The most affordable times for domestic travel in #Indonesia

Idul Fitri is around the corner and people are getting ready to travel to their hometown to celebrate the auspicious occasion.

Those who are seeking to extend their vacation or plan to go on a trip across Indonesia this year, but still want to save some money, can consider following a new set of data from global travel search company Skyscanner about the most affordable times of year to travel within the archipelago.  

If you want to enjoy the sunset at Tanah Lot Temple in Tabanan or marvel at terraced paddy fields in Ubud, Bali, it is advised to fly to the island in January and September, with return tickets priced at around Rp 2.2 million (US$165).

As for those who are planning to visit Affandi Museum or simply walk down the street of Malioboro, Yogyakarta, it is best to come to the province in February and September, with return tickets costing around Rp 1.33 million.

Meanwhile, visitors traveling to Praya in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, are advised to fly in February, when the average ticket price is at Rp 1.4 million. Meanwhile, October is the best time to purchase a return ticket, when the price starts at Rp 2 million.

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Source – TheJakartaPost

Myanmar’s (Burma) Muslims mark Ramadhan out in the cold.

Huddled under umbrellas to escape a thundering monsoon downpour, dozens of Muslims stood in line at a Yangon mosque for a small portion of rice and curry to break their Ramadhan fast.

Many would have normally prayed at Islamic schools that for six decades – most of them spent under Myanmar’s former military government – doubled as a place for Muslims to come together for worship.

But last month the madrassas in eastern Yangon were closed down by a Buddhist nationalist mob, one of a growing number of raids by resurgent hardliners intent on silencing the maligned minority.

“We have faced more discrimination over the last few years,” said Hussein, who used to pray at the schools.

Nearby old bearded men used wooden paddles to stir steaming vats of daal, which was portioned into metal tiffins with rice and handed to waiting families.

Muslims only make up some 3-4 percent of Myanmar’s population, including the Rohingya minority from western Rakhine State, but the religion traces its roots in the country back centuries.

Now many are feeling unwelcome in their own homeland.

“When I was young there was no discrimination. We were very friendly [with Buddhists], so we would eat at their homes and they would eat at ours,” added Hussein, who like many of Myanmar’s Muslims only goes by one name.

“Now we live in this country and we are not free to practice our religion.”

Aung Htoo Myint, secretary of the mosque in Yangon’s poor Thaketa township, said they had struggled to accommodate the hundreds forced to join their congregation after Islamic schools were shuttered.

Many from the mainly Muslim neighborhood braved the monsoon rains to pray together in the street when this year’s holy month of Ramadhan began, but local authorities swiftly banned those gatherings as well.

They have since launched legal proceedings against three people who attended a prayer session, arguing the gathering threatened “stability and the rule of law”.

Bo Gyi, a teacher at the madrassas, said they had been given no details of when the schools would reopen or what would happen to the 300 children who studied there.

“We have written letters to the president and Yangon chief minister as well,” he said, but there has been no reply.

Myanmar has faced growing criticism for how it treats Muslims, who now encounter restrictions on who they can marry and even how many children they can have under the country’s 2015 Race and Religion laws.

Tensions have simmered since 2012 when sectarian violence erupted in Rakhine, killing around 200 people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, and driving tens of thousands into displacement camps.

The young civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi has struggled to contain anti-Muslim sentiment since militants claiming to represent the Rohingya attacked police posts late last year.

Since then the hardliners have become increasingly vocal, shutting down Islamic events, forming a political party to stand in the 2020 elections and clashing with Muslims on Yangon’s streets.

Police have arrested ringleaders behind the violence, while the country’s top Buddhist body has banned prominent ultra-nationalist group Ma Ba Tha – which responded by simply changing its name.

But ordinary Muslims fear they are now becoming targets in their own country.

Haroon, 57, who has spent his whole life in Yangon where he works selling chapattis, says he is increasingly worried about the nationalists.

“There is only one group creating this situation,” he tells AFP inside the house where he lives with his wife and three children, unwilling to say the name Ma Ba Tha out loud.

“If that group disappeared completely, everything would be peaceful.”

