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18,895 hotspots in Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea in the past two weeks and warned people of the possibility of forest and land fires., Batam – The Indonesian government’s efforts to combat land and forest fires have received appreciation at the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states in Brunei Darussalam to discuss transboundary haze pollution. “We concluded the meeting only last night. During the two-day session no participant (complained about) transboundary (haze pollution) from Indonesia. We explained our concrete efforts in the field but we must admit that it is very difficult to put out peatland fires,” Director of Land and Forest Fire Control of the Environment and Forestry Ministry Raffles B Panjaitan said in a written statement released Wednesday (7/8/2019).

“I met with Singapore Minister of Environment and Water Sources Masagos Zulkifli. He thanked the Indonesian government for its efforts to handle land and forest fires and sent best regards to Minister Siti Nurbaya,” he said.

The integrated land and forest fire control task force comprising personnel from the military, police, national and regional disaster mitigation agencies, village heads, firefighters, fire brigades of national parks, natural resource and ecosystem conservation agency have continued their efforts to control fires arising from vulnerable areas, Raffles said.

As of August 6, 2019, 38 helicopters and planes have been involved in patrolling and extinguishing land and forest fires in the country.

Of the total, 19 have been deployed in Riau Province, four in South Sumatra Province, six in West Kalimantan Province, five in Central Kalimantan Province, two in South Kalimantan Province and one in Jambi Province.

Until August 5, 2019, helicopters and planes have conducted a total of 24,660 water bombing operations with 90,457,400 liters of water to put out fires in the areas that the team could not reach by land.

In addition, weather modification through cloud seeding has also been conducted, focusing on vulnerable areas. By August 5, 2019, 170 sorties of cloud seeding with 125,616 kilograms of salt have been conducted in the districts of Bengkalis, Siak, Indragiri Hilir, Kampar, Pelalawan, Ogan Ilir, and Meranti Islands and the municipality of Dumai in Riau Province.

The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) identified at least 18,895 hotspots in Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea in the past two weeks and warned people of the possibility of forest and land fires.

“The increasing number of hotspots was due to the current atmospheric conditions and relatively hot and dry weather that tends to scorch plants more easily,” BMKG’s Deputy of Meteorology Mulyono R. Prabowo stated here Wednesday.

Information on the number of hotspots was obtained from the Terra Aqua Satellite (LAPAN) and Himawari Satellite (Japan JMA) imagery that was then analyzed by BMKG.

Based on the monitoring conducted by BMKG, the number of hotspots in some Southeast Asian regions has increased, from 1,395 as monitored on July 25, 2019, to 2,441 hotspots on July 28, 2019.

Furthermore, the hotspots began to reduce to 1,782 on July 29, 2019, and then to 703 hotspots on August 1, 2019.

The number of hotspots increased again to 3,191 on August 4, 2019, and was concentrated in the Indonesian provinces of Riau, Central Kalimantan, and West Kalimantan. The hotspots were also detected in some other ASEAN countries of Malaysia (in Sarawak), Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and the Philippines. (vps)

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Trade Minister, Enggartiasto Lukita., Jakarta – President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has instructed that the Indonesia Pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai must be futuristic and promote the country’s culture, Trade Minister, Enggartiasto Lukita, said.

“There are several guidelines from the President and the Vice President, (that the pavilion must) mirror Indonesia today and in the future. Hence, it should be more futuristic, while introducing our culture and cultural wealth,” the minister told the press at the Presidential Office, here, on Tuesday (13/8/2019), following a limited cabinet meeting chaired by President Jokowi.

The meeting discussed preparations for the Expo 2020 Dubai by highlighting the position of the Indonesian Pavilion in enhancing partnerships.

Jokowi said that Indonesia’s promotion activities should target potential foreign partners, Lukita added.

The opportunity must be seized optimally, especially for trade, tourism, and investment in the Middle-East market.

The government will involve private companies such as automotive industry, Astra.

The pavilion will also feature the development of crude palm oil industry in Indonesia and forest preservation.

During the meeting, Jokowi highlighted the need for meticulous preparations for Indonesia’s participation in an attempt to seize the opportunity.

“The preparations must be detailed. The design of the pavilion must reflect the face of Indonesia as a big country,” the president noted.

The president expounded that the location of the Indonesian pavilion must also be precise and strategic. This is essential for building trust and value from potential partners.

“The Dubai Expo is the third-largest event after the World Cup and the Olympics. Hence, it is an expo of technological discovery and industrial innovation, with approximately 190 countries in attendance,” Jokowi remarked.

Director General of National Export Development of the Trade Ministry, Arlinda, had earlier noted that the Indonesian pavilion will feature the sub-theme, “opportunity”, and the main theme, “Connecting Mind Creating the Future”.

