Tag: Indonesia

Indonesia confirms release of Abu Bakar Bashir, Islamist cleric involved in Bali bombings
Asia Pacific Focus

Indonesia confirms release of Abu Bakar Bashir, Islamist cleric involved in Bali bombings

Bali bombings: On Monday, Indonesian government confirmed the release of Abu Bakar Bashir, the radical Islamist who was arrested for his involvement in the deadly Bali bombings. Announcing Bashir’s release after completion his 15-year prison tenure, Rika Aprianti, spokeswoman of the corrections directorate general said in a statement that Bashir would be released on Friday “in accordance with the expiration date and the end of his term.”

The Islamist cleric was known to be the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda-affiliated Jemaah Islamiah (JI). He was arrested in 2011 for his association with the country’s militant training camps in Aceh province. JI was believed to be responsible for Bali Bombings. Among many attacks that JI undertook, the most deadly of all was plotting and execution of 2002 bombings in Bali nightclubs, which claimed over 200 lives. Among the killed were several foreigners (Australians). Besides, the Islamist operatives also attacked the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta, which killed 12 people in 2003. Though Bashir denied any involvement in the Bali bombings. 

Last year, attempts were made by several rights groups for Bashir’s early release over health and humanitarian grounds. But the plan got canceled as the news led to huge backlash from people both in Indonesia  and in Australia. Besides, Bashir also refused to pledge allegiance towards Indonesia and renounce radicalism.

Security analyst Ridlwan Habib said that though Bashir’s position had lost significance over time but warned that extremists might try to associate their activities with him to gain credibility. He said, “Bashir is a senior figure in Indonesia’s jihadist movement, and it’s not impossible that his big name could be used.”

The global war for sand- The World Reviews
Geopolitics

The global war for sand- The World Reviews

War for Sand: From the 1960s, Singapore has expanded by about 20%, thanks to a drainage system that has allowed the country to recover land from the sea and additional sands use. The need to expand the land area derives, for Singapore, from the population growth and the consequent need to find new areas available for the construction of residential buildings. But also, to expand the infrastructure and transport system. In recent years Singapore has entered into a dispute with neighboring countries, especially Indonesia and Malaysia, over allegations of illegal sand trafficking from the two countries’ beaches to Singapore.

Malaysia, along with Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam, has placed a ban on the export of sand. Since this practice is considered harmful to the conservation of its natural heritage. According to multiple reports and local testimonies, thousands of tons of sand are taken by traffickers who, with small boats, reach the nearby Malaysian and Indonesian coasts, smuggling them into Singapore.

Sand is an extremely important non-renewable resource. Its use in the construction sector has made the war for sand a global phenomenon. In America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, unscrupulous contractors take sand from our beaches to build skyscrapers and luxury hotels. In Miami, the mayor confirmed a paradoxical situation. While millions of tourists choose Florida for its sandy beaches, the continued construction of resorts along the coast has meant that these beaches are disappearing today. 

Even in Morocco, the inhabitants of Agadir say that traffickers exploiting low-cost local labor are taking tons of sand, causing damage to the entire ecosystem. The United Arab Emirates also uses sand skyscrapers building, although many Burj Khalifa apartments are empty today. A European construction company has asked the EU Commission to remove the ban on French waters in Marseille, towards the English Channel to extract sand from the seabed. The news sparked the local fishermen’s ire. They raised their voices for the EU to continue to protect the seabed in that area.

According to a research published in the journal Nature Climate Change, half of the world’s beaches could disappear by the end of this century.  as a result of climate change-induced coastal erosion and rising seas. The scientists used satellite images to measure how coastlines have evolved over the past 30 years. They then used projections of sea-level rise to imagine how beaches and shores could change in the future. According to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, average global sea levels could rise by 0.95 feet to 3.61 feet by the end of this century. But it’s not just climate change that puts our beaches at risk. Man is, once again, the most predominant risk factor.

 Oceans usually move the grains of sand from ashore to another, but the ever more frequent construction of artificial barriers by States to protect their coasts blocks this process irremediably. The sand takes millions of years to reach the sill, through the path of the rivers. Streams carry with them during their journey the debris of rocks and stones, depositing on the coast. The dams continued global construction not only stops river water but also the sand ends on the walls of these artificial systems, without reaching the sea. All that is accelerating the disappearance of our beaches, already at risk from rising sea levels due to global warming.

Marine biologists have already warned of permanent damage that emptying sand from the seabed is an inhumane practice as it takes away millions of being. It also doesn’t give any results as it is not possible to stop the sand. The construction industry has begun to appreciate the use of glass sand in recent years. Glass sand is obtained by processing glass remains that are not recycled. This process has a cost, while the sand is free. The mafias have entered the sand trade, and until governments take measures to protect our shorelines, few will buy glass sand. The beaches are not ours. We can enjoy them today and then leave them to our children, from generation to generation. We must protect and respect them.

China new legislation allowing an attack on foreign vessels hikes confrontation chances between Beijing and Tokyo
Asia Pacific Focus

China new legislation allowing an attack on foreign vessels hikes confrontation chances between Beijing and Tokyo

On Wednesday China’s National People’s Congress proposed a new law allowing attacks on foreign vessels in its waters, in order to curb illegal activities and invasion. Observers believe that the new draft legislation would heat up things between China and Japan as China has claimed its territorial right over contested Japan-administered Senkaku islands. 

Chinese coast guard ships have been stationed near the Senkakus islands in the East China Sea for the longest time. The new Chinese legislation, which is believed to get go-ahead in December, would give more freedom to Chinese coast guards as compared to their Japanese counterparts in terms of striking against the rival forces.

Tokyo strongly objected to China’s rampant military expansion in South and East China Sea. On Monday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, during a press conference, said, “We take the repeated entry into the contiguous zone and intrusions into Japanese territorial waters very seriously, and have issued warnings through our coast guard ships as well as made strong protests through diplomatic channels.”

“We will remain vigilant and, coordinating among the relevant ministries, continue to gather information and maintain surveillance over the Senkaku Islands in order to protect our territory,” the top government spokesman added.

Chinese government has been trying to integrate its coast guards with its naval forces and the new legislation would allow the coast guard vessels to attack any foreign vessels with shipborne or airborne weapons. It would also give them liberty to undertake other measures, including detention and towing, in the name of saving its exclusive economic zones, artificial islands and its sovereignty of Chinese waters.

Of late, China has aggressively doubled its naval presence in a year’s time as compared to Japanese patrolling ships. Reports have confirmed that China has deployed 10,000-ton-plus ships equipped with 76-millimeter guns — becoming the country with the world’s largest fleet of coast guard vessels.

Analysts believed that it was China’s response to Japan’s efforts towards shoring up support from other regionals powers to build a united front against China, through defense and trade deals. Last month Japan entered strategic trade and defense agreements with Vietnam and Indonesia.

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