Source – The JakartaPost

Beijing’s new mega airport will challenge Air China’s dominance

Like ancient warlords, China’s three biggest airlines have dominated their regional cities: Air China Ltd. controlling Beijing, China Eastern Airlines Corp. holding sway in the financial center of Shanghai, and China Southern Airlines Co. ruling the roost down in export gateway Guangzhou. Until now.

Rising on a plain south of Beijing is a mega airport that is about to change the balance, bringing all three head to head in the capital as it becomes the world’s biggest aviation hub.

The new airport, due to open in 2019, has been designated by authorities as the hub for members of the SkyTeam alliance, a global group of airlines that includes China Eastern and China Southern. The two Chinese carriers will each be allowed to capture 40 percent of the airport’s passengers, gaining coveted time slots to Europe and the U.S. in Air China’s backyard.

“This is an absolute game-changer for China Eastern and China Southern,” said Corrine Png, chief executive officer of Crucial Perspective in Singapore. “Having all the SkyTeam alliance members under one roof will enable seamless flight connections.”

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The invasion of Air China’s regional rivals has repercussions beyond China. As well as dominating their home bases, the big three Chinese players have each carved out a position abroad. Air China, through its Star Alliance ties with Deutsche Lufthansa AG and United Continental Holdings Inc., commands many of the routes to Europe and North America. China Eastern is the biggest carrier to Japan and South Korea. And China Southern is strong in Australia and Southeast Asia.

With access to more slots in Beijing, China Southern and China Eastern would potentially get more access to lucrative North American routes while their SkyTeam partners would get better access to the Chinese capital. In addition, China Southern, the nation’s biggest airline, would be able to draw traffic from its Southeast Asian links to fly via Beijing to the U.S.

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#Panama switches to #China, cuts ties with #Taiwan

BEIJING – Panama and China announced Tuesday they were establishing diplomatic relations, as the Central American nation became the latest to dump Taiwan for closer ties with the world’s second-largest economy.

The move prompted an angry response from Taiwan and will likely further strain ties between Taipei and Beijing, which considers the self-ruled island a renegade province awaiting reunification with the mainland.

Taiwan is recognized by around 20 countries worldwide and its status is one of the most politically sensitive issues for Chinese leaders who pressure trade partners to accept its “one China” principle.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela said in a nationally televised message “to the country and the world” that “Panama and China establish diplomatic relations today”.

The two countries issued a joint statement saying: “In light of the interests and wishes of both peoples, the Republic of Panama and People’s Republic of China have decided to grant each other, from the date of this document’s signing, mutual recognition, establishment of diplomatic ties at the ambassadorial level.”

After decades of siding with Taiwan in the disagreement over its status, Panama now “recognises that there is only one China in the world” and that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory.

 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Panamanian counterpart Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado signed the communique in Beijing.

“This is a historic moment, China-Panama relations have opened a new chapter,” Wang said, adding that Panama’s decision was in “complete accordance” with its people’s interests and “in keeping with the times”.

Saint Malo said Panama and China had made an “important step” and started a “new page in our strategic relations”

The announcement comes after Beijing began construction last week of a container port, with natural gas facilities, in Panama’s northern province of Colon.

Panama had long stressed it had diplomatic ties with Taipei and commercial ones with Beijing.

Chinese ships, after those from the United States, are the number two users of the Panama Canal, the Central American country’s main source of budget revenue.

Taiwan’s anger 

Panama is the latest country to cut ties with Taiwan.

In December China signed an agreement to restore diplomatic relations with Sao Tome and Principe after the African nation ditched the island.

Taiwan reacted furiously to the latest move.

“We strongly condemn Beijing for manipulating the so-called ‘one China’ policy to continue to suppress Taiwan’s international space through various means,” the presidential office said.

“This kind of action is not only an open threat to Taiwanese people’s survival and welfare but also an open provocation to peace and stability in the Taiwan strait and the region.”

Diplomatic tussles between Taiwan and Beijing eased under the island’s previous Beijing-friendly government.

But relations have deteriorated since President Tsai Ing-wen’s China-sceptic Democratic Progressive Party was swept to power in a landslide election victory last year.

Tsai has refused to acknowledge the concept that Taiwan is part of “one China”, unlike her predecessor Ma Ying-jeou.

