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17
September

 

The Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict seems to be heading towards a bright solusion after both sides agreed to a ceasefire. Secretary of the Armenian Security Council, Armen Grigoryan said Thursday (15/9) that Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a ceasefire on Wednesday (14/9), after fighting took place in the past month.

Earlier, the Azerbaijani army opened fire intensely from artillery systems and machine guns at settlements in Goris, Sotk and Jemruk in Armenian territory. As reported by the Russian news agency, TASS, the Armenian Security Council held an extraordinary meeting after the attack, and decided to seek assistance from Russia.

As usual in every conflict, the warring parties always blame the other side. Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan said that 105 Armenian soldiers had been killed since Monday night in attacks he blamed on Azerbaijan. He also accused Azerbaijani troops of occupying 10 square-kilometers of Armenian territory this week. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan President, Ilham Aliyev blamed the escalation on the military and political leadership of Armenia. He claimed that it was his neighbor that started the conflict by firing at military targets in Kalbacar. According to President Ilham Aliyev, the Azerbaijani armed forces took retaliatory measures and revealed that 50 Azerbaijani soldiers had died in the fighting.

This clash is the latest in a long series of conflicts between the two former Soviet republics over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

A military operation has been carried out by Azerbaijan to Nagorno-Karabakh since last August after three Azerbaijani soldiers were killed in Baku, by suspected Armenians. Nagorno-Karabakh itself is a disputed area that has been contested by both countries since they were separated from the Soviet Union. Even in 2020, both of them were also at war in the region for six weeks.

Hopefully, the truce agreed upon by both parties can be maintained, and become a bright solusion towards real peace. In every conflict, let alone war, no party wins as a whole. In this era of globalization, its impact will be felt in other countries. Learning from the conflicts between Ukraine and Russia, the impact that occurred was felt by not only the two conflicting countries, but also the international community.

02
September

 

Heavy rains that caused floods have submerged a third of Pakistan. At least 22 million people or about 10 percent of the country's population are estimated to be affected by the floods. The United Nations Satellite Center Map (UNOSAT) illustrates that cumulative water detected by satellites in Pakistan on August 1-29 shows a total of about 75,000 km2 of land affected by flooding.

 

According to Pakistan's National Disaster Mitigation Authority, nearly 1,200 people have died from flooding since mid-June. While more than a million homes were destroyed or damaged since high-intensity rains triggered flash floods across almost the entire country. The catastrophic floods have destroyed some infrastructure, including roads, bridges and farmlandsand also washed away nearly a million animals.

The magnitude of the impact caused by floods in Pakistan has received the attention of United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres. In a video message, he urged the international community to help Pakistan. He also called for the world's citizens to stop sleepwalking towards the destruction of the planet inhabited by humanity due to climate change. He said that at this time, a disaster befell Pakistan, but the next time a disaster could befall other countries.

The United Nations has disbursed aid worth US$ 160 million and  asked its members to help Pakistan meet the basic needs of the 5.2 million people displaced by this disaster, including the 33 million Pakistanis who were affected.

Pakistan's Minister of Climate Change, Sherry Rehman described the situation in Pakistan as a humanitarian disaster caused by climate. Pakistan produces less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions but ranks in the top 10 countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This year, Pakistan has almost 200 percent more rain than the average monsoon. According to Sherry Rehman, many factors cause flooding, but the warming of the atmosphere caused by climate change makes extreme rainfall more likely. The world has warmed by around 1.2 degrees Celsius since the industrial era began and temperatures will continue to rise unless governments around the world make sharp cuts to carbon emissions.

The United Nations plans to hold a Climate Change Conference (COP27) or the 27th meeting of the parties concerned in Sharm El Sheikh, Egyptin November. This meeting is expected to be a place to discipline the world's citizens in avoiding and protecting the planet where humanity lives from natural disasters.

30
August

 

The Indonesian government announced that it would distribute a number of social assistance to the community. The social assistance aims to increase purchasing power due to the tendency of various price increases amid the threat of a global crisis. Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani said that the government would provide additional social support as a form of diversion of fuel subsidies amounting to 24.17 trillion rupiah. This was conveyed by her after attending a Limited Meeting chaired by President Joko Widodo at the State Palace in Jakarta, Monday (29/8).

More than half of the assistance will be addressed to 20.65 million poor beneficiary families. Each family will receive 600,000 rupiah. In addition, President Joko Widodo also instructed to provide assistance to 16 million workers who have a maximum salary of 3.5 million rupiah per month with assistance of 600,000 rupiah.

Will this social assistance increase people's purchasing power?

