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Christmas and New Year's holidays are still less than two months away. However, the Indonesian government has begun to urge people, especially those living in the cities, not to travel to their hometowns as customary at the end of this year. This is to prevent a spike in Covid-19 cases after the 2021 Christmas and 2022 New Year holidays. The government also controls community mobility and tightens health protocols.

Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy stated last week that the collective leave which is usually applied on days close to official holidays, such as Christmas, New Year or Eid al-Fitr this time will be abolished, including the day before Christmas, which is Friday, December 24, 2021. The abolition of collective leave is to limit the mobility of people, which usually increases towards the year-end holidays. The goal is to reduce the potential for the spread of Covid-19. Moreover, a number of epidemiologists have warned about the possibility of a third wave of Covid-19 attacks.

To prevent an increase in positive cases of Covid-19, the Ministry of Transportation through the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, issued the latest rules regarding the requirements for boarding a plane. For flights on Java-Bali, passengers are required to show a vaccine card (minimum first dose) and negative Covid-19 information via RT-PCR (maximum sample 3x24 hours), before departure. Meanwhile, outside Java, the requirements are also the same.

Some regional governments even enforce an odd-even system policy for private-vehicle numbers to limit people's movement.

The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indeed lowered the level of Covid-19 for Indonesia. After being judged to have succeeded in carrying out good Covid-19 control, Indonesia was given a Level 1 or "low for Covid-19 transmission". However, this does not mean that Indonesia is completely free from the pandemic. Neither the government nor the public should be careless about the transmission of the virus. Experience shows that Indonesia always experienced an increase in the number of Covid-19 spreads at the end of the long holiday period. The August 2020 holiday season, for example, resulted in an increase in cases of up to 119% and the weekly death rate to 57%. Meanwhile, in May-June 2021, Indonesia endured the Covid-19 wave due to a combination of delta variant factors and neglected health protocols during the long Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Currently, a number of countries, including the UK and Singapore, are experiencing an increase in daily cases.

So, it is very natural for the Indonesian government to issue various policies to prevent any potential return of the Covid-19 storm, especially ahead of the long Christmas 2021 and 2022 New Year holidays.



Military tensions between China and Taiwan are at their worst since 40 years ago. This condition comes after China sent a record number of military jets to Taiwan's air defense zone for four consecutive days.

AFP in its report on Thursday, October 28, 2021, said that relations between Beijing and Taipei continued to heat up, especially after Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen took office.

Regarding the escalation of tension in Taiwan-China relations and the attention of foreign countries towards Taiwan, it can actually be seen from the geographical position of the country.

The island of Taiwan, which is not far from mainland China, has become a strategic point in terms of Indo-Pacific geopolitics. For China, reunification is an ideal choice because by unifying Taiwan, Beijing will have a strategic point in the Pacific for its defense.

As for the United States, as well as Japan, the existence and independence of Taiwan is important. At least to reduce China's power related to the security and geopolitical strategy of the Pacific region.

The threat of armed conflict between China and Taiwan will always exist. This is in line with the increasing tension in relations related to the sovereignty of the two countries. However, although the situation seems often alarming, military experts say, China is not yet ready to launch a military campaign to occupy Taiwan.

One consideration is the response of the United States, which has been known to support Taiwan from the start. Although military planners in Beijing feel that Chinese troops have many advantages, it is not yet known how the United States will react if there really is an open armed conflict, especially regarding military assistance to Taiwan. In addition, any Chinese military intervention to force Taiwan's unification with the mainland could potentially pose its own risks related to China's broader economy and foreign policy.



After 19 years, Indonesia finally won the Thomas Cup after defeating China on Sunday (17/10). However, this victory was not exciting. During the ceremony, Indonesia's national flag was replaced with Indonesian Badminton Association's flag. This happened because of an issue between Indonesia and the World Anti-Doping Agency -WADA. The "flagless" punishment in every international event was imposed by WADA for IOC member countries that have problems with doping tests or the doping itself on the athletes.

On that matter, Indonesian Minister of Youth and Sports, Zainudin Amali, as President Joko Widodo's instruction to immediately solve this issue, has moved quickly by forming a special task force led by Raja Sapta Oktohari.

