruption investigation. Lin's arrest follows a coordinated operation by PNG and Australian police, and her case highlights concerns about drug trafficking's potential to destabilize PNG.

Fijian drugs trafficker thrived in society, making donations to former ruling party

20 Oct 2023  |  Matangi Tonga
Aiyaz Mohammed Musa Umarji, a Fijian drug trafficker who owned a chain of pharmacies across three Pacific countries, held influential roles, and made significant donations to political parties, is now in prison for drug importing. A joint investigation by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and local media has uncovered a more complex and murky story behind his activities.

Australia-owned Pacific telco likely exploited by private spies

01 Sep 2023  |  pacificislandtimes.com
An Australian-owned mobile phone operator, Digicel Pacific, has been exploited by private spy firms to track and steal data from mobile phone users in Africa. This was revealed through a cyber security analysis by Citizen Lab, which was shared with OCCRP and the Australian Broadcasting Corp. The exploitation occurred despite Australian telecommunications operator Telstra's purchase of Digicel Pacific in July 2022, which was financed by the Australian government to prevent potential Chinese government spying. Telstra has since terminated most global title leases and plans to exit remaining ones by April 2024. The abuse of Digicel Pacific's network for spying operations was documented before Telstra's acquisition and has been linked to attacks on journalists and dissidents, including the late Mexican journalist Fredid Román Román.

Indonesia’s Gotta Catch All the Communists

12 Aug 2016  |  Foreign Policy
Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has made controversial statements linking Pokémon Go and the 1965-1966 anti-communist massacres to foreign threats. Despite President Joko Widodo's promises of democratic reforms, his administration has been marked by xenophobic paranoia and reactionary scare campaigns. The government has cracked down on events deemed 'communist' and promoted nationalist organizations like Bela Negara. Jokowi's attempts at reconciliation over past human rights abuses have been undermined by his own administration's actions, leading to criticism from both supporters and opponents.

Myanmar Air Services Grow Rapidly Despite Safety Record

23 Oct 2013  |  www.nytimes.com
Despite a troubling safety record, Myanmar's air services are expanding rapidly. On Christmas morning, Air Bagan Flight 11 crashed, resulting in the death of a passenger and injuries to eight, mostly foreign tourists. The crash, which destroyed the Fokker 100 aircraft and killed the uncle of 19-year-old Htay Aung, marked the culmination of a year with four serious accidents in Myanmar's small domestic fleet, highlighting the risks amid the country's aviation growth.

Indonesian Assault Victim Gets Harsher Sentence Than His Attackers

16 Aug 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
Deden Sudjana, an Indonesian Ahmadiyya Muslim, was sentenced to six months in prison for his involvement in a deadly mob attack by Muslim hard-liners, a sentence harsher than those given to some of his attackers. The attack in Cikeusik, which resulted in three deaths, was captured in a graphic video and sparked outrage over declining religious tolerance in Indonesia. Rights groups and Ahmadiyya representatives condemned the trial and the light sentences for the attackers, while prosecutors defended their actions. Human Rights Watch called for an independent inquiry into the trial.

Bali Bombings Suspect, Extradited From Pakistan, Arrives in Indonesia

12 Aug 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
Umar Patek, a key terrorism suspect linked to the 2002 Bali bombings and other attacks, was extradited to Indonesia from Pakistan where he was arrested. Despite his admission to bomb-making for the attacks, Indonesian law may limit the severity of his charges due to the timing of the attacks relative to anti-terrorism legislation. His capture could illuminate the connections between Southeast Asian militants and international terrorist networks. The international community, including Australia and the United States, has shown a reserved stance on handling Patek's case, leaving Indonesia with primary responsibility.

Deadly Political Violence in Indonesian Province

02 Aug 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
At least 22 people were killed in Papua, Indonesia, due to political violence. Clashes involved interclan rioting and an ambush that left four dead, including a soldier. The violence occurred ahead of planned independence protests and a conference in Britain on Papuan independence. The police and activists provided conflicting accounts of the events, with accusations of security force involvement in fomenting unrest. The complexity of the conflict is exacerbated by restricted access for journalists and NGOs, ethnic and rebel faction splits, and a history of alleged human rights abuses by authorities.

