There is concern about forest fires on parts of the islands Sumatra and Kalimantan. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, said five Indonesian provinces - Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, and South Kalimantan - declared emergencies as peat-lands are burning and there are risks of fires spreading to nearby regions. Eighteen helicopters have been deployed to combat the fires.
Update COVID-19 in Indonesia: 24,538 confirmed infections, 1,496 deaths (28 May 2020)
29 May 2020 (closed)
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Today's Headlines Aceh
At least 100 people were killed in a 6.4-magnitude (undersea) earthquake in Aceh (Sumatra) at 05:03 am local time on Wednesday morning (07/12). Besides casualties, local media report that numerous houses and buildings have been destroyed. The epicenter of the quake was centered about ten kilometers north of Reuleut (northern Aceh) and is believed to occurred at a depth of 17.2 kilometers. There is no potential for a tsunami according to Indonesia's Climate, Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).
Over the past two days more than 900 migrants (believed to be Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar and Bangladesh) have been rescued from overcrowded wooden boats near the coastal area of Indonesia’s Aceh province at the northern tip of Sumatra. After being spotted by local fishermen, these boats were towed to Acehnese shore. Meanwhile, in Malaysia more than 1,000 migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh were found in shallow waters near Langkawi after being abandoned by human traffickers.
Bill Clinton, the former president of the USA (1993-2001), visited the Indonesian province of Aceh (on the northern tip of Sumatra) on Saturday (19/07) to see recent developments in the region. Clinton was joined by several US college students as well as members of the Clinton Foundation. Apparently Aceh is a special region for the former president as this is his fourth visit to the region after two visits in 2005 (in the aftermath of the vicious 2004 tsunami) and one in 2006.
On Thursday (19/06), Malaysian rescuers intensified the search for 26 missing Indonesians after their wooden boat had capsized during a storm on Wednesday (18/06) while making the journey from Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) to Indonesia (Aceh, Sumatra). Nine people have died, while 26 persons remain missing. At least 62 people have survived the disaster. Reportedly, the boat, carrying mostly illegal Indonesian workers who returned to Indonesia to participate in the Ramadan and Idul Fitri festivities, was overloaded.
Latest Columns Aceh
A total of 13 Indonesians were caned (a punishment under the Islamic Sharia law) at a local mosque in Banda Aceh in Indonesia's province of Aceh on Monday (17/10). These people (seven men and six women) allegedly exhibited behavior that is not allowed by Aceh's local Sharia law. Such behavior includes "too close contact" between unmarried people (such as touching and kissing). Over the past two days pictures of the caning spread in international media, accompanied by concerns about this brutal punishment and the state of human rights in Indonesia.
The Regional Investment Coordinating Board said that Aceh (Sumatra), known for its strong Islamic identity, expects to receive IDR 5 trillion (USD $438.6 million) in foreign and domestic investment in 2014. In the first quarter of 2014, Indonesia's western-most province already saw IDR 2 trillion (USD $175.4 million) worth of investments. Aceh, a resource-rich province (in particular oil and natural gas), is one of the more mysterious Indonesian provinces and has had to deal with considerable negative publicity throughout its modern history.
The economy of Indonesia is booming with gross domestic product (GDP) surpassing six percent on an annual basis. And the country's strong economic fundamentals are confirmed by increasing international attention. But within the context of this economic growth it is important to take a look at whether economic growth is shared by all segments of Indonesian society. If, for example, only the higher classes of Indonesia would benefit from the economic boom, it could give rise to social issues in the future.
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