News Weekending 13/07/08

Something that is been going on for decades is the abuse of Indonesian workers overseas. Working conditions for migrant domestic workers in Saudi Arabia — including thousands of Indonesian workers — sometimes amount to “slavery”, according to a global human rights watchdog. There really should be a body to oversee this inhumane treatment of Indonesian workers. Another case that has loomed in the headlines for quite a while was the murder of activist Munir. Fingers were pointed in every direction. However, a missing letter connecting the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) to the murder of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib may reappear as evidence against former BIN officer Muchdi Purwoprandjono. This is good news for the wife of Munir who has constantly campaigned to resolve her husband’s murder.

Something just as murderous is the destruction of coral reefs. Despite surviving the devastating 2004 tsunami, coral reefs around the Indonesian province of Aceh are facing a different threat from pollution and reef fishing, an international meeting has heard. The beautiful reefs around Indonesia are some of the most spectacular in the world and definitely need protecting. Perhaps the government should look at establishing more marine national parks.

Travelling throughout Indonesia can be one of the greatest experiences you could have in your life. Indonesia which in January addressed an invitation to people around the world by proclaiming 2008 as “Visit-Indonesia Year” still has to work hard to achieve its target of attracting seven million foreign tourists this year. Indonesia is fabulous and I can see them achieving this.

Here’s a case of lunacy. It reminds of the guys in South Africa who think by having sex with a virgin it will cure their AIDS. A man convicted of killing 42 women and girls in western Indonesia in ritual slayings he hoped would bring him magical powers will soon be executed. The dude lured his female victims to a sugarcane field near his home, buried them up to the waist, and then strangled them before reburying their bodies with the heads pointing toward his house. Sounds like something out of the X-Files. Even more on the chopping-list are the three Indonesian Muslim militants on death row for the 2002 Bali bombings. They reaffirmed their readiness on Thursday to die provided the execution is done in accordance to the Islamic laws. According to their lawyers, “In principle it (the planned execution) is no problem, as long as it has strong legal basis,”

It’s election time again folks!. Indonesia has kicked off a mammoth nine-month election campaign with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s ruling coalition under pressure over soaring food and fuel prices. Indonesia’s election committee (KPU) opened the campaign with restrictions on public rallies and a warning to the 34 eligible parties to avoid the rowdy street protests and cash payments to voters that are common to elections there.

And last but not least, about 3.5 million babies will be born in Indonesia every year if the current birthrate continues. But, if the family planning program breaks down, the birthrate will at least double — putting Indonesia on the verge of a baby boom. The population has now reached 225 million, according to the National Family Planning Coordinating Board (BKKBN). Has nobody in Indonesia heard of condoms?

And Folks, that’s the news that is the news from around the archipelago this week, or at least, that what is worth mentioning!.