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Editorial (802)

02
July

 

On Thursday (1/7), People’s Republic of China celebrated the Chinese Communist Party centenary or 100th anniversary. China's National News Agency, Xinhuanet.com said that for 100 years, the Party formed by Mao Zedong has ushered China into a modern and most advanced socialist country in the 21st century.

However, the achievements are not without black records, such as  the social and economic policies of the government in the 60s, which made millions of people starve and even die. Not to mention the Tiananmen incident in 1989 which caused chaos and claimed many lives.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, while delivering remarks on the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, vowed to complete China's reunification with long-standing self-rule Taiwan. According to President Xi, China under his leadership has stepped up efforts to assert sovereignty claims to Taiwan.

He further stated that China has managed to withstand various tests and pressures, such as the war against Covid-19, catastrophic flooding in the central and eastern parts of the country, as well as extreme poverty in rural areas. In addition, there are also in terms of fighting corruption and violations of discipline as well as money politics.

Historically or ideologically, the Chinese Communist Party has proven to be fully responsible for the development of modern China. The vision of reform from Deng Xiaoping's leadership to until Xi Jinping has mastered the bureaucracy, military and other aspects of the life of the Chinese nation. With the centralized democracy model at the age of one hundred years, the Chinese Communist Party has succeeded in making China an economically developed country in the 21st century, defeating the hegemony of the United States and the West throughout the 20th century.

30
June

 

When several countries in the world have issued budgets against the new variant of Delta that has caused the spread of the Covid pandemic, the war in Syria has led to the use of funds for the conflict that it is unclear when it will end. Instead of getting a solution, the war in Syria shows a tendency to get worse. The US onslaught to counter attacks by Iran-backed militias on the Iraq-Syria border has come under fire from Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Khademi.

On the instructions of President Joe Biden, the US on Sunday, June 27, has carried out air strikes in response to militia drone attacks targeting US troops in Iraq. The attack by US troops last weekend was the second time on direct orders from the President. Joe Biden issued his first directive in February 2021 shortly after he was sworn in as President of the United States replacing Donald Trump.

The civil war in Syria that has lasted for 10 years has killed at least 388,000 people, both from the government and the resistance sides. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have left to various countries, especially in Europe. The costs spent on the war that never ends is certainly very big. Instead of thinking about overcoming the new variant of Covid and its impact on the Syrian people, the large funds were issued by the government of President As Saad to finance the war.

The intervention of foreign countries including the United States, Russia and Iran is not a solution to ending the tragedy in Syria. The country that used to be referred to as one of the beautiful and prosperous regions. Ignited by the Arab Spring democratization movement some time ago, now the war in Syria has destroyed parts of the country and made its people suffer terribly at home or stranded in some foreign countries.

Iraqi protests over US air strikes aimed at Iranian-backed militia forces on the border with Iraq and Syria are likely to make the conflict in Syria more complicated towards a resolution. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Khademi in a statement condemned the US airstrikes and declared it a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

28
June

 

Indonesia continues to pursue the target of vaccinating up to 1 million doses per day in July. Indonesian President Joko Widodo while inspecting mass vaccinations at the Bhayangkara Square of the Police Headquarters on Saturday [26/67] asked regions in Indonesia to double the rate of Covid-19 vaccination from current conditions. He has even set  a new target for coming August, namely doubling it or 2 million doses per day. Increasing the rate of vaccination is carried out in order to achieve herd immunity faster. Nationally, until Sunday [27/6], the first dose of vaccine has been given to more than 27.1 million people, and the second dose is more than 13.1 million. The total population of Indonesia is currently recorded at around 271.3 million people.

In addition to conducting inspection, President Joko Widodo also had the opportunity to chat via video conference with heads of 34 Regional Police in Indonesia, who also carried out simultaneous vaccinations. They expressed readiness to continue to support the national vaccination program by increasing the target of daily inoculations in July.

