Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"The Greater Akashic System" – July 15, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) (Subjects: Lightworkers, Intent, To meet God, Past lives, Universe/Galaxy, Earth, Pleiadians, Souls Reincarnate, Invention: Measure Quantum state in 3D, Recalibrates, Multi-Dimensional/Divine, Akashic System to change to new system, Before religion changed the system, DNA, Old system react to Karma, New system react to intent now for next life, Animals (around humans) reincarnate again, This Animal want to come back to the same human, Akashic Inheritance, Reincarnate as Family, Other Planets, Global Unity … etc.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle
American zoologist played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist would have been 82 on Thursday (16 January 2014)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Market launched to improve farmers' lives

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post): Don't know where to go on weekends other than the shopping malls?

You can perhaps pay a visit to Indonesia's first-of-its-kind farmer market, officially launched here Saturday by the Agriculture Ministry and due to run every weekend afterwards.

Located at the clean, neat National Monument (Monas)'s IRTI parking area on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan, Central Jakarta, the market offers various kinds of farming products: fruits and vegetables, processed products, and ornamental plants.

And they are all fresh bought and sold by the traders themselves.

These farmers come from areas in Jakarta and the neighboring Banten and West Java provinces.

"We wish to bring the farmers to meet face-to-face with customers, so that they can earn more from their farming products," said Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyono at the launch.

He said that farmers had all these times been a marginalized group, as they could only earn a little from their farming products that were usually traded to customers via middlemen, who took the most benefit from the mediated trading system.

"Based on a research, farmers can earn an added value up to 23 percent of overall agribusiness activities with the direct marketing system," added Anton, taking as example the success of farmer markets in Malaysia, Britain and some other countries.

At the same occasion, the Agriculture Ministry's director general for processing and marketing of agricultural products, Djoko Said Damardjati, said that Jakarta was the first province in Indonesia organizing such a market.

"We'll have this farmer market in two or three provinces in total by the end of the year," said Djoko, adding that the other provinces might include Yogyakarta, Bandung in West Java, or Semarang in Central Java.

According to Djoko, the ministry has set aside a fund of around Rp 400 million (approximately US$43,716) for the program this year.

Overall, a total of 34 cities and municipalities in 17 provinces of Indonesia will host the farmer markets in the next few years.

The ministry will provide all farmer participants with kiosks for free.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Jakarta Obtains Rp19 Billion from Emission Gas Reduction

Friday, 28 September, 2007 | 17:26 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The Jakarta government will obtain Rp19 billion if it can reduce 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide gas emissions from the busway project. “There are potentials that aren’t yet exploited from the busway,” Jakarta Deputy Governor, Fauzi Bowo, told reporters at City Hall yesterday (27/9).

According to Fauzi, the policy is in line with the Kyoto Protocol, an international accord on global climate change. If the emission gas reduction is successful, the United Nation Environment Program (UNEP) will grant a certificate. The certified project will be eligible for fund assistance from developed countries that are concerned with an environmental program. “We’re exploring the project,” said Fauzi.

According to the Project Manager of the Clean Air Project, Dollaris R. Suhadi, the time for research to obtain the certificate is estimated to be a year. “The estimated funds are US$500,000 to US$1 million,” he said.

The Jakarta Transportation Service Deputy Chairman, Udar Pristono, is optimistic with the UNEP program. According to Udar, since the busway was first operated in 2004-2005, public transportation and private vehicles decreased 14 percent from five million.

Yogyakarta to build wildlife park

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) - The Yogyakarta administration will turn a 634-ha piece of land in the Bunder area of Gunungkidul district into a wildlife park for research and tourism as well as to increase the local people`s welfare, an official said.

"Therefore, the administration will set up a technical implementation unit in 2008 to manage development of the proposed forest," head of the Yogyakarta forestry and plantation office`s program development division, Hardiyanto, said here Thursday.

"Ten percent of the proposed wildlife area will be used by the technical implementation unit to develop supporting facilities," he said.

Bunder conservation forest has so far been managed jointly by Gajahmada University (UGM) and the Yogyakarta administration for a research program.

However, there was no information on the amount of funds needed to create the wildlife park.

Backyard garden helps family survive

Agnes Winarti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

When earnings are scarce, a small plot of land can become a life-saver for a modest family.

Hamid, an ojek driver for 11 years, for instance, decided to use the vacant land behind his home to cultivate vegetables and help make ends meet.

"Back my hey-day, when private cars and motorcycles were less common than they are now, I used to get at least Rp 30,000 (about US$3.26) a day," Hamid said.

"Now, I can only get Rp 10,000 at the most.

"It is often that I go home empty handed," the 48-year-old Hamid said Friday.

"That is why since 2001 I have used the (family) land for gardening" he said,

In a 3,000 square meter block behind his West Jakarta home, Hamid grows timun suri (apple cucumber), selada (lettuce), spinach, water spinach and cassava.

He harvests timun suri every two months, lettuce every 40 days and swamp cabbage and spinach every 15 - 20 days.

Hamid, father of five and recently a grandfather, said he sold most of his produce, while the remainder was consumed by his family.