Warning Signs in Citibank Scandals in Indonesia

18 Jul 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
Citibank in Indonesia faces significant scandals involving embezzlement by a wealth manager and the suspicious death of a politician linked to outsourced debt collectors. These incidents have led to regulatory sanctions and public outcry, highlighting weak internal controls and regulatory challenges in Indonesia's banking sector. Despite the scandals, the Indonesian banking market remains attractive due to its rapid growth and deregulation. Efforts to strengthen regulatory oversight are ongoing, but face political hurdles. Citibank is working to restore its reputation by improving internal controls and customer confidence.

Son of Indonesian Dictator Gives Democracy a Shot

08 Jul 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
Hutomo Mandala Putra, son of Indonesia's former dictator Suharto, is eyeing a return to prominence through democratic politics by leading the National Republic party. Despite his criminal past and reduced influence in business, Tommy aims to capitalize on public discontent with current democratic governance and nostalgia for his father's era of stability and economic growth. The article highlights the mixed public sentiment towards Tommy's potential political comeback and the broader implications for Indonesia's political landscape.

Indonesia Outlines Plan to Curb Forest Clearing

21 May 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
Indonesia announced a $1 billion program to reduce forest destruction and greenhouse gas emissions, involving a two-year moratorium on new permits to clear virgin forest and peatland. The plan, resulting from a climate conference in Oslo and backed by the UN, has been met with mixed reactions. Environmentalists criticize the concessions made to industry, while industry representatives and scientists acknowledge it as a positive but insufficient step towards Indonesia's emission reduction goals.

Indonesia Outlines Plan to Curb Forest Clearing

21 May 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
Indonesia has released details of a $1 billion deal to reduce forest destruction and greenhouse gas emissions, facing criticism for allowing some industry clearing. The moratorium, signed by President Yudhoyono, applies to new permits for clearing virgin forest and peatland, aiming to reduce emissions by 26% by 2020. Environmentalists argue the plan favors industry, while companies like Asia Pulp and Paper seek clarity on land classification. The government and NGOs hold differing views on forest conservation, and the moratorium is seen as an initial step towards emission reduction goals.

Indonesia's Islamic Vigilantes

20 May 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
The article discusses the rise of Islamic vigilante groups in Indonesia, focusing on the case of Muhammad Syarif, who carried out a suicide bombing at a police station mosque in Cirebon. It highlights the growing influence of conservative Islam since the fall of Suharto's dictatorship in 1998 and the increasing use of violence and intimidation by fundamentalist groups. The article criticizes the Indonesian authorities for their inaction and tacit approval of these groups, warning of a potential merger between extremist and terrorist agendas. Key figures and organizations involved include local clerics, the International Crisis Group, and various radical groups like Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid and Jemaah Islamiyah.

Asean Talks Leave Two Southeast Asian Issues Unresolved

09 May 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in Jakarta concluded without resolving the border dispute between Thailand and Cambodia or deciding on Myanmar's request to assume the organization's chairmanship in 2014. The border dispute, centered around the Preah Vihear temple, has resulted in 20 deaths and displaced 100,000 people. Despite sideline talks between Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, facilitated by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, only an agreement for further discussion was reached. The meeting also addressed food security, South China Sea territorial disputes, and East Timor's membership.

Indonesia Headed to Pakistan to Identify Possible Bali Bombing Suspect

31 Mar 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
Indonesia is sending counterterrorism officers to Pakistan to identify and potentially extradite Umar Patek, the alleged key figure in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings. Patek, Indonesia's most wanted terrorist, was arrested by Pakistani forces in March after a decade-long manhunt. His arrest could provide significant intelligence gains for Indonesia, which has been combating the Jemaah Islamiyah network responsible for the Bali attacks and other incidents. The United States has also been seeking Patek's arrest, offering a $1 million reward. The situation raises questions about Patek's future and whether he will be returned to Indonesia or the United States. Meanwhile, Jemaah Islamiyah co-founder Abu Bakar Bashir is on trial in Jakarta, facing a potential death sentence for supporting a militant camp.

Ships That Have Visited Japan Are Being Checked for Radiation

31 Mar 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
Shipping companies and airlines worldwide are facing increased monitoring for radiation on vessels and aircraft that have recently visited Japan, following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant incident. While few have shown abnormal radiation levels, the industry is concerned about potential delays and lacks clarity on screening procedures and acceptable radiation levels. Some companies, like Hapag-Lloyd and Maersk Line, have reduced their operations in Japan as a precaution, while others, such as CMA CGM, continue as scheduled. Various countries have implemented different monitoring measures, with no uniform standard for radiation levels. Airlines have also adjusted their operations, with some reducing flights and others changing crew and catering strategies.