The involvement of other parties outside the health sector, such as the Police, the Military, State-Owned Enterprises, the private sector and community organizations, is certainly very necessary in accelerating the achievement of 1 million vaccinations per day.

Chief of Armed Forces, Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto and Chief of National Police Gen. Sigit Prabowo are confident that the target will be met. Thereby, both of them made visits to various regions to help provide education to the community. It is undeniable that there are still some people who are reluctant to get vaccinated because they receive incorrect information. Therefore, the public's understanding of the importance of vaccination must continue to be fostered. Furthermore, for those who have been vaccinated, it is necessary to continue to follow the health protocols. Although in some countries vaccines have proven useful, it does not automatically make a person 100 percent immune from Covid-19. In Indonesia in particular, the government continues to ask the public to keep implementing the health protocols as recommended. 

25
June

 

The impact of the "Covid-19 disaster" around the world is increasingly worrying. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) as of June 24, 2021, stated that the number of people exposed to Covid-19 in the world reached almost 179 million positive cases with close to 3.9 million people dead. These numbers that continue to increase every day are really worrying for all parties.

Those who died were not only patients with certain comorbidities. The more widespread of new variants with more easily transmitted characteristics, such as the Alpha/Beta/ and Delta variants, are suspected to be the cause of the high mortality rate. Even more worrying, this virus also threatens children.

So far, many have assumed that children are more resistant when exposed to the Covid-19) than other ages. However, in Indonesia, the results of a study conducted by the Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital Jakarta team showed that 40% of pediatric patients infected with Covid-19 were at high risk of death.

In comparison, the American Academy of Pediatrics this week reported that since the pandemic began until June 17, the number of infected children accounted for 14.2 percent of the total infected across the United States of America, with a mortality rate of 0.22 percent. While an article in a medical journal entitled “Children and Adolescents with SARS-CoV-2 Infection” stated that when infected with Covid-19, children did not show symptoms (asymptomatic) or only had mild symptoms.

Therefore, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of parents all over the world, including Indonesia, to take care of their children more strictly. They have to avoid taking children out of the house, except in urgent circumstances and always comply with health protocols!

World Health Organisation -WHO as a World Agency must of course move faster to deal with cases among children so that the number who died due to Covid-19 can be minimized.

23
June

 

Increasing resistance from armed militias against the military junta could spark a civil war in Myanmar. Tuesday, June 22 armed conflict between the military and militia occurred in the city of Mandalay. Attempts to raid a school building using armored vehicles were met with resistance by the militia. A number of soldiers were injured, while on the militia side 4 people were killed. The video of the incident has been widely circulated on social media. It is said, hundreds of anti-coup protesters from various corners of small towns and villages had attended military trainings, preparing against the military junta's troops.

The worsening conditions indicate that the five consensus of ASEAN leaders when they met in Jakarta last April did not have a positive impact on resolving the conditions in Myanmar, a member of ASEAN. As stated by a number of observers, the leader of the Myanmar Junta considers the Jakarta consensus not a binding agreement that must be implemented. It was the scepticism of the opponents of the military junta, as well as the non-implementation of the consensus, that caused the situation to become more uncertain and local militias arose.

The half-hearted attitude of some ASEAN member states in resolving the political crisis and military violence in Myanmar can be cited as one of the causes of the escalation of violence there. As is known, two ASEAN member countries, Thailand and Singapore, have shown a friendly attitude to the military government. Singapore is even reported to have invested in the conflict-ridden country.

The different attitudes of ASEAN member countries were also shown when the United Nations drafted a resolution to stop arms supplies to Myanmar. At the time of voting on the UN resolution to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia and Laos all abstained. Indonesia is one of the supporters of the UN resolution along with 198 other countries, while 36 countries have abstained, including China.