A total of 25 million people are projected to attend the World Expo 2020 Dubai in the United Arab Emirates from October 20, 2020, to April 10, 2021.

The Indonesian Pavilion will be built after groundbreaking on September 9, 2019.

Several officials attending the meeting comprising Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Darmin Nasution; Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Wiranto; Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani Indrawati; Minister of Trade, Enggartiasto Lukita; Minister of Industry, Airlangga Hartarto; Minister of Home Affairs, Tjahjo Kumolo; Minister of Education and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy; Minister of Communication and Information, Rudiantara; Chairman of the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), Thomas Trikasih Lembong; Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) head, Triawan Munaf; Presidential Chief of Staff, Moeldoko; and Head of Presidential Secretariat, Heru Budi Hartono. (bay)

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This agreement reflects the depth and breadth of EU-ASEAN relations which has lasted more than four decades, Cibor argued., Jakarta – The Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN for Socio-Cultural Community, Kung Phoak, together with the Charge d’Affaires ad interim of the Mission of the European Union (EU) to ASEAN, Lucas Cibor, launched the EU-ASEAN Blue Book 2019. The launch of the book, the EU’s annual publication on cooperation with ASEAN, was held in conjunction with the Second ASEAN-EU Cooperation and Scholarships Day at ASEAN Secretariat building in Jakarta Thursday (8/8/2019).

The event was dedicated to communicating the impact of EU-ASEAN development cooperation, and the benefits of intra-ASEAN and EU-ASEAN student mobility.

“In January 2019, the 22nd EU-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting agreed in principle to upgrade EU-ASEAN relations to a strategic partnership, subject to details and timing to be worked out,” Cibor said.

This agreement reflects the depth and breadth of EU-ASEAN relations which has lasted more than four decades, Cibor argued.

“The hallmark of this partnership is ever-closer cooperation on joint interests and common challenges, such as achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, tackling climate change or advancing our trade and connectivity. I am confident that our relations will continue to grow in the years to come,” he stated.

The launching of the book and convening of the scholarships day was aimed at reaffirming the strong partnership between ASEAN and the EU, Kung Phoak stated.

“Both of these events encapsulate the strength of our partnership as well as the depth of our shared success. Undoubtedly, this success is a strong manifestation of what can be accomplished when the two most advanced examples of regional integration in the world work together on development and in particular, in higher education,” Kung Phoak remarked.

The EU has dedicated over €200 million to support the ASEAN regional integration for the 2014-2020 period. Bilateral development cooperation with individual ASEAN member states includes more than €2 billion altogether, more than half of which is used to support Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam. (yas)

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Pilgrims also do not need to claim their baggage as they have been taken care of by staff members who transport them directly to the hotels., Jeddah – Some 171,648 pilgrims have enjoyed the Makkah Route facility provided by the government of the Kingdom, the Saudi’s Director General of Passports, Major General Sulaiman Al Yahya, has stated.

“The Makkah Route was first launched by Saudi Arabia in the 2017 Hajj season with the aim of facilitating the journey of international pilgrims,” ​​Al Yahya explained at a press conference here, Wednesday (7/8/2019).

This facility was initially provided for Malaysian pilgrims, then expanded to those in other countries. This year the Makkah Route has been implemented at the airports of Jakarta (Indonesia), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Islamabad (Pakistan) and Tunis (Tunisia).

The fast-track program covers visa services, customs and passports checking, health inspection, and baggage claim in accordance with the transportation and lodging arrangements made by the pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.

With the Makkah Route, all those procedures are settled in the country before pilgrims leave for Saudi. Upon their arrival in the Holy Land, they can go directly to hotels in Mecca and Madinah without having to go through the inspection at the airport which could take hours.

Pilgrims also do not need to claim their baggage as they have been taken care of by staff members who transport them directly to the hotels.

Improving services to the hajj pilgrims, which is aimed at facilitating their stay in Mecca and Madinah for performing hajj, is part of the 2030 Vision of the kingdom under the direct supervision of the Minister of the Interior who chairs the Highest Hajj Committee.

As of August 7, the Saudi government has welcomed more than 1.7 million pilgrims who will begin the hajj rituals this weekend, starting Friday, August 9 to Wednesday, August 14.

Some 1,725,455 pilgrims from abroad arrived in Saudi by air, 95,634 pilgrims came by land, and 17,250 people arrived through Saudi seaports, according to official calculation.

Of the number of international pilgrims this year, 969,726 or more than 53 percent are men and 868,613, or more than 47 percent are women, Al Yahya noted. (bmp)

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