"At harvest time we sell our vegetables at four or five kiosks around here," he said, adding that he could earn up to Rp 400,000 - 500,000 from each harvest.

Hamid grows up to 30 timun suri per harvest, which he sells according to size.

"Smaller ones are priced between Rp 2,000 - 3,000, while larger ones are priced between Rp 5,000 - 6,000," he said.

Aside providing their day-to-day meals, Hamid, who only graduated from elementary school, said he hoped to give all his children a better education than his own.

But due to Hamid's uncertain income, his eldest daughter left school at an elementary level, while his two eldest sons left school at junior high. He said he hopes his youngest son, now also at junior high school will stay on. His youngest daughter is still only two years old.

Hamid said that now it was difficult for him to save money for his children's education.

"I used to save Rp 5,000 - 10,000 a day, but now I rarely save anything," he said.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Emergency numbers in Jakarta

City told to prepare for earthquakes

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Jakarta is not among quake-prone regions, but it must prepare for the destructive impact that earthquakes may exert on high-rise buildings.

A seminar Wednesday told the city to make buildings earthquake-ready, improve seismic risk assessment and quickly alert residents about quake activity.

The seminar aimed to evaluate existing disaster policies and improve earthquake safety awareness.

Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso said, at the opening of the event held at City Hall, that the city was vulnerable to earthquakes because of subsurface instability and buildings that were not up to modern earthquake standards.

"We must therefore set a new standard for building construction here; the buildings must be able to withstand quakes measuring up to 9 on the Richter scale."

According to the governor, most Jakarta buildings were high tech and built with underlying soil conditions in mind.

However, even modern buildings would not necessarily be able to tolerate a quake measuring eight plus on the Richter scale, said the head of the city's building planning and control agency, Hari Sasongko.

"It's very costly to prepare (buildings) to withstand the more powerful earthquakes, and it will require redesign," he told reporters on the sidelines of the seminar.

He added that all buildings with permits were already in line with current earthquake risk compliance standards.

In a presentation, coordinator of the city administration's building construction consulting team, Widyanyana Merati, said that Jakarta should conduct a detailed seismic disaster risk assessment involving the formulation of strategic plans for anticipating and mitigating the impacts of quakes.

Widyanyana also said the administration should prepare a system for issuing community alerts and facilitate the development of an emergency rescue system.

Head of the data and geophysics information center of the Meteorological and Geophysics Agency, Sunarjo, told the audience in the event of an earthquake-triggered tsunami, Jakarta could minimize the number of victims by publicizing news of earthquakes as soon as possible after their occurrence.

"The information could be delivered via SMS, email or fax in less than five minutes."

But this type of emergency notification system would only be available, he said, after completion of the Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System (year-end 2008 completion date).

Within the last two years, Jakarta residents have felt the vibrations of three earthquakes whose epicenters were far from the capital: the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Pangandaran, West Java, in July 2006; the 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Indramayu, also in West Java, last August; and the 8.4 magnitude earthquake in Bengkulu earlier this month.

In Jakarta, none of these earthquakes caused significant structural damage or claimed human life. (11)

Emergency numbers in case of earthquakes

Crisis center : (021)3822212, 3500000, 3862022

Fax: (021)3862022 and (021)3823412

SMS: 0811 920 203

Ambulance : 118

Fire department : 113, 344, 1309, 7507

PLN (power company) : 123

Tollway operator : 801, 1735

Search and Rescue : 115, 550, 1111, 2111

Police : (021)5250110, 3857974, 110, 112, 525

Red Cross (PMI) : (021)3906666, 7992325

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Indonesia needs to apply biosphere reserve concept: LIPI

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (Antara): Indonesia needs to apply the biosphere reserve concept, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) said.

The biosphere reserve concept could balance the economic and environmental conservation interests toward sustainable development, LIPI Deputy Head Dr. Endang Sukara said in a press statement here on Saturday.

The concept was clearly dedicated to the development of social and economic activities by involving the community as the guards and protectors of the environment, he said.

The biosphere reserve concept could be used as a model in Indonesia to deal with the rapid rate of ecosystem landscape degradation in this country, according to Pr. Sukara, who is concurrently the chairman of the National Man and Biosphere (MAB) program of UNESCO Indonesia.

Indonesia is losing no less than two million hectares of forest area annually due to development activities. The deforestation inflicted to a significant loss of flora and fauna biodiversity, ecosystem and landscape on Earth, especially in Indonesia, he said.

Due to the deforestation, Indonesia also lost opportunities to make scientific discoveries on the potentials of the biological diversity for food, medicines and other industrial and development materials, he said.

Moreover, the people's welfare was also threatened by the environmental degradation.

To date, Indonesia has six biosphere reserves, they are: Gunung Leuser NP (National Park), Siberut Island (including Siberut NP), Cibodas (including Gunung Gede-Pangrango NP), Tanjung Putting NP, Lore Lindu NP and Komodo NP; the latter is also recognized as a natural World Heritage site.

