Cultural, ethnic, religious, and racial differences along with tolerant attitudes in Indonesia have been proven to unify people, Vice President Jusuf Kalla stated in his speech at the launch of the Asian Cultural Council (ACC). 

"Indonesia is a country where cultural differences have been tested and proven to unite (its people). Through tolerance and moderation, we succeed in developing a very rich culture that reflects cultural and religious enlightenment," Kalla noted during the gala dinner of the ACC Summit in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on Tuesday  evening (15 January).

As a country, with more than 300 ethnic groups, 748 languages, and six official religions, Indonesia is able to maintain the people`s unity by prioritizing tolerance.  According to Kalla, Indonesia recognizes cultural differences while emphasizing the importance of unity as a reflection of the nation`s motto, "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika," which means unity in diversity.

Such principle is expected to be implemented by people living in the Asia region that has a diverse culture and national character. The launch of ACC is also expected to maintain and intensify cooperation and unity among countries in the region in future.

"The launch of ACC, of course, (shows) that we also care to discuss issues of culture and religion, so it will strengthen relations between Asian countries," Kalla noted.

Through a cultural approach, he said, Asia will witness increased development, especially in terms of peacekeeping.

"The focus is on how culture ties us, so that there is an improvement in peace, rebuilding the Asian region as it is making progress," Kalla remarked.    ( ant ) 


Indonesia`s imports in December 2018 fell 9.60 percent to US$15.28 billion from a month earlier, according to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS). But compared to the same month of 2017, the December 2018 imports rose 1.16 percent, BPS Chief Suharyanto said in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The imports comprised non-oil/non-gas imports worth US$13.31 billion and oil and gas imports worth US$1.97 billion. The non-oil/non-gas imports in December 2018 tumbled 5.14 percent compared to November 2018 but increased 6.16 percent compared to December 2017. The oil and gas imports in December 2018 dropped 31.45 percent compared to November 2018 and 23.33 per4cent compared to December 2017. Among non-oil/non-gas commodities, the import of organic chemicals recorded the largest decline of US$174.4 million, or 27.07 percent, while the import of fruits saw the largest increase of US$69.8 million, or 68.90 percent.

"(The increase) was the result of demand for fruits during Christmas and New Year holidays," he said.

Three countries were listed as the largest suppliers of imported non-oil/non-gas commodities to Indonesia last year. They were China with a value of US$45.24 billion, or 28.49 percent, Japan with a value of US$17.94 billion, or 11.30 percent and Thailand with a value of US$10.85 billion, or 6.83 percent. Non-oil/non-gas imports from ASEAN member states made up 19.85 percent and European Union represented 8.86 percent. (ant)


The Armenian Embassy in Jakarta, in collaboration with the Antara News Agency, launched a photo book entitled "Armenia: Land of Legend" at the Adhiyana Auditorium, Wisma Antara, on Tuesday (Jan 15) to introduce Armenia to the Indonesian people.

"Geographically, Armenia`s population is indeed small when compared to Indonesia. It also has almost no historical connections. But the real challenge is to explain the wealth of natural beauty and Armenian culture to the Indonesian community extensively," Director of Antara News Agency Meidyatama Suryodiningrat said in Jakarta, on Tuesday.

Suryodiningrat hoped that the photo book could be a source of enlightenment describing the wonders of Armenia, which would trigger the interest of the Indonesian people to better understand the potential of the two countries.

However, the real challenge for introducing the country, which is bordered by Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, Azerbaijan to the east, and Iran to the south, lies on how the information on the richness of Armenia`s natural beauty and culture can be introduced to the people at large in Indonesia.

With a total population of around three million and a size of Indonesia`s Central Java Province, Armenia, which is a landlocked country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia, is still absent on the radar of average Indonesians who possess information on the world`s economic super powers.

The Ambassador of Armenia to Indonesia, Dziunik Aghajanian, also hoped that the photo book could become an entry for Indonesian people who did not know Armenia comprehensively.

"Despite the historic presence of Armenian community in Indonesia throughout several centuries, nowadays, for many Indonesians, Armenia is an unknown terrain. I hope this book will be an introduction for those whose inquisitive mind will draw them to this hidden jewel called Armenia, one of the ancient countries, and its people rich in history, culture, and traditions," the ambassador stated.

The book, the ambassador noted, would attract them to visit this small nation with a warm heart and open mind, renowned for its hospitality, very tasty gastronomic culture, and exceptional creative mind that is depicted in the innumerous monuments dotting the scenic beauty of the land.

"Armenia: Land of Legend" is called a photo book because around 70 percent of its content showcases selected photos, while the remaining presents articles about the richness of the Armenian history, culture, and scenic beauty.

In writing this photo book, Antara`s senior photojournalist Hermanus Priatna remarked that he and his colleague, Atman Ahdiat, have attempted to make a breakthrough. A photo book generally looks more like a catalog, whose content is fully filled with photos with less explanations about the images, making it lack in variety, or monotonous.

"Instead, this 105-page photo book is drafted journalistically and completed with articles describing the visual pictures of a variety of Armenian objects, including the country`s historical remains and interesting tourist sites and attractions," Priatna explained. (ant)


President Jokowi checks OSS for investors

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 President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), in Jakarta on Monday ( 14 January ), visited the office of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) to check the Online Single Submission (OSS) service for investors. Jokowi, accompanied by Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution and Minister/State Secretary Pratikno, was greeted by BKPM Chairman Thomas Lembong upon his arrival at the office located on Jalan Gatot Soebroto, South Jakarta.

Initially, the OSS service came under the coordinating minister for economic affairs, but the BKPM took over the task on January 2, 2019. The OSS service has an OSS Lounge, a call center at phone number: 1500765, and a technical help desk via e-mail, according to Susiwijono, secretary of the coordinating minister for economic affairs.

Meanwhile, Indonesia`s International Investment Position (IIP) was relatively stable in the third quarter of 2018. Indonesia`s IIP at the end of the third quarter of 2018 recorded a net liability of US$297.0 billion, or 28.5 percent of the gross domestic product, relatively unchanged from that at the end of the previous quarter, according to a statement from BI here recently.

The development was in line with the slightly higher Foreign Financial Liability position as compared to the increase in the Foreign Financial Asset position. (ant)

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