Quoting tempo.co (5/8), Head of the Central Statistics Agency, Margo Yuwono said that the policy of subsidies and social assistance, as well as curbing interest rates, was quite effective in controlling domestic inflation, maintaining people's purchasing power and ensuring conducive business conditions. Meanwhile, President Joko Widodo in his Twitter account @jokowi on Monday (29/8) expressed his hope that this social assistance can ease the burden on people who are faced with pressure from various price increases.

Of course, everyone also hopes to face pressure from various price increases, especially when the price of subsidized fuel oil rises. All community groups will be affected. The social assistance may not necessarily be provided permanently. This should also be realized by the beneficiary. Thus, they should not be too dependent on the assistance forever.

Directions not to use aid for consumptive activities must also be carried out. The beneficiary community needs to be directed to use the assistance for productive purposes. Thereby, it can be better prepared in the event of an increase in prices due to an increase in fuels.

Hopefully, all the policies and efforts taken by the government of Indonesia can immediately make Indonesia recover faster, rise up stronger.

26
August

 

After 16 months of grueling negotiations, Iran and the United States are closing in to restore the 2015-nuclear deal. The U.S. has responded to a proposal from Iran to revive the nuclear deal agreed in 2015.

The 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed by Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States. Under this deal, Iran promised to limit its nuclear program to a certain level. As compensation, the U.S. and Western countries are willing to stop various economic sanctions against Iran.

But later on, the U.S. under Donald Trump's administration declared its withdrawal from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018 and threatened to impose tougher economic sanctions on Iran.

The exit from the JCPOA actually does not benefit  the international community, including the U.S. itself. On one hand, with the collapse of the JCPOA, the Iranian people are increasingly suffering from sanctions from the U.S. and the West. On the other hand, Iran seems to have room to violate nuclear restrictions.

Realizing the benefits of the JCPOA, the European Union took the initiative to negotiate with related parties. The negotiations to restore the JCPOA deal have been ongoing for months. One thing that has become a tough point is the issue of lifting sanctions that has been reimposed on Iran since the collapse of the JCPOA, due to the unilateral withdrawal by the U.S. in 2018.

Earlier this August, the European Union submitted a proposal to revive the 2015-nuclear deal which has been   responded by the U.S. Spokesperson for the U.S. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ned Price, as quoted by Media Indonesia (25/08) said that the U.S. had reviewed the proposals submitted by the European Union, including the request to lift sanctions.

Iran said it had received the U.S. response to the European Union's draft proposal to restore the 2015-nuclear deal, and would discuss it with the European bloc after a review.

Indeed, there is still no certainty about success so far. But at the very least, the positive response from the U.S. to the European Union's proposal creates confidence that the great power appears to be getting closer to signing a new nuclear deal with Iran.

It is hoped that the nuclear deal with Iran can be restored sooner. The 2015-nuclear deal is very beneficial for world peace. One of them is significantly limiting Iran's nuclear program which is seen as a threat if not limited.

23
August

 

Indonesian President Joko Widodo accompanied by First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo launched a mango-based food estate during his working visit to Gresik Regency, East Java on Monday (22/8).


On the same occasion, President Joko Widodo also launched the Alsintan Taxi Program, which is the Ministry of Agriculture's program to help provide agricultural tools and machinery (alsintan) independently by business actors in the agricultural sector through the facilitation of People's Business Credit (KUR). The President hopes that the program can replace patterns and approaches that are considered less productive.Director-General of Agricultural Infrastructure and Facilities at the Ministry of Agriculture, Ali Jamil explained, the Alsintan Taxi Program is an innovation from the Ministry of Agriculture to reduce the burden on the state budget and train farmers' independence. Previously, President Joko Idodo had given directions to Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo regarding the independence of farmers in the context of developing national agriculture.


Ali Jamil added, the use of Alsintan can also be leased through a cooperative scheme or an Alsintan taxi business unit. Rentals can even be done hourly or even per day and can be used through planting, harvesting and post-harvesting. This provides benefits for increasing farm productivity and efficiency, and solving the problem of agricultural labor and farming time more efficiently.


The availability of land for agriculture, and the use of modern agricultural tools and machinery are the main factors in agricultural development. The current global situation shows that it is not industrialization, but food security that can make a country able to face any crisis. Food resilience can be achieved if agriculture advances. The government support through its programs is certainly needed by farmers to increase their productivity independently.

16
August

There is a special gift for the 77th Anniversary of the Indonesian Independence Day. The gift is an award from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for Indonesia's achievements in rice self-sufficiency and improvement of the national food security system. The Certificate of Acknowledgment from the IRRI was received by President Joko Widodo at the State Palace in Jakarta on Sunday (14/8). 