A Winning Film Formula in Indonesia: Porn Stars, Clad

29 Mar 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
In Indonesia, Maxima Pictures has found success by featuring foreign porn stars like Sora Aoi and Maria Ozawa in mainstream films, despite the country's conservative Islamic values and strict anti-pornography laws. The production company, led by executive producer Ody Mulya Hidayat, maintains secrecy to avoid backlash from Islamist vigilante groups like the Islamic Defenders Front (F.P.I.) and legal issues. The films, which cater to lower socioeconomic classes, have been popular, though they have also attracted protests and threats from conservative groups. Maxima continues to navigate the delicate balance between cultural acceptance and legal restrictions, planning to release 'Evil Nurse 2' without prior publicity.

Indonesia Still Intent on Building Nuclear Power Plants

18 Mar 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
Indonesia is advancing its plans to build the country's first nuclear power plants despite the seismic risks highlighted by Japan's nuclear crisis. The government aims to triple electricity output by 2025, shifting from imported oil to coal, gas, renewable, and nuclear energy. Environmentalists and activists oppose the plans, citing Indonesia's location on major fault lines and the potential for disaster. The most significant project involves two plants in Bangka-Belitung, with other sites considered across the country. Indonesia is following International Atomic Energy Agency standards for site assessment. While some Southeast Asian nations have halted or reconsidered their nuclear programs following Japan's incident, Indonesia's progress has been slow, with a missed target for nuclear power online between 2015 and 2019 and waning support for a plant on Java's Muria Peninsula.

Indonesia's Political Landscape Offers Path for Egypt

17 Feb 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
The article explores the political landscape of Indonesia, focusing on the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), an ideological descendant of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. It highlights the party's evolution from a clandestine group to a significant political force, its commitment to democracy, and its influence on legislation like the anti-pornography law. The article draws parallels between Indonesia's post-Suharto era and Egypt's political situation following Hosni Mubarak's overthrow, discussing the potential role of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt's future. It also addresses criticisms of the PKS, including concerns about its true intentions and its impact on religious tolerance in Indonesia.

Indonesia Vows Inquiry After Grisly Attack on Muslim Sect

08 Feb 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered an investigation into a violent attack on members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect by villagers in Banten Province, which resulted in three deaths and several injuries. The attack highlights a pattern of increasing religious oppression in Indonesia, with the Ahmadiyya community facing denouncement and restrictions. Human rights advocates criticize the government and police for their failure to prevent such violence, which is often incited by Islamist hard-liners. The government's 2008 decree banning Ahmadiyya from proselytizing is seen as both a measure to prevent conflict and a catalyst for further violence.

Indonesia Investigates Deadly Ferry Fire and Train Collision

29 Jan 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
On January 29, 2011, Indonesia experienced two deadly transportation accidents: a ferry fire that killed at least 13 people and forced over 400 passengers to jump overboard, and a train collision in West Java that resulted in at least three deaths and 46 injuries. The incidents underscored the country's poor transportation safety record, often attributed to overcrowding, inadequate training, and insufficient maintenance. The causes of the accidents were under investigation, with human error suspected in previous similar events.

Indonesian Military Trial Angers Activists

25 Jan 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
Three Indonesian soldiers received short jail sentences for the torture of two men in Papua, sparking outrage among human rights activists who criticized the trial as a farce. The soldiers were charged with disobeying orders rather than torture, leading to accusations of the government and military downplaying the severity of the abuses. The case has highlighted ongoing human rights concerns in Papua and the perceived lack of accountability within the Indonesian military.

Too Little, Then Too Much in Australia

17 Jan 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
Australia's Lockyer Valley has transitioned from a decade-long drought to devastating floods, with the recent inland tsunami in Queensland causing significant damage and economic loss. Farmers like Steve Kluck and Derek Schulz are facing hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in debt due to destroyed crops and infrastructure. The floods have killed at least 28 people and affected five states, prompting debates over the sustainability of intensive agriculture in Australia's dry climate. Environmental scientist Chris Cocklin emphasizes the need for a less water-intensive agricultural future, while the National Farmers Federation has requested a delay in water reform, which the government has rejected.

