Indonesia sends security forces to contain fresh Papua protests

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019   •   267

Courtesy: Reuters

Protests around Indonesia’s Papua province entered third day on Wednesday (August 21), as extra police officers and military were sent in to contain the situation.

In Timika, where the giant Grasberg copper and gold mine operated by the Indonesian unit of Freeport McMoran is located, video shows protesters holding banners and shouting “we are not monkeys” as they march down the streets.

Protesters were also reported to have thrown rocks at a parliament building, houses, shops and a hotel.

Indonesian police have sent 1,200 additional officers to West Papua, Muhammad Iqbal, a national police spokesman told media.

While a separatist movement has simmered for decades in Papua, with frequent complaints of rights abuses by Indonesian security forces, the recent anger appears to be linked to racist slurs against Papuan students who were detained last week.

Papuan students were detained in the East Java city of Surabaya over accusations that they had disrespected the Indonesian flag in front of a dormitory during celebrations of Independence Day on Saturday (August 17). (Reuters)

(Production: Heru Asprihanto, Angie Teo, Lion Schellerer)

Yemen’s Houthis threaten to attack United Arab Emirates targets

Robie de Guzman   •   September 19, 2019

Yemen’s Houthi group said on Wednesday (September 18) it had identified dozens of sites in the United Arab Emirates as possible targets, in an attempt to underscore its military clout following a weekend attack it claims to have carried out on Saudi oil facilities.

Speaking in a televised speech, Yahya Saria, the military spokesman for the Iran-aligned movement, said that even one drone operation would cost the Emirati regime dearly.

He said the Houthis have new drones that can reach targets deep into Saudi Arabia.

“Our forces have reached a very high level of competence and ability on every front. Today, our forces can manufacture and produce several drones in record timing. The armed forces have assured its capability to produce one or more drones per day,” Saria said.

“Today, there are global stances that deserve recognition, the stances that support Yemen’s right to reply to the Saudi-Emirati aggression against our country. And we must specifically name Iran and Turkey, and the other stances who consider the humanitarian situation in Yemen, and I’m sure you’ve all seen these stances,” he added.

In Riyadh, Saudi Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said the attack could not have come from Yemen, adding the Houthi movement was “covering up” for Iran.

The UAE is a leading partner in a Saudi-led coalition that intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to restore Hadi’s government after it was toppled by the Houthis in late 2014. (Reuters)

(Production: Tarek M Fahmy, Soraya Ali)

Haze triggers health issues for Indonesian orangutans, rehab center swings into treatment mode

UNTV News   •   September 18, 2019

More than thirty orangutans in Kalimantan on Tuesday (September 17) were being treated at a rehabilitation center suffering from respiratory issues triggered by smokey forest fires in Indonesia.

Officials from the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) reported that 31 orangutans were suffering from various breathing-related ailments and were being treated with nebulizers and antibiotics.

They said the fires were barely 300 meters from one of the rehabilitation centers in Nyaru Menteng.

The air pollution index in Palangka Raya, the capital of Central Kalimantan province on Borneo, has been at a “dangerous” level for days. Schools in Palangka Raya and another city in Central Kalimantan, Sampit, have been closed this week.

Fires have ripped through more than 328,000 hectares of forests and peatlands in Indonesia since January, causing a choking haze to envelop some cities in Borneo and the island of Sumatra, according to the country’s disaster mitigation agency. (REUTERS)

(Production: Heru Asprihanto, Yuddy Cahya)

Orangutans in rehabilitation suffer from smoke caused by Indonesia forest fires

UNTV News   •   September 17, 2019

Dozens of orangutans are suffering from respiratory problems caused by the smoke from forest fires in Indonesia this week.

Indonesia and neighboring countries in Southeast Asia are regularly hit by smoky haze from slash-and-burn clearances of forests for timber and palm oil plantations, but conditions this year have been the worst since 2015 due to an El Nino weather pattern causing an extended dry spell.

The orangutans in Central Kalimantan were previously trafficked and were taken by authorities there to be rehabilitated before being introduced back into the wild.

Caretakers detected respiratory tract infections in some of them and have started moving them into cages in facilities with cleaner air to be monitored.

Veterinarians there said the Pongo pygmaeus, a native species of orangutans to the island of Borneo, are vulnerable to changing conditions, especially the young.

The air pollution index in Palangka Raya, the capital of Central Kalimantan province on Borneo, has been at a “dangerous” level for days.

Schools in Palangka Raya and another city in Central Kalimantan, Sampit, have been closed this week.

Fires have ripped through more than 328,000 hectares of forests and peatlands in Indonesia since January, causing a choking haze to envelop some cities in Borneo and the island of Sumatra, according to the country’s disaster mitigation agency. (REUTERS)

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