 

This award is the result of the hard work of the Indonesian people. President Joko Widodo after receiving the “Agricultural-Food System Award for 2019-2021 and Rice Self-Sufficiency through the Use of Rice Innovation Technology” expressed his appreciation for the real actors working in the fields, such as farmers, local governments, ministries, and university research institutions that have worked in achieving self-sufficiency in rice. According to President Joko Widodo, the achievement is the results of integrated work, joint work, and mutual cooperation. 

 

Over the last three years, Indonesia has not imported rice. Based on data from the Central Statistics Agency, Indonesia's rice stock until the end of April 2022 reached 10.2 million tons. This achievement certainly cannot be separated from what has been done by the government of Indonesia to achieve food security. Citing President Joko Widodo's explanation, since 2015 until now, 29 large dams have been inaugurated and this year, a total of 38 dams will be completed again. The government targets that by 2024, the construction of 61 dams plus 4,500 reservoirs, and 1.1 million irrigation networks that have been built for seven years. 

 

This achievement is expected to be a driving force for Indonesia to strengthen food security. Because there are still many challenges ahead. As stated by the Head of the National Food Agency, Arief Prasetyo Adi, the challenges of the food sector in 2023 are getting tougher. This is because global conditions are still filled with turmoil, such as the Russia-Ukraine war, the Covid-19 pandemic, and climate change whose impacts are increasingly being felt today. 

 

Optimism to achieve food security must be owned by all Indonesian people. The application of food technology to increase farmers' production and productivity must be strengthened. Strong community support for food diversification will also contribute greatly to the achievement of Indonesian food security. Thus, the commitment of the Government of Indonesia to increase national production and ensure food sufficiency in the country as well as to contribute to international food conditions can be realized sustainably.

16
August

There is a special gift for the 77th Anniversary of the Indonesian Independence Day. The gift is an award from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for Indonesia's achievements in rice self-sufficiency and improvement of the national food security system. The Certificate of Acknowledgment from the IRRI was received by President Joko Widodo at the State Palace in Jakarta on Sunday (14/8). 

 

This award is the result of the hard work of the Indonesian people. President Joko Widodo after receiving the “Agricultural-Food System Award for 2019-2021 and Rice Self-Sufficiency through the Use of Rice Innovation Technology” expressed his appreciation for the real actors working in the fields, such as farmers, local governments, ministries, and university research institutions that have worked in achieving self-sufficiency in rice. According to President Joko Widodo, the achievement is the results of integrated work, joint work, and mutual cooperation. 

 

Over the last three years, Indonesia has not imported rice. Based on data from the Central Statistics Agency, Indonesia's rice stock until the end of April 2022 reached 10.2 million tons. This achievement certainly cannot be separated from what has been done by the government of Indonesia to achieve food security. Citing President Joko Widodo's explanation, since 2015 until now, 29 large dams have been inaugurated and this year, a total of 38 dams will be completed again. The government targets that by 2024, the construction of 61 dams plus 4,500 reservoirs, and 1.1 million irrigation networks that have been built for seven years. 

 

This achievement is expected to be a driving force for Indonesia to strengthen food security. Because there are still many challenges ahead. As stated by the Head of the National Food Agency, Arief Prasetyo Adi, the challenges of the food sector in 2023 are getting tougher. This is because global conditions are still filled with turmoil, such as the Russia-Ukraine war, the Covid-19 pandemic, and climate change whose impacts are increasingly being felt today. 

 

Optimism to achieve food security must be owned by all Indonesian people. The application of food technology to increase farmers' production and productivity must be strengthened. Strong community support for food diversification will also contribute greatly to the achievement of Indonesian food security. Thus, the commitment of the Government of Indonesia to increase national production and ensure food sufficiency in the country as well as to contribute to international food conditions can be realized sustainably.

13
August

 

Seventy economists and international experts are urging the US government and other countries to get out the assets of Afghanistan's central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank. The insistence was stated in a letter sent to United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday (10/8).

As quoted from Republika.com (11/08), the international economists said that the Afghan assets worth US$9 billion need to be returned to stimulate the country's economy. They argue that Afghanistan has experienced a humanitarian crisis that has made the people suffer severely. To mitigate that and set the Afghan economy on a path to recovery, economists urged the United States to allow Afghanistan's central bank to recover its international reserves.

Since August 2021, when the Taliban took over and foreign troops withdrew from the country, the United States has frozen nearly US$9.5 billion in assets belonging to Afghanistan's central bank; most of which is in Federal Reserve accounts,  New York and US-based financial institutions. The freezing of Afghanistan's foreign exchange reserves abroad has caused  a shortage of funds and cash in the country.