The concept of biosphere reserves was derived from the first intergovernmental conference organized by UNESCO in 1968. Two years later, UNESCO officially launched a Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Program, which is one of its cornerstone programs.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

W Sumatra quake also felt in Singapore

Batam (ANTARA News) - People in Singapore also felt the 6.7 earthquake centered in Indonesia`s West Sumatra province on Thursday, a report said.

The quake whose epicenter was located 127 km southwest of Painan in West Sumatra and 76 km below the sea level also shook Singapore`s residential areas such as St. George`s Lane, Marine Parade, Katong, Geylang Bahru, Beach Road, Punggol and Taman Jurong, Channel News Asia reported.

With its epicenter at 2.19 degrees southern latitude and 99.79 degrees eastern longitude, the quake rocked West Sumatra at 3.30 p.m. and Singapore at 4.30 p.m. The city state lay 670 km from the quake`s epicenter, the report said.

This year, people in Singapore had felt at least three quakes happening in Indonesia, namely the one in West Sumatra on March 6, that in Bengkulu on September 12, and that in West Sumatra on Sept 20.

Meanwhile, the 6.7 magnitude-quake in West Sumatra was felt by people living the province`s coastal areas for 11 minutes.

According to Adjat Sudrajat, coordinator of Bengkulu`s Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG), the West Sumatra temblor was also felt by people in Bengkulu. It was one of the aftershocks that continued jolting Bengkulu, Jambi and West Sumatra following an earthquake centered in Bengkulu and measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale on Wednesday last week.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Quake with small magnitude rocks Bali

Bandarlampung (ANTARA News) - A tectonic earthquake measuring 4.6 on the Richter Scale rocked Southeastern area of Sanur, a famous tourist object in Bali at about 22:50 Western Indonesian Standard Time (WIB) on Saturday evening.

The Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) through its geophysic station in Kotabumi, Lampung and maritime meteorology station in Panjang, Bandarlampung, on Sunday said the epicenter of the quake was located in 8.75 degree southern lattitude and 115,44 degrees eastern longitude in a depth of 46 km, around 21 km southeast Sanur.

Whether the quake hitting Sanur has to do with a myriad of aftershocks which jolted western coastal area of Sumatra is something possible, as Bali is also located in a `ring of fire`.

Fauzi, head of the Jakarta based Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG)`s technical seismology and tsunami affairs division at a discussion on earthquakes here Saturday, said aftershocks that followed the earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale in West Sumatra and Bengkulu provinces last Wednesday will move northward and are likely to continue rattling the western coast of Sumatra, an official has said.

"A coordinate point between 2 and 4 degrees southern latitude and its northbound side is an aftershock-prone area," he said.

The areas which Fauzi meant were the whole western coast of Sumatra from Aceh to Lampung provinces within a 100-200 km radius and their westbound side.

According to BMG, a powerful aftershock measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale shook Bengkulu and West Sumatra provinces Thursday morning. Tens of aftershocks rocked the two provinces afterwards.

The agency, Fauzi said, was already capable of distributing information on temblors and possible tsunami within 10 minutes or faster than foreign agencies.

"The BMG has already set up many censors that are capable of obtaining information on quakes and tsunami faster than foreign agencies," he said.

The agency said at least 17 people were killed in Wednesday`s quake the brunt of which was borne by Lais sub district in Bengkulu.

`Ring of Fire` strikes again in Indonesia

Hong Kong (ANTARA News) - A powerful earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Wednesday again showed the ferocity of the volatile "Ring of Fire", a massive zone of volcanic instability that encircles the Pacific.

The 7.9-magnitude quake struck around 15 kilometres (9.5 miles) under the seabed off the west coast of Sumatra. Buildings in some coastal towns collapsed, but that it was too early to know if there were casualties, police told AFP.

Most of history's deadliest quakes, tremors and volcanic explosions have occurred along this weak line in the Earth's crust, including the eruptions of Krakatoa near Java and Mount St Helens in the United States, as well as the massive quake that sparked the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004.

The Ring of Fire stretches along the western coast of the Americas -- Peru was hit by a deadly quake last month -- and through the island nations of the South Pacific and on through Southeast Asia.

It is an interconnected circle of fault lines -- cracks in the Earth's hardened upper crust -- which are under constant pressure from super-hot molten rock beneath.

Occasionally the fissures give in and explode, creating volcanic eruptions and causing the land on either side of the fault line to shift and buckle violently, triggering earthquakes.

The fault lines are actually the margins of huge plates of rock on which the continents sit. These plates are in constant motion.

According to the US Geological Survey, which studies seismic activity, there have been an average of 19.4 quakes of 7.0-plus strength on the Ring each year.

Indonesia has suffered from three catastrophic earthquakes in the past two years.

The 9.3-magnitude quake on December 26, 2004 unleashed tsunamis that crashed into Indian Ocean shorelines and killed 168,000 in Indonesia's Aceh province alone.

Some 5,800 people were killed and 33,000 others injured in a quake on Java island in May last year. Two months later, another quake on Java killed more than 600.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Eco-friendly radio helps Javanese farmers

Slamet Susanto, The Jakarta Post, Bantul

The two-by-three-meter room is cramped with electronic gadgets, computers, chairs and tables -- but it is the nerve center of farming life, as well as every other activity in Terong village, Dlinggo district, Bantul, from which the Menara Siar Pedesaan (MSP), or Rural Broadcasting Tower community radio station airs its programs.