Cross-strait tensions have been further exacerbated by a highly unusual call from Tsai to congratulate then US President-elect Donald Trump, who questioned Washington’s policy towards the island, including its decision to not formally recognize its government.

Source – TheNation

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Airplane #Myanmar (Burma) Air Force missing

An airplane of Myanmar’s air force has disappeared from the radar. That has declared the army of the country today. The unit has 116 people on board.

The Communication with the plane was suddenly broken, according to the army. The airplane was flew at more than 30 kilometers west of Dawei City, in southern Myanmar, former Burma.

Source – The Dutch AD

Nothing reported yet on the Myanmar Times

PS – Found more information

Tatmadaw transportation plane Y-8 missing; search and rescue operations under way

Nay Pyi Taw June 7

The Tatmadaw welfare transportation plane (Y-8-200 F No. 5820) carrying 108 military personnel and family members and 14 crew members and about 2.4 tons of cargo on board started flying from Myeik to Yangon at 1.06 pm today in accordance with the route Yangon-Myeik-Pokkpyin-Myeik-Yangon. While the aircraft was flying at an altitude of 18,000 feet, it lost contact with the Dawei Air-port at 195° southwest of Dawei about 43 miles from the town at 1.35 pm.

After losing contact with the aircraft, Air Force aircraft, Navy vessels and ground troops conducted search and rescue operations at a place between 13.48 degrees north latitude and 98.02 degrees east longitude where contact from the plane was last received. There was certain degree of waves at the sea during the time the incident occurred. When the weather became fine at about 6 pm local vessels joined in the search and rescue operations. Currently, nine Navy vessels, three Air Force planes and ground troops are carrying out search and rescue work in cooperation with local vessels.

The plane, Y-8-200 F, arrived in March last year. It had 809 flying hours in the service of Air Force. It was operated by seasoned pilot Officiating Lt-Col Nyein Chan with 3,162 flying hours, co-pilot Officiating Lt-Col Soe Thu Win with 3,161 flying hours, co-pilot Maj Thant Zin Htay with 2,403 flying hours and flight engineer Capt Kyaw Soe. It has a 14-member flight crew. Passengers were 35 officers and other ranks and 15 children (6 boys, 9 girls) and 58 adults (13 men, 45 women) who were families members totaling 108.

#Indonesia may lose 50,000 tourists because of #Qatar crisis

The Indonesian government is predicting that the recent severing of ties between several Arab countries and Qatar would deal a blow to the archipelago’s tourism industry, with 50,000 expected tourists not showing up because of the crisis, a senior official said on Tuesday.

That is the number of visitors Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said Qatar Airways, for the most part, would have brought to Indonesia this year. 

“Given that seven months are left in the year 2017, we estimate we will lose about 50,000 foreign tourists as a result of the boycott of Qatar,” Arief told reporters at the State Palace on Tuesday. 

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In order to reduce the expected loss, Arief said his ministry would coordinate with the Transportation Ministry to transfer the license given to the Qatari airline to other airlines, such as Emirates and Etihad. 

“First of all, I will ask the Transportation Ministry to transfer the aircraft license given to Qatar [Airways] to other airlines. We have no option as they [Qatar Airways] could not fly their aircraft anyway,” Arief said. 

Qatar Airways said on its official website it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and several of its allies on Monday cut relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremism.

Source – TheJakartaPost

President Duterte Kicks Rothschilds Out Of Philippines

President Duterte has vowed to “eradicate all traces of Rothschild financial criminality” from the Philippines, announcing that he will no longer respond to pressure or financial blackmail from the US government or Rothschild-controlled global banking institutions.

The president, who claims to have killed cartel bosses with his own hands, is not one to be bullied, and he has now set his sights on cleaning up the financial corruption in his country, promising to “drive them out like the scavengers they are.

Before Rodrigo Duterte assumed the office of president, the Philippines was suffering from the effects of IMF/World Bank-imposed austerity and privatization that exploited its people and resources. It was also one of Asia’s most corrupt and troubled nations.

Though the Filipino people, through strong showings of popular resistance over a period of years, were able to curb some of the most rampant crony corruption, many of the shackles imposed by these Rothschild-controlled institutions remained.

