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Intervention helps increase market confidence: BI says

Satria Sambijantoro, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Economy & Business| Sat, March 09 2013, 10:04 AM Paper Edition | Page: 3

The central bank, Bank Indonesia (BI), defended its intervention in the foreign exchange market saying that the practice is needed to protect the rupiah even though it has contributed to the deterioration of foreign exchange reserves in recent months.

BI Deputy Governor Halim Alamsyah said in Jakarta on Friday that central bank market intervention had successfully boosted confidence among investors in the forex market, as reflected by the stabilization of the rupiah and the increase in the flow of foreign funds into the country. We are trying to pump liquidity into the market thats why our forex reserves are depleted. But, recently we see that the policy has been quite a success, Halim told reporters at BI headquarters.

The rupiah, the worst-performing currency in Asia last year, strengthened 0.3 percent to average at 9,680 per dollar in February. A more stable rupiah has helped improve investor confidence in the local stock market. The market is already comfortable with the situation, said Halim, pointing out that US$2.3 billion of foreign funds came into the country in the first two months of the year, as compared to $6 billion in the whole of 2012.

BIs forex reserves fell to $105 billion, the lowest level in two years, in February, compared to $109 billion in January. The decline means that BIs forex reserves have declined for two consecutive months. At the end of December they touched $113 billion, the highest level for six months. The sharp decline in forex reserves has raised concern over future intervention, given the high demand for dollars in the coming months.

Halim is optimistic about an improvement in dollar liquidity soon, on the back of optimism of faster global economic recovery to boost exports and, ultimately, pour additional dollar-based export proceeds in the currency market. We see exports improving in the second half. Several indicators, especially those coming from our main trading partners such as China, show that their economies are improving, the deputy governor said.

Economists say that the depleting forex reserves will breed negative sentiment towards the rupiah among investors, who will prefer foreign currencies on fears of future rupiah depreciation. Depletion in reserves will, to some extent, raise concern on holding rupiah assets although the current level, equal to 5.7 months of imports and government debt services, is still above the International Monetary Fund three month threshold, MandiriSekuritas analysts led by Aldian Taloputra wrote in a research note released on Friday. The rupiah currency was the worst performing among Asias 11 most-traded currencies last year, weakening 5.9 percent. On Friday, the rupiahs one-month non-deliverable forwards strengthened 0.1 percent to 9,703 per dollar. They traded at a 0.2 percent discount to the spot rate, which climbed 0.1 percent to 9,688. A daily fixing used to settle the rupiah derivatives was set at 9,688, from 9,699 yesterday by the Association of Banks in Singapore.
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Anas says the battle has just begun