To what extent the impact of the UN resolution will be, is still unknown. What is certain, the political and economic interests of various countries, including within ASEAN, can be an indication of the complexity of solving problems in Myanmar. China's position as one of the big countries that supports the military junta, both tangible and intangible, is an indicator of the difficulty of solving the problems. China's attitude is different from the United States and the European Union which openly stopped cooperation with Myanmar's top military officials.

 If the UN resolution does not have an impact, it is very likely that the conflict will escalate. Fears of a civil war in Myanmar are becoming more and more justified. Facing this uncertainty, ASEAN member countries that have a clear commitment must be willing to come forward, at least become the initiators for solving the problem.

21
June


Last weekend, it was revealed that the spike of active Covid-19 cases in Indonesia over the last six days had entered a very high phase. The number of active Covid-19 cases was found to have increased by 22,350. On June 18, 2021, the average number of active cases in Indonesia even reached 6.87 per cent, while the world was only at 6.5 per cent.

In addition to Indonesia, the spread of the Corona virus has also increased sharply globally. Deaths from the coronavirus, both old and new variants worldwide, crossed the 4-million mark on Thursday (17/6), amid high efforts by countries to provide Covid-19 vaccines to their populations. Based on Reuters records, it took more than a year to touch the first 2 million deaths from Covid-19. However, aadditional 2 million deaths were recorded in just 166 days. The top five countries with the highest total number of deaths from Covid-19 are the United States, Brazil, India, Russia and Mexico. These five countries represent about 50% of all deaths worldwide.

The fact or description of the global distribution of Covid-19 is still far from the expected improvement. Indonesia is one of the countries, which is struggling to improve this condition. The total lockdown option has not yet been implemented in Indonesia. However, the Large-Scale Social Restrictions and tightened Community Activity Restrictions have been enforced. Meanwhile, the provision of vaccines continues to be increased throughout the country. These efforts must, of course, be accompanied by consistent enforcement of strict health protocols, a healthy way of life, and other supporting factors in a long term.

18
June

 

Three cognate countries are a term that is often used to name Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. All of them have Malay roots, speak Malay and have large followers of Islam in the Southeast Asian region. Recently, news has circulated that the three countries, which are known to always support Palestine and oppose Israel, actually attracted the attention of Israeli Ambassador to Singapore, Sagi Karni. On Thursday (17/6), he said that he wants to build relations with Muslim-majority countries in Southeast Asia.

In fact, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam are consistent supporters of Palestine and condemned the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza last May. Ambassador Sagi Karni said the criticism from the leaders of the three countries was "dishonest" and ignored "the true nature of the conflict." He also remarked that the conflict was between Israel and Hamas, not the Palestinian people.

The three countries to date have absolutely no diplomatic relations with Israel. They are also the loudest in asking for United Nations intervention to stop Israel's attacks last May.

There is a reason why Israel, through its Ambassador in Singapore, dared to hope to approach the three ASEAN countries to explain its version of the background to the attacks on Palestinians last May. At the end of 2020, four Islamic countries in the Middle East; Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco agreed to normalize relations with Israel.

So far, Indonesia does not want to have bilateral relations with Israel because of its solidarity with Palestine. Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi in her statement said that Indonesia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel and will keep supporting Palestine to fight for and gain independence and its rights as a sovereign state. Meanwhile, Malaysia, since its independence in 1957, has refused diplomatic relations with Israel. As a Muslim-majority country, Malaysia has a desire to foster solidarity with Arab countries in opposing the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Israel's desire to get close to major Muslim countries in Southeast Asia must of course be based on a basic principle, namely, the recognition of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state in addition to respecting for universally applicable human rights enforcement.

16
June

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ended his reign after 13 years. He was removed from power by the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, on Sunday 13 June 2021. Benjamin Netanyahu was later replaced by Naftali Bennet, his former ally, with whom he has been ideologically opposed for several years. Naftali Bennett won  in the Knesset by just one vote namely, 60 against  59 for Netanyahu.