President Duterte rode into power campaigning on a ticket of major change, but unlike Western politicians who pay lip service to change before letting down their supporters, the Philippines president has delivered on his promises – in spades.

During the election campaign Duterte urged the people to kill him if he failed to resolve crime and corruption in the country during the first six months of his term.

Over one year into his term and he has delivered on his promises. He’s now famous for more than calling President Obama a “son of a whore” at a regional summit in Laos last year. Much to the Rothschild-controlled international community’s outrage, Duterte is shooting from the hip, and cleaning up his country.

In 2016, after warning those involved in the narcotics trade that “it’s either you kill me or I kill you“, an astonishing 1,007,153 narcotics criminals surrended to government, and 73 government officials were arrested for involvement in the illegal drug trade.

Billions of dollars worth of narcotics were seized, showing what can be done in a short timeframe if the problem is tackled seriously.

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#Philippine troops battle Islamist militants in city

Philippine troops aboard helicopters and in armoured tanks battled Islamist militants inside a southern city on Thursday, as reports emerged of the gunmen murdering civilians.

An initial rampage by the gunmen, who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, through the mainly Muslim city of Marawi on Tuesday prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to impose martial law across the southern third of the Philippines.

Authorities said ending the crisis was proving extremely hard because the militants were holed up in residential buildings, had planted improvised bombs in the streets and had taken Catholic hostages.

“People are afraid. They do not want to open establishments. Offices are closed. We do not want people to be used as human shields,” Marawi mayor Majul Usman Gandamra said. 

Two military helicopters flew above Marawi and armoured tanks churned through its streets as automatic rifle firing could be heard on Thursday, according to an AFP photographer in the city.

Marawi has about 200,000 residents but many of them have fled because of the fighting.

Five soldiers and one policemen died in the clashes, while 13 gunmen were killed, according to the military.

Authorities have not reported any civilian casualties but the GMA television network showed images of nine people who had apparently been shot dead. The victims had their hands tied together.

They were captured at a roadside checkpoint and murdered by the militants after being identified as Christians, according to the GMA reporter, citing a witness.

Duterte said on Wednesday one policeman was similarly caught at a checkpoint set up by the militants and beheaded.

There are only between 50 and 100 gunmen, according to various military officials.

The militants are also holding between 12 and 15 Catholic hostages abducted from a church, according to the local bishop, Edwin Dela Pena.

The fighting erupted on Tuesday after security forces raided a house where they believed Isnilon Hapilon, a leader of the infamous Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom gang and Philippine head of IS, was hiding.

The United States regards Hapilon as one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, offering a bounty of $5 million for his capture.

However the raid went spectacularly wrong as dozens of gunmen emerged to repel the security forces, then went on a rampage across the city while flying black IS flags.

The militants raided two jails, leading to the escape of more than 100 inmates, according to Mujiv Hataman, the governor of a Muslim self-rule area that includes Marawi.

They also set fire to many buildings, including a church and a university.

Filipino soldiers bring Marawi children in safety.

Source – TheJakartaPost

#Indonesia to promote golf tourism in South Korea.

A niche market that the Tourism Ministry is currently promoting is golf tourism.

After a successful promotional event showcasing Indonesian golf courses at the Jinghua Golf Club in Beijing on April 6, the ministry is going to hold the second stage of its Sales Mission Golf in East Asia on May 24 in Seoul, South Korea.

This mission will connect Indonesian operators in golf tourism with 50 to 80 buyers from South Korea.

According to I Gde Pitana, the ministry’s deputy for overseas promotion, the first event in Beijing featured three Indonesian tourist operators.

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“Golfers usually spend an average of $6,000 per visit, six times higher than the amount spent by regular foreign tourists,” explained Pitana.

“Golf is a popular sport among South Koreans, especially the elite. In South Korea, the sport isn’t dominated by men only. Women also love to golf,” added the ministry’s deputy assistant for Asia Pacific tourism promotion, Vinsensius Jemadu.

“Golf courses in Indonesia are unique. There are 114 international-standard golf courses located across Indonesia, each with its own unique challenges. They all offer stunning panoramic views,” Vinsensius said.

Source – TheJakartaPost