Terong village consists of nine hamlets and is inhabited by around 6,000 people, 4,000 of whom are farmers.

MSP broadcasts a variety of community-based information programs as well as an environmentally-friendly farming program, which disseminates information on efficient farming patterns, pest control and food crop price management.

The farming program is aired twice weekly -- every Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and every Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., while other programs are aired every Friday evening.

"Our schedule is flexible. We'll cancel the Wednesday program out of the planting season," said Sukamdan, leader of the Among Kismo farming association, an alliance of farmers from the nine hamlets in the village.

"We apply a back-to-nature concept in farm management and planting pattern programs," said Terong village administrative chief and MSP radio announcer, Sudirman Alfian.

Sudirman said the radio station chose to focus on a back-to-nature concept due to extensive soil damage in the village, which had resulted from an ineffective government policy of promoting the excessive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Despite the lack of concrete data, the four years of MSP's existence has brought about some changes in farmers' cultivating patterns. This is evident from a decrease in the use of chemical fertilizers, with most of the farmers switching back to organic fertilizers.

"We have not yet obtained the exact figures or percentages, but the change in farming habits is obvious," Sudirman said.

Sudirman said residents now used natural pest control measures, such as using organic pesticides derived from the mindi plant, with favorable results.

"The eel population dropped drastically when chemical fertilizers and pesticide were used ... they died of chemical poisoning.

"Now, eel numbers in the fields have increased. This indicates that the environmental condition has improved."

Radio MSP was established in 2002 when one of the farming groups received aid from the World Bank through the Decentralized Agriculture and Forestry Extension Program (Dafep) in an effort to empower farmers.

They received audio equipment, such as amplifiers and loudspeakers, to expedite information among villagers. As they faced difficulties in operating the devices, they set up a community radio as a means to communicate and provide information and entertainment.

Group members collected fees which amounted to Rp 7 million (approximately US$777) and purchased additional equipment. The World Bank then provided them with a mixer.

MSP radio, which is set at a frequency of 107.9 FM, went on air in November 2002 and has been registered as a member of the Yogyakarta Community Radio Network (JRKY). It has a current broadcast radius range of 6 kilometers.

"We stopped airing for two months because the radio station and some of the equipment was damaged from the massive earthquake that struck in May last year."

Thanks to a number of donors, that provided transmitting devices, a mixer and a facsimile machine, MSP was able to get back on the air.

At least 15 people call in to participate in live programs every day; some from as far away as Gunungkidul.

"At least we are able to get information quicker," said Sukamdan, leader of the Among Tani farmers' group.

MSP is also the center for information on activities in the village. A survey involving 500 local respondents showed that 75 percent of listeners regularly tuned in to the station.

The radio station employs seven broadcasters, some of whom are employees at the village hall. Residents collect fees to finance operational costs, while the village administration foot the telephone and electricity bills, which amount to Rp 1 million monthly.

Sukamdan said Radio MSP gives direct benefits to farmers because they can obtain information fast, and are kept up-to-date on crop price developments, thereby no longer needing to rely on middlemen during the harvest.

Farmers are able to listen to the experiences of other farmers in cultivating a certain plant successfully.

"We often discuss the best way to plant. We record the discussions and the radio airs and discusses them during the interactive programs," he said.

North Jakarta squatters still without clean water

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Squatters who have for years lived in Tanah Merah, North Jakarta, say they are still unable to get clean water from the city-owned water company.

The unfortunate squatters have even been accused of stealing piped water.

"Since 2005, we have been asking for clean water from the city administration. But they have never responded to our requests. We never intended to steal," said resident Sutriman on Wednesday.

There are some 750 families currently residing in Tanah Merah, which include the Tugu Selatan, Rawa Badak and Rawa Sengon areas.

The unlawful tenants do not qualify to get clean water because they do not own identity cards (KTP) and do not pay land and building taxes.

"We want to be good citizens and we asked the district head to provide us with identity cards, but our requests were rejected. Not once, but several times. We are willing to pay the tax too, but are not able to because we cannot register at the tax office," he added.

"We did not steal. This water pipe was already present when we came here. We don't even know who installed it," said Sutriman of the illegal water pipe found in Tanah Merah.

Tap water operator company PT Thames PAM Jaya (TPJ) claims the illegal use of water in Tanah Merah has caused a total loss of 8,000 cubic meters of water.

The company took reporters and Governor Sutiyoso on Wednesday to view an old well in Tanah Merah where a 1,800 mm illegal water pipe was allegedly being used.

The pipe could not be seen, however, and only trash was found on the inside of what seemed to be a dysfunctional well.

Sianne, 39, another resident from the Rawa Sengon area, said the well had been dry for years.

"Yes, we used to take water from the well," she said.

Sianne and her neighbors said that due to the lack of running water they were forced to purchase clean water, at a cost of Rp 3,000 per 30 liter container.

