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JAKARTA, Indonesia – The latest on President Joko Widodo’s yet-to-be-announced cabinet and the fate of the French journalists on trial in Papua lead our wrap of stories from Indonesia the past day.
1. Who’s rushing the cabinet announcement?
Amid various reports of sources claiming to know when President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will announce his cabinet, a growing number of opinions seem to show the country is all right with giving the president time to put together a “clean” cabinet. Social media posts note how finding “clean” ministers is tougher than expected in Indonesia, while a Jokowi adviser says they’re not breaking any laws by delaying the announcement (the law provides up to 14 days from the inauguration). Even opposition members agree. But that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill: reporters speculate on which presidential palace guests are ministerial candidates, media have published the “likely” cabinet structure, and again sources are being quoted as saying the announcement would happen on Friday, October 24, after Friday prayers.
2. Prosecutors seek 4 months’ jail for French journalists in Papua
Prosecutors want the Jayapura court to sentence two French journalists to 4 months imprisonment and a IDR2 million ($166) fine for violating their tourist visas and carrying out reporting activities in Papua, Tempo.co reported. This is significantly lower than the maximum 5-year-prison term allowed by law. The journalists – Thomas Dandois, 40, and Valentine Bourrat, 29 – have been detained for almost 2 months now, since being arrested at the start of August while making a documentary for Franco-German television channel Arte. During their trial on Thursday, October 23, both apologized for the violations and said they hoped that they could soon be freed and return to their country. The verdict could be issued as early as Friday.
3. Acting Jakarta governor increasingly at odds with labor groups over wage hike
A top online story on Acting Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama now is how he allegedly angrily banged the table in a meeting on Thursday with labor unions about their demand for a 30% hike in the minimum wage for 2015. Ahok denied doing so but admitted he was upset during the meeting, highlighting the increasing tensions over the wage hike negotiations – an annual exercise that is always difficult and controversial, and often leads to demonstrations that can be crippling at times. The acting governor says the 30% wage hike demand was unreasonable. “What is their basis? We previously raised the (minimum wage) by up to 43% because it had not changed for 5 years,” he previously said, according to BeritaJakarta.com. With his track record for being tough and unbending, it’s unlikely labor unions will win this fight.
4. Jokowi’s youngest son amuses online
http://t.co/EvhPppHKJB udah dibuka lagi ya. Maaf kemaren sempat di private— Kaesang Pangarep (@kaesangp) October 22, 2014
With this tweet, Jokowi’s youngest child, 20-year-old Kaesang Pangarep, invited the world into his life again. The tweet says his blog, misterkacang.blogspot.com, is open to the public once again. And in his latest entry, he recounted the morning of the presidential inauguration – his interactions with his siblings, how long his elder sister uses the bathroom, his father rushing to the bathroom before him, and his irritation at a tweet saying a lot of gay guys are crazy about him. Some are appreciative of the glimpse into the ordinary lives of the new first family, but a number of pundits are pointing out they should now learn how to manage their public images.
5. Indonesian para-swimmer breaks world record at Asian Para Games
In an amazing feat, Indonesian paralympic swimmer Mulyana on Thursday broke the world record in the men’s 50 meters butterfly S4 event at the ongoing Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea. Mulyana finished the lap in 39.44 seconds to beat the record set by Slovenian Darko Duric at the London Paralympics in 2012 by 1.04 seconds, the Jakarta Globe reported. The S4 category is for swimmers with coordination problems affecting all limbs but predominantly in the legs. This is already Mulyana’s second gold for Indonesia at the games, with the other coming from the men’s 50 meters freestyle S4. With this, Mulyana qualifies for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil, according to state news agency Antara.