Australian Floods Peak in Brisbane

14 Jan 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
Floodwaters peaked in Brisbane, Australia, inundating tens of thousands of homes and businesses, with officials beginning to assess the damage. The Brisbane and Bremer Rivers reached lower-than-expected peaks, but thousands may be homeless for months. The state premier, Anna Bligh, likened the cleanup to a postwar effort. The floods, exacerbated by La Niña, have caused at least 25 deaths since November. In Ipswich, 3,000 homes and businesses were flooded. Residents like Barbara Etchison faced significant losses, while others, like Elizabeth Dempsey, received timely help from strangers.

Australia Floods Nearing Peak

06 Jan 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
Floodwaters in northeastern Australia, particularly in Queensland, have reached their peak, affecting 40 towns and cities. Major General Mick Slater has been appointed to lead the recovery efforts. The flooding, exacerbated by a recent cyclone, has displaced over 200,000 people and caused significant infrastructure damage. Concerns include venomous snakes and saltwater crocodiles displaced by the floodwaters. The situation is unprecedented in scale, requiring a sustained recovery effort.

Australia Floods Take Toll on Economy

05 Jan 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
Floodwaters in northeastern Australia continue to rise, affecting at least 200,000 people and causing significant economic damage, particularly to Queensland's agricultural and mining sectors. The state government is planning an emergency meeting to address the disaster's costs, with the coal industry facing about $1 billion in damages. Global coal prices are expected to rise due to the floods, with recovery potentially taking months. The authorities are conducting airdrops of feed to stranded livestock and warning residents of the dangers posed by the floodwaters, including wildlife.

Australia Rushes Aid to Flooded Areas

04 Jan 2011  |  www.nytimes.com
Severe flooding in northeastern Australia has resulted in at least nine deaths and one person missing. Authorities are airlifting supplies to affected communities, with the military delivering essentials to Rockhampton. Floodwaters are expected to peak in the coming days, and recovery efforts may take months. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has extended emergency relief, and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has called for an emergency cabinet meeting to address the crisis. Over 3,000 volunteers are assisting at evacuation centers across Queensland.

Group Calls on Indonesia to Overturn Shariah Laws

02 Dec 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
Human Rights Watch has called for the repeal of Shariah laws in Aceh, Indonesia, citing rights abuses including violence, sexual abuse by Shariah police, and discriminatory practices against women and the poor. The laws, which include penalties such as caning and fines, are said to violate Indonesia's constitution and international human rights obligations. The report details abuses such as forced marriages and virginity tests following detentions under the 'khalwat' law. Aceh's Shariah laws have also led to an increase in public vigilante justice. The governor of Aceh and the central government are urged to take action against these laws.

Dollar Forest Deal Is at Risk

29 Nov 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
Indonesia's efforts to combat climate change through a $1 billion REDD agreement with Norway, which includes a moratorium on clearing natural forests and peatlands, are being questioned by Greenpeace. The environmental group alleges that the Indonesian government has plans for extensive land clearance that would undermine the agreement's goals. The National Climate Change Council of Indonesia refutes these claims, while the Center for International Forestry Research highlights the need for clear land classifications and third-party verification to ensure the success of REDD projects.

Indonesia Resists Anti

14 Nov 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
Indonesia, the fifth-largest cigarette market and the largest country not to sign a global tobacco treaty, is highlighted for its high smoking rates, particularly among adult men. The country has become a focal point for tobacco company marketing, especially targeting women and children, which has been criticized by the Indonesian health minister, Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih. Despite the viral story of a 2-year-old boy, Ardi Rizal, who smoked heavily and underwent rehabilitation, smoking rates continue to rise, with cultural factors and aggressive advertising contributing to the trend.

Indonesian Volcano Sets Off Haphazard Evacuation

08 Nov 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
Mount Merapi's ongoing eruptions have led to a chaotic evacuation in Indonesia, with many residents reluctant to leave their homes due to spiritual beliefs and concerns for their livestock. Despite government efforts, including compensation for lost cattle, the evacuation has been poorly enforced, leading to confusion and inadequate coordination. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono criticized residents for their reluctance to evacuate, attributing it to superstitious beliefs. The National Disaster Management Agency and aid organizations like the Red Cross are working to manage the crisis, but challenges remain, particularly in reaching all affected evacuees and ensuring adequate medical care for burn victims.