Sianne, who first moved to Tanah Merah in 1998, said "In the past four or five years, we have had to buy water from a mobile water vendor, who sells door-to-door."

The regional customer care manager of TPJ in North Jakarta, Popy Indriati, said "The squatters keep reconnecting the pipe, even after we have disconnected it more than three times before."

Sutiyoso said using tap water without paying is against the law.

"However, water is a vital necessity. Providing a water hydrant might be an alternative solution, which will hopefully stop tenants from using illegal connections," he said.

Sutriman said "I beg you Sir. Water is important for us. We cannot use ground water in this area. When we take a bath, it makes us itch. It changes the color of our clothes when we use it to wash them."

Sianne pointed to red marks on her skin and that of her baby's, which had appeared after using dirty groundwater for bathing.

TPJ claims the company currently experiences a 51 percent loss of its total water supply, which amounts to some Rp 150 billion to Rp 200 billion in revenue loss a year. It says that 40 percent of this loss is due to illegal connections and consumption, or "stolen" water, while the remaining 60 percent is due to water lost through old leaking pipes and wells.

Tsunami spares most of Indonesia

Earthquakes claim a death toll of 10, but the force of resulting waves is directed toward open sea.

LA Times, September 14, 2007

From the Associated Press

PADANG, INDONESIA -- A powerful earthquake that struck off Indonesia generated a 10-foot-high tsunami, but the full force of the waves moved toward open sea instead of the shore, a seismologist said Thursday.

At least 10 people were killed and scores injured in the three strongest tremors, which struck within a 24-hour period. Hundreds slept Thursday night in parks or on sidewalks.

The 8.4-magnitude quake that first shook Southeast Asia on Wednesday was the strongest this year. But the huge mass of water it raised was pushed out to sea, said Mike Turnbull, a seismologist at Australia's Central Queensland University.

"It's a quirk of nature that this is how it happened," he said. "It could quite easily have been the other way."

The 10-foot wall of water did hit at least one fishing village on Sumatra, the island ravaged by the 2004 disaster that killed more than 220,000 people in a dozen nations. A dozen houses in the village were swept out to sea.

Two powerful temblors -- magnitudes 7.8 and 7.1 -- followed off Sumatra, and a smaller quake shook Sulawesi island, more than a thousand miles to the east, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The worst destruction was caused by the jolts along the Sumatran coast, especially in the city of Padang.

"At least five large buildings -- including mosques, houses and a school -- collapsed," said Surya Budhi, overseeing emergency response in the area.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Yogya partnership produces super soybean

Sri Wahyuni, The Jakarta Post, Yogyakarta

A partnership of stakeholders comprising farmers, a university and the food-processing industry has led to the discovery of a local variety of black soybean considered superior both in terms of productivity and nutritional content.

Named "Mallika", the newly discovered soybean variety was officially launched in Yogyakarta on Monday during a dialogue entitled "Revitalization of Soybean Seedlings to Support the Self-production of Soybeans by 2015" held at Gadjah Mada University's School of Agriculture.

Mary Astuti from the School of Agriculture said the new superior variety of soybean was named after the Tamil word "Mallika", which literally means kingdom.

"We hope 'Mallika', as the local soybean variety, will become the king of soybeans in the country," said Mary, who is also head of the school's Agro Industry Management and Technology Development Institution.

Research and development of the new soybean variety has been ongoing since 2001, with financial support from consumer goods company PT Unilever Indonesia.

According to Mary the research has proven that "Mallika" has a relatively high productivity level.

"Productivity has reached up to 2.7 tons of soybean per hectare of plantation," said Mary, adding the development of the new variety had covered some 1,600 hectares and involved some 6,000 farmers in 13 regencies across four provinces -- Yogyakarta, Central Java, East Java and West Java.

The figure is considerably higher than that of the national productivity level of other soybean varieties, which is less than a ton per hectare. The government has been struggling to raise productivity to 1.5 tons per hectare in a bid to achieve self-sufficiency in soybean production by 2015.

Mary said the "Mallika" as a plant is more resistant to both flooding and drought. As a seed, similarly, it has a considerably high growth capability.

"Even after 8 months of storage, Mallika seeds still have a growth rate of 80 percent," she said.

In terms of nutritional content, likewise, Mallika is considered superior due to the antioxidant content in its black skin, making it not only beneficial in preventing cancer and high cholesterol but also in preventing degenerative diseases.

"Another positive feature of the 'Mallika' is that it is has not been genetically modified," Mary added.

As an ingredient in the production of soybean ketchup, Mary said "Mallika" is also superior as even without food enhancers the ketchup has a very specific taste.

Director General of Food Crops at the Agriculture Ministry Sutarto Alimoeso said the "Mallika" soybean project was a good example of a successful partnership between the food-processing industry, the university and farmers.

"The Agriculture Ministry is very appreciative for the finding and hopes it will be an entry point for further development, not only for soybean production but also for other commodities and industries," Sutarto said.

He expressed hope the new soybean variety would also speed up the country's independence over imported yellow soybeans, which have flooded the Indonesian market and food-processing industry for years.