Bagus BT Saragih, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Politic | Sun, February 24 2013, 10:29 AM
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A day after being criminally charged by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Anas Urbaningrum on Saturday stepped down from his position as Democratic Party chairman, but warned his foes that his downfall was not the end of the ongoing political struggle within the ruling party. Anas, who has been accused of accepting a gratuity from the construction firm that won the tender for the graft-ridden Hambalang sports complex project while serving as a lawmaker in 2009, announced his resignation in a press conference attended by his loyalists at the partys central executive office in Jakarta. Donning the blue Democratic Party jacket, Anas told reporters he knew that he would be named a suspect before the KPK announced it on Friday, suggesting that it was part of a systematic plot against him. I had known since the partys supreme assembly issued a decision containing a provision ordering me to focus on my legal problems, he said, referring to party chief patron and supreme assembly chairman President Susilo Bambang Yudho-yonos eight policies to restore the partys reputation and electability. It doesnt take a genius to be able to connect the dots, to see that all of these actions have been orchestrated against me, he said. But Anas made it clear that any kind of orchestration, no matter how sophisticated or how powerful the people behind it are, will surely be overcome. The young politician said the KPKs decision to name him a graft suspect was not the end of his battle. Today I am making it clear that this is just the beginning and this is still very far from the end. Like a book, we have merely flipped opened the first page. There are so many pages waiting to be unveiled, for our own good. In the following days, this party will be tested. We will see if it really adheres to its clean,
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smart and ethical slogan. We will learn if it is instead just the opposite,he went on. Siti Zuhro, a political analyst from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said that Anas statement could be seen as a sign that he would spill the beans on his political rivals within the party, including President Yudhoyono and his family, and supporters. Anas was basically saying that he would, little by little, unveil the partys dirty laundry to the public, she said. Yudhoyono, as the partys supreme assembly chairman, has intensified communications with senior party members known to be his loyalists and eight other members of the assembly following Anas statement. On Saturday night, assembly members met at Yudhoyonos residence in Cikeas, West Java. Earlier, House of Representatives Speaker Marzuki Alie said that the meeting was supposed to be held on Sunday. The assembly would be preparing organizational steps following Anas resignation, such as appointing an acting chairman before holding an extraordinary congress to elect Anas definitive successor, according to Marzuki. Sources within the party, however, said that Yudhoyono and his close supporters had been launching efforts to secure support from party branches in provinces, municipalities and regencies in hopes that support from the regional executives could be secured during the upcoming election. A party source said that later on Saturday, Yudhoyono talked with various party provincial leaders in a teleconference from his home. According to the source, the extraordinary congress is slated to be held on Tuesday in Bali. Marzuki himself, meanwhile, has been touted as a candidate to replace Anas. But analysts said the most probable candidates would be party secretary-general and Yudhoyonos son Edhie Ibas Baskoro Yudhoyono and Indonesian Army chief of staff and Yudhoyonos brother-in-law Gen. Pramono Edhie Wibowo. Anas, in his statement on Friday, said that the KPKs move to name him a suspect had involved interference from those in power, even though he said he still believed that the anti graft body would remain independent.
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Indonesian teachers need more training


Niken Prathivi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Education | Sun, March 24 2013, 11:01 AM Paper Edition | Page: 3 Teachers reveal that the real problem in Indonesian education is the poor quality of the countrys teachers.

This is because teachers, mainly those in elementary schools, rarely participate in training to update their skills and knowledge.

Retno Listiyarti of the Indonesian Teachers Union Federation (FSGI) said the government should schedule a longer preparation period before implementing Curriculum 2013. Both England and Singapore, she said, spent three years in preparing, doing trial runs and evaluating their new curriculums before applying them. I heard that the government plans to create 40,000 national instructors in a limited time period. How can that be possible? Even UNICEF [United Nations Childrens Fund] spent five years creating 10,000 similar teachers in Indonesia, she said.

Retno cited Education and Culture Ministry data that showed that 62 percent of elementary school teachers nationwide had not undertaken any training at all, including those teachers who were about to retire. By way of comparison, a teacher in Singapore is obliged to take 100 hours of training per year, said Retno.

Amid such conditions, Retno, who is also a high school teacher in Jakarta, said that she considered the governments plan to implement the new curriculum an impossible mission. The new curriculum applies a thematic and integrated approach, which we already have in the current curriculum [implemented in 2006]. The concept is not working in the country, especially
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in remote areas, because teachers there dont have the skills or supporting materials to adopt such an approach, she said, adding that the new curriculum would become yet another of the ministrys paper tigers. The upcoming curriculum is going to be another document on the shelf, and it wont be perfectly implemented across the country. Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh said that around 49,000 teachers from 30 percent of the 148,000 elementary schools nationwide would be participating in a national training on how to implement the new curriculum, according to reports by Antara news agency. The training, which will total 52 hours, comprises 33 hours of face-to-face sessions and 19 hours of mentoring sessions. Deputy Education and Culture Minister for Education Musliar Kasim said that his team had been working on producing teachers guidance books, which underwent a massive print run on March 17. Itje Chodidjah believes the government must be very careful in its selection of trainers, should it insist on implementing the new curriculum within the next four months. Lets just say that the implementation is a done deal. The next important thing is for the government to select master trainers in this limited time, she said. The government, said Itje, has to be certain that it can find highly qualified national instructors who really understand how to impart the new curriculums concept to the master trainers. Furthermore, the government must also ensure that the master trainers have the ability to swap concept language with functional language when they deliver the curriculum concept to teachers who have varying levels of ability, she explained.