Indonesia Death Toll Rises as Elements Slow Aid

29 Oct 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
Indonesian rescue workers faced rough weather and difficult terrain to reach tsunami victims, with the death toll rising from natural disasters that struck the nation. In the Mentawai Islands, aid was slow due to isolation and choppy seas, while a new eruption at Mount Merapi on Java caused further destruction. The tsunami death toll reached 399, with 16,000 displaced. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono inspected the aid effort, and challenges included poor weather and the risk of disease.

Indonesia Struggling After Tsunami and Volcano

28 Oct 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
Indonesia is grappling with the aftermath of a tsunami and volcanic eruptions that have killed at least 340 people and displaced tens of thousands. The Mentawai Islands were hit by a tsunami following a magnitude 7.7 earthquake, with 311 confirmed dead and 379 missing. Efforts to aid survivors are hampered by bad weather and communication issues. President Yudhoyono returned early from a summit to address the crisis. The eruption of Mount Merapi in Java has also caused fatalities and evacuations, with villagers facing shortages of necessities in shelters.

An Effort to Rehabilitate Suharto's Reputation in Indonesia

23 Oct 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
In Indonesia, there is a contentious effort to redefine the legacy of former military strongman Suharto as a national hero, despite his history of corruption, repression, and human rights abuses. The debate has intensified since Suharto's inclusion on a shortlist for official recognition by the Social Affairs Ministry. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono faces a dilemma as he must vet the list before Heroes' Day. While Suharto's rule brought stability and economic growth, it was also marked by brutality. The Golkar Party, Suharto's former political vehicle, supports the nomination, reflecting the enduring influence of Suharto loyalists. Critics argue that honoring Suharto would undermine Indonesian democracy and the nation's self-perception.

Convicted Editor of Indonesian Playboy Surrenders

10 Oct 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
Erwin Arnada, former editor of the Indonesian edition of Playboy, surrendered to authorities to serve a two-year jail term for indecency. His arrest followed a Supreme Court conviction unknown to him until August, despite previous acquittals in lower courts. Arnada's case, which involved no nudity in the magazine, is seen as a victory for Islamic conservatives in Indonesia, particularly the Islamic Defenders Front, and reflects on the country's diminishing press freedom and religious tolerance. Critics have accused President Yudhoyono and authorities of succumbing to Islamist group pressures.

From Hiding, Indonesian Defends Free Expression

04 Sep 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
Erwin Arnada, editor of the defunct Indonesian version of Playboy magazine, is in hiding following a Supreme Court verdict of guilt on indecency charges. Despite the magazine's lack of nudity and modest content, it faced opposition from hard-line Muslim groups like the Islamic Defenders' Front and was forced to close after violent protests. Arnada's case has sparked debate over press freedom in Indonesia, with his lawyer and the Indonesian Press Council advocating for his rights. The government, under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has been criticized for appeasing conservative groups and not protecting minority religions and free expression.

Radical Cleric Abu Bakar Bashir Arrested in Indonesia

10 Aug 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
Indonesian radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir was arrested with five bodyguards in West Java for his involvement in a militant training camp in Aceh and connections to militants planning attacks on authorities and foreigners. The arrest was part of a crackdown ahead of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's visit. Bashir, a founder of Jemaah Islamiyah, was linked to Al Qaeda of the Veranda of Mecca and had knowledge of the group's training and plans. The militant group had plotted to assassinate the president, and recent police raids disrupted their operations, resulting in arrests and the death of wanted militant Dulmatin. Bashir's Islamic organization, Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid, was also implicated. Despite claims of the case being engineered against Bashir, Australia's foreign minister welcomed the arrest, noting Indonesia's commitment to combating terrorism.

After Years of Inefficiency, Indonesia Emerges as an Economic Model

06 Aug 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
Indonesia is gaining recognition as an economic success story, with its economy growing at 6.2 percent in Q2 of 2010, a booming stock market, and a strengthening currency. Foreign direct investment is on the rise, and the country is attracting attention from investors who are comparing it favorably to China and India. Despite challenges such as corruption, outdated infrastructure, and high unemployment, Indonesia's rich natural resources and large consumer market are driving growth. The government is actively seeking foreign investment, particularly in manufacturing, and has seen companies like Asics, Mizuno, and New Balance shift production to Indonesia due to lower labor costs. Luxury brands are also expanding in the country, with the Grand Indonesia mall hosting international retailers. However, there are concerns that economic growth is not sufficiently benefiting the poor, with a significant portion of the population living below the poverty line.