Center aims to bring RI herbs to global market

Theresia Sufa, The Jakarta Post, Bogor

Indonesia trails only Brazil and Zaire in terms of biodiversity, yet the country still relies on imports of raw materials from India and Thailand for its traditional herbal medicine industry.

The head of Bogor's Aromatic and Herbal Plants Research Center (Balittro), H.A.M. Syakir, said the government's lack of attention to the cultivation of herbal plants was to blame for the insufficient supply of raw material for traditional medicine production.

Syakir spoke to journalists during a one-day exhibition and workshop on aromatic and herbal plants, at Botani Square Bogor earlier this week.

Some 75 researchers, medical practitioners, businesspeople and farmers took part in the event.

According to data from the center, Indonesia has identified 30,000 different kinds of endemic plants, 7,000 of them herbal plants. About 1,000 of the endemic plants are poisonous.

"(A)nd there are more than 50 kinds of aromatic plants," Syakir said.

He said there were countless traditional recipes for herbal medicines draw from about 370 ethnic groups across the archipelago.

"Our ancestors have used plants to treat illness, as health supplement, for body treatments and for cosmetics," Syakir said.

However, little has been done by the government or local administrations to cultivate the "hidden treasures" among the herbal plants, he said.

The 2000 Convention on Biological Diversity reported the global market for herbal medicines reached US$43 billion.

Indonesia earned just $100 million from herbal medicines in 2000.

Last year, the herbal medicine industry in Indonesia earned Rp 3 trillion ($318 million), far less than China's $6 billion and Malaysia's $1.2 billion.

Syakir said that by 2010 Indonesia could be earning Rp 8 trillion from herbal medicines with proper government support for the industry.

Fast-changing trends in the industry and a continued reliance on traditional cultivation methods are among the challenges facing Indonesia's industry, Syakir said.

"Our weakest point is that we cannot guarantee a steady supply for export because we still rely on traditional farmers."

Farmers cannot even meet the needs of domestic herbal medicine manufacturers, he said.

"A recent study we did showed domestic manufacturers are only getting 15 percent of their supplies from local farmers, with the remaining 85 percent imported. You can imagine the potential and the profit for farmers if they could guarantee a steady supply just for domestic manufacturers."

The Balittro research center, in cooperation with the Health Ministry, the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency and the National Standardization Body, is working to develop a standard of cultivation that can produce good quality herbal plants and larger harvests.

The center is currently studying jahe besar putih or white ginger, which is now mostly imported from India, kunyit (turmeric), kencur (galingale), temulawak (wild ginger), sambiloto, pegagan and purwoceng.

"Those plants are basic commodities of global herbal medicine production so if we can focus on these selected plants, we can play a greater role in global trade," Syakir said.

There are several government institutions who have launched programs dealing with herbal plants, but the bodies are working on their own, he said.

"There is no body to coordinate the agencies so they are heading to different destinations and mostly operating on a smaller scope in their respective areas."

Syakir would like to emulate South Korea, which is a major player in the international market with ginseng.

Korea, he said, knew how to protect its ginseng supply and continued to dominate the market.

Indonesia in the 1980s, according to Syakir, was the king of ginger, dominating markets in Japan and the Middle East, but had since lost its competitive edge.

Earthquake hits Sulawesi, tsunami warning issued

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (JP): A 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit Sulawesi on Thursday at 4:48 p.m. Jakarta time, prompting authorities to issue a tsunami warning.

The quake had an epicenter 291 kilometers northeast of Bitung, North Sulawesi at a depth of 30 kilometers, theMeteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) reported on its website.

Meanwhile, Metro TV reported that more than 100 aftershocks have rattled Sumatra over the past two days after the main earthquake on Wednesday evening.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Earthquake felt in four countries

The jakarta Post

JAKARTA (AP): A powerful earthquake off western Indonesia triggered warnings of a potentially destructive tsunami across much of the Indian Ocean region Wednesday, meteorological agencies said. It caused tall buildings to sway in at least four countries.

Some people in high-rises in neighboring Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand also felt the quake.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for wide areas of the region.

"Earthquakes of this size have the potential to generate a widespread destructive tsunami that can affect coastlines across the entire Indian Ocean Basin," it said, warning that waves could hit Indonesia and Australia within an hour.

Sri Lanka and India could be struck within three hours, it said.

Powerful quake hits Indonesia, tsunami warning issued

The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA (AP): A powerful earthquake hit Indonesia onWednesday, causing buildings to sway in the capital, and authorities issued a tsunami warning.

The earthquake, which occurred at 6:18 p.m. Jakarta time, had a preliminary magnitude of 7.9, the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) said. It said a tsunami alert had been issued.

Friday, September 7, 2007

KPC wins 2007 sustainability award

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

In recognition of its transparency in reporting and commitment to social-environmental sustainability, Indonesia's biggest coal mining firm, PT Kaltim Prima Coal (KPC), was presented with the 2007 sustainability award at the third annual Indonesian Sustainability Report Awards (ISRA) on Thursday.

Previous winner and automotive kingpin PT Astra International Tbk took second place this year, while new entrant PT Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper took both the Best Social & Environmental Reporting and the Best Website awards.