Dortmund beats Real Madrid 4-1 in Champs League


Ciaran Fahey, The Associated Press, Dortmund, Germany | Sports | Thu, April 25 2013, 6:41 AM Robert Lewandowski scored four goals as Borussia Dortmund romped to a convincing 4-1 victory over Real Madrid on Wednesday and took a huge step toward the Champions League final. Dortmund's triumph in the first leg of the semifinal also lined up the prospect of an all-German final at Wembley Stadium on May 25, following Bayern Munich's 4-0 rout of Barcelona on Tuesday. The second leg matches will be played next week. "We still have to go to Madrid. That won't be a stroll in the park," Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said. Lewandowski opened the scoring in the eighth minute, only for Cristiano Ronaldo to equalize against the run of play two minutes before the interval. But Lewandowski beat the offside trap to claim his second in the 50th, and the Poland striker completed his hat trick in stunning fashion five minutes later. He rounded off the scoring with a penalty in the 67th, after Xabi Alonso brought down Marco Reus. "It was an outstanding game from my team," Klopp said. "The third goal was worth every cent (broadcasters) ZDF and Sky give us." Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Guendogan, playing on Madrid's name, which means royal in Spanish, said: "It was a royal evening for us." The only unbeaten side remaining in the competition, Dortmund made it six wins from six at home and extended Madrid's run of six consecutive defeats in Germany. "I could see there was one team on the pitch that was much better than the other. The better team definitely won," Madrid's Jose Mourinho said after his worst result as a coach in the Champions League. The hosts' preparations for the game looked to have been disrupted by news breaking the day before of attacking midfielder Mario Goetze's decision to join Bayern at the end of the season. There was no obvious fallout during the match, though. "I am very proud of what the team delivered, especially after the difficulties of the past days," Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said. Klopp meanwhile paid tribute to the fans' reaction.
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"Without this atmosphere this game would not have been possible. One hundred percent," Klopp said. His side almost claimed an early the lead when Reus ran at three defenders before forcing a save from Lopez. The rebound fell just beyond the lurking Lewandowski in front of the open goal. Lewandowski took his chance a minute later, however, when Ilkay Guendogan sent Goetze free down the left, and the 20-year-old whipped in a dangerous cross that Lewandowski managed to reach, holding off Pepe. Mesut Oezil almost played Ronaldo through as the visitors sought a response, but the pass was too far ahead of the Portugal star. The visitors' troubles in the face of Dortmund's pressing game were summed up when Alonso went back to collect the ball from his goalkeeper, only to put a long pass out over the sideline. Ronaldo brought a smart save from Roman Weidenfeller with a free kick, before Guendogan shot over at the other end as the visitors resorted to last-ditch defending. Lewandowski, Reus and Goetze again were striking terror through the heart of the Madrid defense, which was resorting to last-ditch tackles to avert the danger. Dortmund's swashbuckling forays forward had the crowd on their feet, rising to the occasion as they sensed something special was happening. Penalty appeals were waved away after Reus fell under Varane's challenge in the area, and the home fans had further ground for complaint when Gonzalo Higuain seized on Mats Hummels' weak back pass and rolled it across goal for Ronaldo to fire into an unguarded net. It was his 12th goal of this season's campaign in Europe and his 50th in the Champions League overall. The game was being played at such a frenetic pace after the break that both sides found it hard to complete passes. However, Lewandowski ran onto Reus' defense-splitting pass before tucking the ball past Lopez, and he did even better five minutes later when he eluded Pepe by dragging the ball back and hammered the ball home from close range. Only a fingertip save from Diego Lopez denied Guendogan from claiming Dortmund's fourth in the 62nd, but Lewandowski notched his fourth from the spot five minutes later. "I also scored four goals. 1990 in Erfurt," joked Klopp, who once played in Germany's second division. Asked if they could compare in quality to Lewandowski's, he replied: "One of them was similar. I'm sure you will find it on the World Wide Web." Lewandowski might have had a fifth late on, only to be denied by a flying save from Diego Lopez, before Varane missed the chance to pull one back in injury time. Though Dortmund is odds on for only its second appearance in the final having won the competition in 1997 Mourinho refused to give up hope of Madrid reaching a 13th European Cup final. "In football everything is possible," Mourinho said. "Anything can happen next week."

