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The tension between Ukraine and Russia increased. Even based on the latest news, Russia added more troops near the Russia-Ukraine border. This made many worried if Russia could easily invade their neighbor.

Reuters reported, the US and its allies kept echoing threats against Russia that have placed their soldiers and artillery in the border area. Besides a threat to give a sanction for Russian President Vladimir Putin, the US had sent some weaponry, such as anti-tank javelin, launchers, and other military hardware to strengthen the Ukrainian defence system.

But what is the real reason for the tension between Russia and Ukraine? As reported by Al Jazeera, Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus were founded around the Dnieper River 1,200 years ago. However, Russia and Ukraine are still different in language, history, and politics. Still, Vladimir Putin kept claiming that Russia and Ukraine are one part of the Russian civilization and of course, Ukraine rejected that claim. Ukraine had two revolutions in 2005 and 2014 to reject Russian supremacy. Ukraine then kept looking for paths to join the European Union and NATO.

The call for the NATO allies to share one view on the latest situation in the Russia-Ukraine border kept coming. The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and French President Emmanuel Macron asked for a dialog with President Vladimir Putin, as requested by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy so that four nations namely France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine can begin a negotiation.

However, the US as the engine of NATO should keep supporting peace between the two conflicting countries. Dialogue must be the first choice in anticipating further military escalation that can bring big effects for the two sides economically, politically, and strategically, which can bring about a war crime and human rights violation.



The spread of the Sars-Cov2 corona virus that causes Covid-19 of the Omicron variant in Indonesia enters a new phase. On Saturday (22/1), The Ministry of Health announced two Covid-19 patients infected with the Omicron variant died. This is the first time an Omicron case patient has died in Indonesia. According to Spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, both patients who died suffered from comorbidities. One case was a local transmission, and another one was an overseas traveler. They died in different hospitals.

The Omicron variant, although it is said to be lighter than the previous variants, is still fatal for certain people. The transmission no longer comes from people who have just arrived from abroad. Local transmission has also occurred. Thus, the spread of the Omicron variant cannot be underestimated. Seeing these developments, some epidemiologists ask the government to improve vigilance and make arrangements that are in accordance with the current development of the pandemic.

Indeed, various efforts have been made by the government to anticipate the spread of Omicron, such as intensifying testing, tracing and treatment or 3T, especially in Java and Bali. The government has also enhanced the tracing ratio, ensured the availability of centralized isolation rooms, intensified access to telemedicine and increased the bed ratio for handling Covid-19 in hospitals. /Meanwhile, third or booster vaccinations are also being intensified.

Several epidemiologists suggested the government review the level 2 of Implementation of Community Activity Restrictions in Java and Bali. They also suggested canceling off-line seasons in schools, and returning to online learning.

On one hand, the government is required to immediately take mitigation actions in a bid to prevent the fall of many victims. But on the other hand, people must also take precautions for their own safety. Strict health protocols must continue to be carried out by wearing masks, keeping a distance, and avoiding crowds. Vaccination must also be encouraged; both the third stage (booster) as well as the first and second vaccinations for those who have not received. Thus, mitigation efforts are carried out by all parties. Last year, Indonesian people experienced the bad consequences of the widespread transmission of Covid-19. This experience is expected not to reoccur.



People's markets have an important role in Indonesia, namely developing and growing people’s economic growth and creating jobs. People's markets are also a place for social and cultural interaction. 

Currently, according to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), some 16,235 people's markets are not able to compete with modern markets. Even amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the people's market became even more sluggish.

Data from Indonesian Market Traders Association, as quoted from (20/07/2021) showed some 5 million of 12 million or 43 percent of people's market traders in various regions were forced to close because of lacking customers during the pandemic.

In such a condition, people's market development and revitalization programs receive serious attention from the government. The government kept trying to revitalize the people's market. One of the aims is to enable the people's market competitiveness against modern retail so that people's economy can grow.

Trade Ministry's Domestic Trade Director General Oke Nirwan as quoted from Antara (18/01) said that the main problem in revitalizing people's economy is limited literacy or understanding about digital market implementation for traders and people's market management.

Educating the traders and people's market management from market digitalization implementation is not easy. Therefore, it needs synergy cooperation by both the government institutions and the private sector as done by the Trade Minister and Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Ministry.