The awards, which were this year held in conjunction with the second Sustainable Enterprise Performance Conference (SEPC 2007), which closes today, consist of five categories: Best Sustainability Reporting, Best Environmental and Social Reporting, Best Environmental Reporting, Best Social Reporting, and Best Website.

State-owned coal miner PT Tambang Batubara Bukit Asam took second place in the Social and Environmental Reporting category, while another state mining firm, PT Aneka Tambang, took the award for Best Environmental Reporting, with PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol Tbk coming second in this category.

Indonesia's largest telecoms firm, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom) and its main competitor, Indosat, came first and second, respectively, in the Social Reporting category.

Special commendations for first-time participants were awarded to PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper, PT International Nickel Indonesia and PT Timah.

Seventeen state-owned enterprises and private companies participated this year at the event, yet only 11 were selected for consideration by a 14-strong panel of judges representing multiple stakeholders.

These include the State Ministry for the Environment, the Capital Market Supervisory Agency, the Jakarta Stock Exchange (JSX), the Indonesian Center for Sustainable Development, the Indonesian Business Link, and the Corporate Forum for Community Development.

The winners were selected after a careful evaluation of their 2006 annual reports, including reports on socio-environmental sustainability, interviews, and corporate social responsibility-compliant company websites.

The ISRAs were first organized in 2005 by the Indonesian Institute of Accountants (IAI-KAM), with the aim of affording recognition to institutions that routinely report and publish their environmental, social or integrated sustainability practices.

The awards are also intended to encourage reporting, increase corporate accountability and emphasize corporate responsibilities to key stakeholders, and to heighten awareness of corporate transparency and disclosure issues.

The IAI-KAM, an independent professional organization of management accountants established in 1987, has been actively involved in promoting sustainability management and CSR reporting among Indonesia companies and universities since 2004.

Govt makes industries recycle groundwater

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Amid rising concern over a water crisis in the capital, the city administration has stepped up pressure on industrial sectors to start recycling water.

The Jakarta Mining Agency said the recycled water could be used to meet demands for clean water from companies operating in business districts.

"Recycling water is a must to reduce the excessive exploitation of groundwater," agency head Peni Susanti said Wednesday.

The agency signed an agreement on the management of groundwater with operators of the business areas Mega Kuningan in Central Jakarta, Kelapa Gading in North Jakarta and Mangga Dua in West Jakarta.

The administration, however, did not specify technologies that could be used to recycle water.

"Recycling water has become common practice in several countries to save water," she said.

Recycled water is most commonly used for non-potable purposes, such as agriculture, landscape, public parks and golf course irrigation.

Other applications include cooling water for power plants and oil refineries, industrial process water for facilities such as paper mills and carpet dyers, toilet flushing, dust control, construction activities, concrete mixing and artificial lakes, as stated on the website of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Although most water recycling projects have been developed to meet non-potable demands, a number of projects use recycled water indirectly for potable purposes.

These projects include recharging groundwater aquifers and augmenting surface water reservoirs with recycled water. In groundwater recharge projects, recycled water can be spread or injected into groundwater aquifers to augment groundwater supplies, and to prevent salt water intrusion in coastal areas.

Peni said the overexploitation of groundwater in Jakarta had accelerated land subsidence, particularly in business districts where many high-rise building have been built.

"In the Mega Kuningan business area, the level of the groundwater is decreasing by five meters per year. The area could collapse unless there is some control of the groundwater use," she said.

According to agency data, 80 percent of the city's land subsidence is caused by building construction, 17 percent by groundwater exploitation and 3 percent by natural causes.

"Therefore, we will invite all managements of the business districts in the capital to sign the agreement," she said.

She said operators of business areas were also required to set up percolation pits to help recharge the groundwater supply.

"They must also dig lakes in their areas to harvest rain in a bid to recharge the groundwater supply," she said.

Businesses, including hotels and hospitals, are the main users of groundwater.

There are currently 3,600 companies in Jakarta that hold permits to take a maximum of 100 cubic meters of groundwater per day.

Since the groundwater reserve has reached critical levels, the administration has stopped issuing new permits for the industrial sector.

Governor-elect Fauzi Bowo, in a speech at a seminar organized by the agency, said he would raise the tariff of groundwater to protect the long-term interests of the city.

The mining agency currently charges companies Rp 4,000 for every cubic meter of groundwater they use. Piped water costs about Rp 12,000 a cubic meter.

Estimates by the Jakarta administration put the city's water needs at around 547.5 million cubic meters per year.

The city's two tap water operators can only meet half of the need as they produce 295 million cubic meters of water per year.

Treated reused groundwater go to farms, dinner table

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

With increasing pressure on water supplies as a result of population growth in metropolitan centers, several countries have developed water recycling projects for non-potable purposes such as irrigation, agriculture, industrial processes, toilet flushing and replenishing groundwater basins.

The first recycling water facility was built at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park in 1932. Since then, the use of recycled water has continued to rise.

The Water Factory 21 Direct Injection Project in Orange County, California, has been injecting highly treated recycled water into the aquifer to prevent salt water intrusion, while augmenting the potable groundwater supply since 1976.