Celebrity cleric Uje dies in motorbike accident


Corry Elyda, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Sat, April 27 2013, 10:25 AM Paper Edition | Page: 2 A sea of sorrow: A huge crowd bids farewell to Muslim Ustad (preacher) Jefry al-Buchari, after his body was carried from the Istiqlal Grand Mosque in Jakarta on Friday. The popular 40-yearold cleric was killed in a traffic accident early Friday. (Antara/Zabur Karuru)Islamic cleric Jefry al-Buchory, who was commonly known as Ustad (preacher) Uje, passed away early on Friday after his motorbike collided with a palm tree in Pondok Indah, South Jakarta. Ujes brother, Fajar Sidik, said that Uje had been ill several days ago but he was starting to recover. On Thursday night at 9 p.m., Uje and his assistant, Dani Santoso, went for a coffee in Kemang, South Jakarta, driving sport motorbikes. Unfortunately, Uje lost control of his motorbike while they were traveling home from Kemang to Bintaro, southwest of Jakarta, at 1 a.m. The bike slammed into a palm tree, throwing Uje 4 meters from the site of the collision. Dani, who was following Uje on his bike, immediately tried to save him but had to wait 30 minutes before a taxi arrived. South Jakarta Traffic Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Hindarsono said on Friday that Uje was rushed to Pondok Indah Hospital in South Jakarta for emergency treatment but doctors were unable to resuscitate him. Uje, who was born on April 12, 1973, died at 2 a.m. He is survived by his wife, Pipik Dian Irawati, and three children, Adiba Khanza Az-Zahra, Mohammad Abidzar Al-Ghifari and Ayla Azuhro Our investigation has revealed that the accident was a case of human error. Conditions at the site were normal: no potholes, traffic lights in good working order and good weather, the head of the Jakarta Police law enforcement sub-directorate, Adj. Sr. Comr. Darmanto, said. According to the police, Ujes family did not want an autopsy to be carried out; and they collected his remains from Pondok Indah Hospital on Friday at 3 a.m. Later in the morning, hundreds of people sobbed as Ujes corpse arrived at the Istiqlal Grand Mosque, Central Jakarta, for funeral prayers at 10:35 a.m, Antara news agency reported.
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The preacher, who was a well-known public figure, was buried in Karet Bivak public cemetery in Central Jakarta, where thousands of mourners gathered to pay their respects. According to Uzril, one of the cemeterys keepers, some mourners had been waiting since 7 a.m. to say goodbye to Uje, who they said was a good soul. The burial service ended at 2 p.m. The immense number of mourners at the cemetery created heavy congestion on roads leading to and from the compound. The Jakarta Polices Traffic Management Center (TMC) reported via its Twitter account, @TMCPoldaMetro, that several of Jakartas main thoroughfares were gridlocked following the funeral ceremony. Motorists were still trapped in severe traffic at 6 p.m. in areas including Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, Dukuh Atas, Senayan and Pejompongan in Central Jakarta; Slipi in West Jakarta; and Casablanca in South Jakarta, the TMC reported. Separately, Jakarta Governor Joko Jokowi Widodo expressed his condolence at City Hall on Friday. Please accept my and the Jakarta administration staffs sympathies. May Uje rest in peace, he said. Deputy Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama said that although he was a Christian, he loved listening to Uje preach. I once invited him when I was East Belitung regent to preach [before Muslim communities] during Islamic celebrations, he said. Uje hosted several religious programs on national television channels, which included Acara Dakwah, Salam Sahur, Sahur Untuk Semua, Gema Ramadhan and Kumis Remaja. He had also starred in a film called Pendekar Halilintar (Thunder Warrior) and a television drama, Sayap Patah (Broken Wings), both of which were released in 1990. He was raised in a religious family and attended Islamic schools from elementary through high school. Young Uje was also known to have had a dark past, involving drugs. He married his wife, Pipik, in 1999 in Semarang, Central Java. He reached a turning point in his life after returning home from an umroh (minor haj pilgrimage) with his family before his brother died in 2000. Thereafter, he continued his brothers work by becoming a preacher.
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