On Tuesday (18/1), the Education, Culture, Research, and Technology Ministry signed a cooperation agreement on People's Market Strengthening and Empowerment through Independent Campus Program as witnessed virtually by Minister of the Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, Nadiem Makarim, and Minister of Trade, Minister M. Lutfi.

Through this cooperation program, students are invited to improve the management and manpower capacity of the business-people in the people's markets by optimizing digitalization to support the national economy.

It is expected that the cooperation will give an important experience for students about working at people's markets and improve the competitiveness of traders and people's market management.



The Indonesian government has begun to allow the departure of Umrah pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. In Indonesia where the majority of the population is Muslim, Umrah is one of the important worships that many people covet. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the implementation, which involves a trip to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, has been forced to stop. However, with the development of Covid-19 cases that are sloping around the world, especially in Indonesia, the Umrah service has begun to be carried out again. This year’s first Umrah pilgrims left Indonesia on January 8, 2022. There are 1,731 pilgrims who have departed using the One Gate Policy (OGP) scheme.

Director General of Hajj and Umrah at the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs, Hilman Latief said that the One Stop Policy scheme requires all Umrah pilgrims to undergo quarantine for one day before flying to Saudi Arabia via Soekarno Hatta Airport. They must carry out health screening and complete documents, including standard PCR examinations from the Ministry of Health.

However, more recently, the Ministry stated that it was temporarily suspending flights for Umrah pilgrims starting January 15, 2022. This decision was an effort to evaluate the One Gate Policy (OGP) scheme, including monitoring the development of the Omicron variant in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.

According to the schedule, the Umrah pilgrims who departed on January 8 will return to Indonesia today, January 17, 2022. The Directorate General of Hajj and Umrah will observe the health conditions of the pilgrims upon arrival in the country, including in the context of the development of the Omicron virus.

Given the increasing number of people who have been exposed to the Omicron variant recently, the policy of temporarily stopping the departure of Umrah pilgrims must be understood by prospective Umrah pilgrims and Umrah Travel Organizers. The circular letter of the Directorate General of Hajj and Umrah Organization of the Ministry of Religion mentions that there are various rules for Umrah pilgrims after traveling abroad. It is mandatory to carry out quarantine in accordance with the provisions of the Covid-19 Task Force at hotels that have obtained legality. The quarantine period stipulated for Foreign Travelers entering Indonesia is 7 x 24 hours.

The temporary suspension and evaluation of the organization of the Umrah pilgrimage is, of course, for the good of many people. Director General of Hajj and Umrah, Hilman Latief has also emphasized that this evaluation is carried out in line with the development of Omicron in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. Prevention is always better than cure, including comprehensive prevention of the spread of the Omicron virus that could occur from the Umrah pilgrimage.

The steps taken by the government and followed by all parties are expected to prevent Indonesia from experiencing a peak in cases of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus, which is predicted to occur in mid-February to early March 2022.

Hopefully, no Umrah pilgrims are exposed to the Covid 19 virus with all its variants, especially the Omicron variant. May the evaluation that will be carried out by the Ministry of Religion will be successful. So, the departure of Umrah pilgrims can be carried out again.



The total number of people infected by Covid-19 kept increasing, as if it was unstoppable. Many countries kept reporting new omicron cases. 

In Europe, for instance, WHO stated there were more than 7 million new cases of Omicron across the continent in the first week of January. The number rose twofold within two weeks. 

WHO Director for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge said on Tuesday (1/1) there were 26 countries reporting more than 1 percent of the population infected every week. He quoted the estimation from Institute of Health Metrics at University of Washington which projected half of the West European population would be infected in the next six or eight weeks. 

Kluge was worried that when Omicron moves to the East, crossing Europe, that variant will take more victims much more in countries with low vaccination rate. In Denmark, he recorded, Covid-19 inpatient rate was six higher on those who were not vaccinated than the vaccinated ones. Similar high cases also happened in the US, Poland, and Japan. 

The Omicron also infected Indonesians. Data from the Health Ministry until Monday (10/1) showed 506 Omicron cases in Indonesia. The ministry's Director for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, Siti Nadia Tarmizi said that Omicron infection was still dominated by international travelers and 84 of them were local infections. Therefore, she affirmed that the people must be ready in facing the Omicron, considering how easily it spreads.