A world-class golf course in the U.S. state of Hawaii, Koele Golf Course, has used recycled water for irrigation since 1994.

The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station located near Phoenix Arizona, uses recycled water for cooling purposes.

The Irvine Ranch Water District provides recycled water for toilet flushing in high-rise buildings in Irvine, California.

Singapore has adopted a varied approach for ensuring a sustainable water supply. Aside from importing water from Malaysia, collecting and treating local surface runoff and desalinating seawater, Singapore reuses wastewater through its NEWater scheme.

Two plants came online in 2003, producing 72 million liters of purified recycled water per day. Most of NEWater is supplied to wafer fabrication plants, electronic industries, commercial buildings and other industries for non-potable uses.

Veurne-Ambacht, a tourist region on the coast of Belgium, recharges the groundwater basin with purified recycled water to prevent seawater intrusion.

Essex, the driest county in the UK, has implemented a water recycling scheme since 1997. Up to 28 million liters per day of treated wastewater is mixed with river water and pumped into the Hanningfield reservoir.

In Australia's Toowoomba and Goulburn, wastewater has been recycled for decades, usually for recreational facilities such as ponds in parks and golf courses. The two cities plan to use recycled sewage for drinking water.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the U.S. is currently developing initiatives to recycle water more efficiently on the International Space Station in preparation for future trips to the Moon and Mars.

Researchers are developing technology to recover water from astronauts' sweat, breath vapor and urine. It is hoped to produce 132 liters of potable water per day, which would be sufficient for a seven-person crew.


Thursday, September 6, 2007

RI 'not ready' for next disaster

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesia is far from prepared to cope with natural disasters and regional administrations must take responsibility for their communities, particularly in areas prone to tsunamis and earthquakes, experts said.

A three-day seminar about preparing for disasters concluded Wednesday that Cilacap in Central Java was the only region vaguely ready to handle its next natural disaster.

Disaster coordinator with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) Jan Sopaheluwakan said LIPI had conducted surveys and studies in five regions, including Serang in Banten, Cilacap in Central Java, Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam province, Bengkulu province and Padang Pariaman in West Sumatra.

He said the 2007 study found all areas were prone to tsunamis and earthquakes but "most of them are not prepared to face these disasters".

Indonesia has experienced seven tsunamis since 1969, with the 2004 tsunami killing some 250,000 people.

Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) chairwomen Sri Woro Budiharti Haryono said some regions, especially those prone to disasters, did not have the proper equipment to detect tsunamis.

"Only eight regions have receivers to detect earthquakes that could lead to tsunamis," Sri said.

"But they can't determine if a tsunami would occur or not."

She said ideally, regions along sea shores should have at least one receiver.

In April, the first domestically produced tsunami-early-warning-buoy was placed in the Sunda Strait, which separates Banten and Lampung provinces.

The buoy should inform the public of a potential tsunami five to 10 minutes after the wave is detected under the sea, said the program coordinator Ridwan Djamaluddin.

"But it's still in the trial process and it doesn't operate well yet," he said.

The country has four buoys, three of which were made by Germany, he said.

"But they're all still in the trial process.

"We want 22 buoys to be built and fully operational by the end of 2008."

Jan said LIPI's study found only Cilacap in West Java was almost ready to face its next natural disaster.

But he said the lack of preparedness in most regions was due to the way local administrations handled disaster planning.

"They still think that disaster relief efforts are the central government's job," Jan said.

"They also still act responsively, not preventively."

The surveys were conducted across households, school community and local administration levels.

Most families said they understood published disaster instructions, but were not willing to increase the level of preparedness, the study found.

Most households also did not have access to early disaster warnings.

At schools, weak policy-making, poor contingency plans and a lack of human resources contributed to poor disaster planning.

A limited capability to mobilize officers at the regional level also hampered disaster preparations that should involve all members of society, Jan said.

The preparedness program has been conducted since early 2005 and LIPI has committed to assist each region for three years.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Over 2,400 ha rice fields in E Java facing harvest failure

Bojonegoro (ANTARA News) - Drought in East Java`s Bojonegoro district has begun to affect agricultural fields with at least 2,400 hectares of rice fields in the sub districts of Sukosewu, Balen and Kapas facing harvest failure.

Coordinator of Bengawan Solo`s Water Resources Control Agency in Bojonegoro, Moelyono said here on Wednesday that some 4,471 hectares of rice fields in the subdisricts of Sukosewu, Balen, Kapas, Baureno and Kanor had been affected by the drought.

He said the rice fields used to receive water from the Pacal dam in Kedungsumger village, Temayang subdistrict, as well from the Bengawan Solo river.

But the Pacal reservoir which is able to hold 23 million cubic meters of water had almost dried up. The remaining water volume in the dam was now less than 400,000 cubic meters. This volume was not enough to supply water to the irrigation networks.

As a result, some 2,471 hectares of rice fields were facing harvest failure. "We can do nothing except wait for the rain to fall," Moelyono said.

Rice farms in a number of villages in the subdistricts of Kanor and Baureno, however, could still be saved as water still could be channelled using water pumps from the Bengawan Solo river, he said.