This has become one of the triggers for worsening the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. In May 2022, as quoted from IDN Times (04/5/2022), there were 24 million Afghans in dire need of humanitarian assistance. This figure increased by 5.6 million people when compared to the previous year. About 70 percent of households in Afghanistan are reported to be unable to meet their basic daily needs.

Seeing the increasingly worrisome condition of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, efforts to overcome the problems in this country are urgently needed at this time. One way is to return funds or assets of the Da Afghanistan Bank held in the accounts of the New York Federal Reserve and US-based financial institutions, as economists call. However, it seems that the international community, including the United States, is still reluctant to grant this.

It is the hard-line policies of the Taliban government that are likely to make the United States and the international community still reluctant to disburse funds from Afghanistan's central bank assets that are very much needed by the country.

If that's the case, the Taliban government should live up to its commitment to respecting human rights and women's rights when they took over Afghanistan last year. They do not have to rule their country as they did during the reign in the 1996-2001 period which was full of restrictions. (VOI)

05
August

Banners and other promotional media that read “Recover Faster, Rise Stronger” have been seen in public places in Indonesia. That is the theme of the 77th anniversary of the Republic of Indonesia. The atmosphere of Indonesia's Independence Day Commemoration has become increasingly felt.

The atmosphere of Independence Day in 2020 and 2021 might not appear so much. Indonesia has a tradition to celebrate Independence Day on August 17th. Every year, the excitement of the anniversary is felt as soon as August begins.

The Indonesian people should apply the slogan to commemorate Indonesian Independence this year in every activity. One of them is self-discipline in carrying out health protocols, including hastening to get booster vaccinations. Because, it is one way for the Indonesian nation to quickly recover from Covid-19.

The Indonesian nation is known as a nation that likes to work together. That spirit must be inflamed to be able to rise stronger. Micro, small and medium enterprises -MSMEs are the ones that must recover and rise in order to compete in the domestic and global markets. Undeniably, domestic products for micro, small and medium enterprises still compete with imported ones. Cooperation among ministries, local governments, banking institutions, market places and all business actors must be further enhanced and strengthened so that Indonesian MSMEs rise stronger. The love of the Indonesian people for the nation's products is realized by not only echoing ‘Proud of Indonesian-made Products’, but also buying, using, and participating in promoting MSMEs’ products so that MSMEs Rise Stronger.

Indeed, the world today is not in a good condition. As stated by President Joko Widodo at the National Dzikir event in the front yard of the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, Monday evening (1/8), he reminded, after almost two and a half years in the world, all countries are experiencing pain together because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Indonesia cannot wait for the world to be in a good condition to rise. With the spirit of Recovering Faster, Rising Stronger, joint efforts in mutual cooperation, God willing, Indonesia will soon shake off  from the pandemic and have a better economic recovery. Thus, Indonesia can do more for countries that are still in trouble. (VOI)

05
August

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Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers open fire at each other in the Nagorno-Karabakh region on Wednesday (3/8), resulting in at least three soldiers being killed. Both countries are actually still bound by a ceasefire agreement. However, they have accused each other of violating the ceasefire in the disputed area. Azerbaijan's Ministry of Defense said that Karabakh troops targeted Azerbaijani army posts in the Lachin region which are under the supervision of Russian peacekeepers. As a result of this attack, one Azerbaijani conscript was killed. Meanwhile, according to the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the bloody incident that occurred shows that Armenia is not honoring the ceasefire agreement. In contrast, the army in Nagorno-Karabakh accused Azerbaijan of violating the ceasefire and killing two soldiers and wounding 14 others.


The Azerbaijani army said that it carried out an operation dubbed "Retaliation" in response to the terrorist act of an illegal Armenian armed group in Azerbaijani territory that claimed the life of a conscripted soldier.

Previously, Armenia-Azerbaijan had also been involved in a war in the autumn of 2020. The war that lasted for six weeks killed more than 6,500 people, and ended in a ceasefire initiated by Russia.

To avoid a wider conflict, the European Union has called for an immediate end to hostilities between the two countries and both sides must respect the ceasefire.
Apart from the European Union, the United States has also expressed its condolences and concerns over what happened. US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price confirmed that he was closely following reports of intense fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh, including casualties and injuries.
In addition, the Washington side urged steps to immediately reduce tensions and avoid further escalation. Azerbaijan and Armenia have suffered heavy losses, both material and non-material, as a result of war. Thus, it is appropriate for the two warring parties to refrain from actions that can trigger open war. (VOI)

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