For the Palestinians, especially the HAMAS group, the election of Naftali Bennet does not raise good hopes. Hamas authorities are suspicious of Bennet.  He and his coalition party, are seen as unlikely to change Israel's attitude towards Palestine. After the election of Bennet, the Hamas group from the Gaza Strip confirmed that it would continue to fight against Israel.

Naftalie Bennet is the leader of the far-right party, which frequently calls for the takeover of the Palestinian territories. He had been active in the military and was known to be very anti-Iranian. Naftalie Bennet, 49, is also known to be a millionaire and tech savvy. The former protégé of Benjamin Netanyahu has criticized his teacher several times for being indecisive towards Palestinian Hamas.

US President Joe Biden has congratulated Naftalie Bennet. Meanwhile, the election of the new Prime Minister of Israel has not received a reaction from Arab countries. What is clear is Hammas' tough stance in responding to Netanyahu being replaced by the hard-line Israeli figure. There is a question about the possibility that has been frequently mentioned by various parties recently, namely  the existence of a diplomatic approach to push for Israel's recognition of Palestine as a fully independent state.

What is certain is that the factors of the United States and Iran and the attitude of Arab countries will still greatly determine the existence of new constructive steps for the realization of a sovereign Palestinian state

11
June

 

The Tokyo Olympics is going to be held on July 23, 2021. This world sporting event has been postponed for a year due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Currently, it is still a question for many parties how Tokyo will hold the world event and make Japanese volunteers, athletes, officials and people safe from the Covid-19. Due to the fact that up to now, Japan is still in great efforts to control the number of Covid-19. It is reported that 10 prefectures in Japan, including Tokyo, are still under a state of emergency until June 20, 2021. On Tuesday (1/6), Japan started vaccinating its athletes who will take part in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The Japanese government in its latest data mentions only about 3 percent of the 128 million populations who have received vaccinations. There have been 74,000 cases of Covid-19 with a death toll of up to 13,000 people.

The Japanese newspaper -Yomiuri conducted a survey on June 4 – June 6, 2021 which revealed that 50 percent of respondents said the Olympics would be held this summer. About 26 percent of respondents said the Tokyo Olympics would not be possible without spectators. More than 48 percent of respondents said the sporting event would eventually be cancelled.

The survey also revealed that respondents' support for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had declined to the lowest level of 37 percent. Most of the respondents said the reason was because they were tired of the bans imposed to stop the corona virus outbreak and the policies they felt were not enough to protect Olympic athletes and participants.

Since the beginning of the year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been encouraging athletes and Olympic committee teams from various countries to be vaccinated before they arrive in Japan.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made this event difficult to carry out. However, with the various efforts that have been made and the delay of a year, Japan seems determined to keep holding the Olympics amid this pandemic. After preparations that cost a lot of time, money, and energy, it seems that Japan really has no choice but to continue to hold the Olympics. Of course, there are various adjustments to health procedures to anticipate the Covid-19.

09
June

 

 

 

After the ASEAN envoy's visit to Myanmar, the resolution of the crisis in Myanmar has not yet shown a bright spot. Secretary General of ASEAN, Lim Joch Hoi and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brunei Erywan Yusuf, Friday, June 4, 2021, visited Myanmar in order to realize the Consensus of Asean Leaders at the meeting in Jakarta. The mission, which specifically met junta leader Henderal Min Aung Hlaing, was criticized by a rival government calling itself the National Unity Government, NUG. The Myanmar military junta's official television reported that the meeting had discussed humanitarian assistance. In addition, the ASEAN envoy also discussed the election plan with General Min Aung Hlaing who promised to hold it when the situation was conducive.

 

The NUG rival government responded to the meeting and its outcome with skepticism. They were disappointed because, as at the high-level meeting in Jakarta, the shadow government was not invited. During the visit of two ASEAN envoys to Myanmar last Friday, they also did not get a chance to meet.