Although Omicron has lighter symptoms, the people must stay on alert. More infection can burden health facility capacity and operational capacity of other sectors. Health protocols are a must, including wearing maskers, keeping distance, and washing hands. Preventing is better than curing.



The Indonesian Ministry of Health reported that until Sunday, January 9, 2022, the number of infection cases with the Omicron Covid-19 variant in Indonesia had increased to 414 people. There are additional cases of 75 people. Of these, 31 people have cases of local transmission. The rest are from  travelers from  foreign countries.

These data indicate that Omicron transmission in Indonesia is still increasing. In total, 99% of Omicron cases have mild or no symptoms. They are mostly travelers who came from Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Spokesperson for Vaccination of the Ministry of Health, dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi in her statement said that several areas that experienced an increase in cases were Jakarta, West Java and North Sulawesi. As of January 5, Indonesia was in the third position of the highest Omicron cases in Southeast Asia after Singapore and Thailand. Singapore still occupies the top position with 2,251 cases detected, while Thailand has 2062 cases.

These facts are certainly quite worrying. Amid the government's incessant call for Indonesian citizens not to travel abroad, there are still those who go abroad, giving rise to new cases in Indonesia.

The government has also adjusted the rules for foreign travelers who will enter Indonesia. Recently, the Government has issued a Circular regarding Health Protocols for Overseas Travel, Entry Points, Quarantine Places and Obligation for Health Tests, such as RT-PCR for Indonesian Citizens Traveling Overseas.

Spokesperson for the COVID-19 Handling Task Force, Prof. Wiku Adisasmito through the Presidential Secretariat's YouTube channel said that one of the things that is continuously monitored and evaluated is regulations for foreign travelers. Naturally, travel between countries opens up opportunities for case imports, especially if they are not controlled properly.

It is a challenge for the government and the people of Indonesia to control Covid 19, which is currently tending to rise, after sloping down over the last few months. Thereby, the best way is to continue to implement health protocols as an easy, inexpensive and effective pandemic control strategy in preventing transmission. In addition to being asked to obey wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining distance, the public are also asked to play an active role in preventing the entry of more Omicron variants. The trick is not to travel abroad unless it is very urgent. For the people who return to Indonesia, they should strictly adhere to the rules, including the applicable quarantine policy.



Kazakhstan, as one of oil-producing countries in Central Asia, is in turmoil after thousands of people in the country staged mass demonstration to protest on the streets. The AFP news agency reported that the protests in Kazakhstan came after a sharp increase in fuel prices. The protests turned into clashes with officers, even spread to other cities in Kazakhstan, and became public demonstrations and riots.

It was previously known that during three decades of independence, Kazakhstan was able to cultivate its image of political stability, thereby helping to attract hundreds of billions of dollars of foreign investment in the oil and metals industry.

On the protests in his country, Kazakh President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in a speech on the local television believed that there are financially motivated conspirators behind the current wave of demonstrations. He also asked Kazakhs not to give in to provocations from within and outside the country. Tokayev also warned that attacking civilian and military facilities is an unlawful act, a crime that deserves being punished.

The United States and the United Nations, which are also monitoring the conflict in Kazakhstan, have called on all parties there to exercise restraint, following rising social tensions over the sharp rise in fuel prices. US State Department Spokesperson, Ned Price said that Washington condemns acts of violence and destruction of property and calls on authorities and protesters to exercise restraint. Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said the United Nations –UN was concerned about events in Kazakhstan.

The world community agrees with what the UN and the US have said. In addition, respecting and defending constitutional institutions, human rights and media freedom, including the restoration of internet services must also be a concern so that the crisis does not drag on to a downward spiral. All parties must try to find a peaceful solution to this emergency. They must refrain from violence and encourage dialogue.

The United Nations also seems to need to intervene immediately to help overcoming the chaos in Kazakhstan. This is to dismiss allegations of involvement of certain foreign groups in what is happening in the country.



Indonesia is focusing on developing infrastructure and ecosystem for research. Data of the Global Competitiveness Index 2019 mentioned that research productivity in Indonesia was 0.02% in 2015. This is still far below the ideal 15%. Therefore, it needs to be improved and supported by the government and private sector.

Head of National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Laksana Tri Handoko has recently explained that research conditions in Indonesia are not growing optimally, and are still dominated by the government. Some 80 percent of research was conducted by the government while only 20 percent was done by non-government.