Indonesia Finds Banning Pornography Is Difficult

02 Aug 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
Indonesia's attempt to block online pornography ahead of Ramadan is proving to be a technical and logistical challenge. The Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring's plan lacks clarity, with no official decree, list of banned sites, or details on implementation costs. Valens Riyadi from the Indonesian Internet Service Provider Association doubts the feasibility of the plan, which could cost $56 million and slow down internet access. The initiative has faced opposition from secularists and free-speech advocates, and its success is uncertain given Indonesia's decentralized internet infrastructure.

For Indonesian Christians, Gatherings Bring Tension

30 Jul 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
In Bekasi, Indonesia, religious tensions between Christians and Muslims have escalated, with frequent clashes during Christian gatherings. The Batak Christian Protestant Church faces opposition from local Muslims and authorities, preventing them from building a church. Hard-line groups like the Islamic Defenders Front and the Anti-Apostasy Front have intensified their actions against Christians, accusing them of proselytizing. The Indonesian government, led by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is criticized for its inaction and leniency towards extremist groups, raising concerns about potential sectarian violence.

Chinese Preachers Bridge Indonesia’s Ethnic Gap

15 Jul 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
In Indonesia, a small but significant group of ethnic Chinese Muslim preachers, such as Koko Liem and Anton Medan, are challenging historical prejudices and demonstrating that Chinese identity and Islamic faith are not mutually exclusive. Despite past discrimination and violence against Chinese Indonesians, figures like Liem and Medan are gaining prominence in a country where celebrity preachers play a major role in religious life. Their emergence reflects broader changes in Indonesian society, where Chinese culture is experiencing a resurgence and the public expression of Chinese identity is no longer suppressed.

Indonesian Company Accused of Clearing Rain Forests

06 Jul 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
Greenpeace has accused Asia Pulp and Paper, a subsidiary of the Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas, of planning a significant expansion of pulp mills and clearing Indonesian rain forests, including endangered tiger habitats. This undermines a $1 billion deal with Norway aimed at reducing emissions by halting deforestation. Asia Pulp's sustainability chief, Aida Greenbury, denied the expansion plans, stating the company sources most wood from plantations and degraded land. Greenpeace also criticized multinational companies for buying from Sinar Mas and urged them to suspend dealings. The Indonesian President's commitment to climate change action is challenged by these accusations, highlighting the difficulties in enforcing forest protection.

Indonesian Star Detained Over Sex Videos

23 Jun 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
Indonesian celebrity Nazril Irham, known as Ariel, faces up to 12 years in jail under the country's anti-pornography law after being accused of starring in sex videos with actress Luna Maya and TV presenter Cut Tari. The scandal has sparked debates on internet regulation and morality, with Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring advocating for stricter controls. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has shown support for these measures. Critics argue that the case distracts from larger issues like corruption, and Irham's lawyer claims the detention is unlawful without evidence of public distribution.

China’s Military Is Obstacle to Improving Relations With Pentagon, Gates Says

05 Jun 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates stated that China's military is hindering efforts to strengthen ties with the Pentagon, particularly after the Obama administration's decision to sell arms to Taiwan. Despite the setback, Gates emphasized that the U.S. policy towards Taiwan remains unchanged and expressed disappointment over the postponement of a planned visit to Beijing, advocating for open dialogue between the U.S. and China.

Indonesia Agrees to Curb Commercial Deforestation

28 May 2010  |  www.nytimes.com
Indonesia has initiated a two-year moratorium on the clearing of natural forests, part of a $1 billion deal signed at a climate conference in Oslo to combat climate change through the REDD program. The country, which is the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter due to deforestation, aims to reduce emissions by at least 26 percent by 2020. Despite challenges such as corruption and enforcement, the deal is seen as a step towards a global climate agreement, with Indonesia's president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, expressing commitment to the cause. The deal includes honoring existing licenses and cooperative measures with Norway to address corruption.
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