 

The NUG's doubts about the results of the ASEAN meeting are quite reasonable. After the ASEAN Summit in Jakarta in April, the military junta continued to use violence against protesters. At least 800 protesters and civilians have been killed as a result of the military's actions in handling the protests since the military coup four months ago. The junta leaders seem to feel that the consensus, which is the outcome of the Jakarta high-level meeting, is not a binding decision that must be implemented. After returning from Jakarta on April 24, Myanmar's military authorities even arrested 3000 anti-government people and killed at least 200 others.

 

On the other hand, ASEAN member countries are also ambiguous in their attitude towards Myanmar's military authorities. Reportedly, Singapore and Thailand have started to cooperate with the military government by making investments. ASEAN's stance is not as firm as the European Union and the United States, which strongly condemn the junta's actions and carry out an embargo on the economic access of Myanmar military officials.

 

The exclusion of the NUG element by ASEAN in an effort to find a solution in Myanmar, in addition to causing apathy towards ASEAN, has also strengthened resistance to the junta. It is feared that this situation could be used as an excuse for the military authorities to take tough action against protesters and postpone the election because the situation is not considered conducive.

 

For ASEAN, the principle of non-intervention, as well as the ambiguous attitude of some of its members due to the interests of investment and economic cooperation, is the cause of the absence of a firm attitude and more concrete action. In this case, ASEAN really needs to get back together to state its commitment to seriously address the crisis in one of its member countries. This is none other than to prevent a civil war that could tear the country apart and make its people suffer more.

 

 

 

ASEAN's Action In The Myanmar Crisis

After the ASEAN envoy's visit to Myanmar, the resolution of the crisis in Myanmar has not yet shown a bright spot. Secretary General of ASEAN, Lim Joch Hoi and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brunei Erywan Yusuf, Friday, June 4, 2021, visited Myanmar in order to realize the Consensus of Asean Leaders at the meeting in Jakarta. The mission, which specifically met junta leader Henderal Min Aung Hlaing, was criticized by a rival government calling itself the National Unity Government, NUG. The Myanmar military junta's official television reported that the meeting had discussed humanitarian assistance. In addition, the ASEAN envoy also discussed the election plan with General Min Aung Hlaing who promised to hold it when the situation was conducive.

The NUG rival government responded to the meeting and its outcome with skepticism. They were disappointed because, as at the high-level meeting in Jakarta, the shadow government was not invited. During the visit of two ASEAN envoys to Myanmar last Friday, they also did not get a chance to meet.

The NUG's doubts about the results of the ASEAN meeting are quite reasonable. After the ASEAN Summit in Jakarta in April, the military junta continued to use violence against protesters. At least 800 protesters and civilians have been killed as a result of the military's actions in handling the protests since the military coup four months ago. The junta leaders seem to feel that the consensus, which is the outcome of the Jakarta high-level meeting, is not a binding decision that must be implemented. After returning from Jakarta on April 24, Myanmar's military authorities even arrested 3000 anti-government people and killed at least 200 others.

On the other hand, ASEAN member countries are also ambiguous in their attitude towards Myanmar's military authorities. Reportedly, Singapore and Thailand have started to cooperate with the military government by making investments. ASEAN's stance is not as firm as the European Union and the United States, which strongly condemn the junta's actions and carry out an embargo on the economic access of Myanmar military officials.

The exclusion of the NUG element by ASEAN in an effort to find a solution in Myanmar, in addition to causing apathy towards ASEAN, has also strengthened resistance to the junta. It is feared that this situation could be used as an excuse for the military authorities to take tough action against protesters and postpone the election because the situation is not considered conducive.

For ASEAN, the principle of non-intervention, as well as the ambiguous attitude of some of its members due to the interests of investment and economic cooperation, is the cause of the absence of a firm attitude and more concrete action. In this case, ASEAN really needs to get back together to state its commitment to seriously address the crisis in one of its member countries. This is none other than to prevent a civil war that could tear the country apart and make its people suffer more.

 

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