Considering this situation, the government keeps encouraging the private sector to join in research and development activities. One of which is by preparing fiscal incentives to stimulate the private sector to do research and development. With this policy, a tax subject that conducts certain research and development in Indonesia can be granted 100% gross income deduction from the total cost for the activity.

With the fiscal incentive, it is expected that the private sector can actively join in awakening the spirit of research and development in Indonesia. The private involvement in doing research and development is very necessary so that the research and development ecosystem in Indonesia can grow further. Therefore, research productivity in Indonesia can keep increasing.



The five countries that have global nuclear powers made a joint statement to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and to avoid conflict as a result of their use.

Citing AFP, the joint statement of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States, on Tuesday, January 4, was issued following the latest review of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT) which first took effect in 1970.

Undeniably, there have been frequent tensions between these countries, especially between those in the cold war many decades ago were called  the “west” (US, France, and England) and the “east” (Russia and China). However, the five world powers view the avoidance of war between nuclear weapons states and the reduction of strategic risks as their main responsibility.

The statement also pledged to comply with a key article in the NPT, that states commit to full nuclear disarmament in the future. The US used nuclear weapons in Japan at the end of World War II. Namely through the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki with a very terrible impact.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appreciated the joint statement by pointing out that the presence of 13,000 nuclear weapons worldwide is a growing threat, with the risk that they could be used at any time. The further spread of such weapons must be prevented. Nuclear war should not happen, given the enormous impact.

Although influential, the joint statement of the five countries will not necessarily be able to eliminate all nuclear weapons in the world. Several other countries, such as Iran, North Korea, India and Pakistan, are also known to have started developing nuclear weapons. While Israel is widely believed to have nuclear weapons it has never officially acknowledged.

However, the statement of the nuclear weapons prevention agreement is believed to be able to help increase mutual trust between countries. This includes replacing competition among the great powers with coordination and cooperation. In addition, it is hoped that it will also be able to melt tensions that often arise between nuclear power countries such as Russia and the US, which sometimes still leave traces of the Cold War in the past.

The fact that can not be denied is, the potential for nuclear war is basically still there. Many countries are trying to increase their military strength, including nuclear weapons, in order to guard against threats from other parties. In fact, sometimes war can be prevented or even 'won' in various other ways, such as diplomacy, restraint or avoidance. Thus, nuclear war can be avoided, the world can be saved from destruction and the terrible impact on mankind.



Over the last two days, the media has been busy discussing the issue of the Indonesian National Police -Polri to be proposed under a ministry. Governor of the National Defense Institute, Lt. Gen. TNI (Ret.), Agus Widjojo has proposed that the National Security Council and the Ministry of Home Security be immediately formed. Thus, he stated that the Ministry of Home Security will oversee the National Police.

Responding to the proposal, Analyst of Public Information Center Policy at the Public Relations Division of the Polri, Police Commissioner Trunoyudo W Andiko delivered a press statement Monday (3/1). He emphasized that the Polri institution is under the president of the Republic of Indonesia in accordance with the 1945 Constitution and Law No. 2/2002 on the National Police.

Andiko further stated that Article 8 paragraph (1) of Law No. 2/2002 has firmly stated that the National Police are under the president. Therefore, until now, the Polri institution still operates under the president and is directly responsible to the president.

In line with the National Police, Commissioner of the National Police Commission (Kompolnas), Poengky Indarti remarked  that the National Police institution which is currently under the direct supervision of the President of the Republic of Indonesia is a mandate from the Reformation era. He assessed that it would be inappropriate for anyone to propose other ideas that deviate from the mandate of the Reformation era.

According to Poengky, Law No. 2/2002 on the National Police is a manifestation of police reform. In addition, the Police as an institution do not stand alone. Thereby, Kompolnas participates in overseeing and has the task of determining the direction of policies drawn up by the National Police. Several observers and members of the House of Representatives -DPR also expressed the same opinion. The point is that the National Police should remain under the President, and there is no need for a special institution to oversee the Police.

The number of opinions that support the National Police to remain under the President shows that the current position of the Police is considered to be appropriate. There must be a very strong reason and an in-depth study, if someone wants to change the position of the police. Whatever the position of the Police is that the interests of the nation and the state must become a root basis.

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