Raja Sapta, who is also Indonesian Olympics Committee Chairman said that he has opened communication with WADA to relieve the country's anti-doping agency LADI from the sanction. In opening the communication, Raja Sapta Oktohari met directly WADA's President, Witold Banka and Secretary General, Olivier Niggli at the Association of National Olympic Committee's General Assembly in Greece on Sunday (24/10).

From the meeting, Raja Sapta said that there are some obstacles in the communication between LADI and WADA. However, direct access for every LADI personnel to WADA's has been opened. So, the issue can be solved quickly. Also, the task force keeps pushing LADI to solve some 24 postponed issues. Raja Sapta also ensured that if all the requirements are fulfilled by LADI, Indonesia will regain her rights on sports events and can host another international championship again.

The issue of doping is a serious one for every athlete, since they are demanded to be honest in their achievements. Therefore, there should be more education for the athletes, medical team, and LADI officials. Besides, the cooperation with Japan in building an anti-doping lab needs to be finished soon so that Indonesia will not depend on anyone in doping testing the athletes in every championship.



The African continent has been hit by a military coup again. Sudan is in a state of uncertainty after the military took power Monday, October 25, 2021. Coup leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan told reporters that military actions were being taken to secure the country. He justified his actions by blaming the civil government's political conflict. Civilian and military leaders have been at loggerheads since the  long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was toppled in 2019. Last September, in Sudan there was an attempted coup by the military, but it was thwarted.

Civil society, especially the youth, regards General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan's rhetoric as a lie. Protests sprang up, not only in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, but also in several other places. Protesters barricaded the road, causing  clashes with soldiers. As a result, seven protesters were reportedly killed and hundreds injured. The army is said to have acted tough to contain the protests.

Sudan's military seized power as the country is in transition after the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir two years ago. To fill the transition period until the elections are held, a military-civilian Sovereign Council has been formed which is planned to lead Sudan to become a democratic country. During the transition period, Sudan has appointed Abdalla Hamdok, an economist, as Prime Minister. Now, with the military taking power, general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has dissolved the Sovereign Council.  PM Hamdok and his wife, as well as multiple government ministers and officials, were detained on Monday, and later returned to their residence on Tuesday, according to a source with Sudan Prime Minister Office and a military source. It was not clear whether Hamdok and his wife are able to move freely after they returned to their home, or whether other government ministers and officials are also let go or still detained.

The military coup in Sudan has sparked international reactions. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the coup and called for the release of the prime minister and other officials. The European Union has "strongly condemned" the coup and stressed the "serious consequences" for the EU's engagement with Sudan, including its financial support, unless the situation is reversed immediately. Meanwhile, the United States withheld aid funds amounting to 700 million dollars, as a form of protest over the Sudanese coup. White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated that the United States rejected a military coup and called for the immediate release of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

 It is still uncertain what the next situation will be in Sudan after the military coup. Reflecting on the military coup in Myanmar, there is still a long way to go. During that time, violence will still occur with many victims and not small economic losses. In the end, it is the people of Sudan who will feel the negative impact.



Indonesian President, Joko Widodo had the opportunity to deliver his speech at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit Monday (25/10). He conveyed about the economic revival of ASEAN member countries amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He disclosed three key points to revitalize the economy in the Southeast Asia region.

First, health care must become a top priority. The short-term agenda to accelerate and equalize vaccination in all countries in the region must be carried out jointly. Thereby, the target of vaccination of the ASEAN population as many as 70 percent must be achieved immediately.

Second, ASEAN's economic recovery must be accelerated by reactivating safe travel, including safe tourism. According to the records of the United Nations World Tourism Organization –UNWTO, the level of restrictions in Southeast Asia is 82 percent, the highest in the world.

With the Covid-19 situation increasingly under control, President Joko Widodo believes that these restrictions can be reduced. However, it must be guaranteed safe from the risk of the pandemic. He also reminded again that a year ago, Indonesia initiated the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework. He perceived that this idea needs to be implemented immediately. In addition, President Joko Widodo has encouraged the recognition of vaccine certificates in the region, including the interoperability of vaccine systems. Travel arrangement for people who have been vaccinated and healthy is necessary by implementing vaccinated travel lanes in the region.

The third key that was pointed out by President Joko Widodo is by accelerating the adaptation of regional economic activities towards a digital economy. Because, the digital technology is the most effective solution in dealing with the limitations of movement and face-to-face meetings in community economic activities. He also viewed that ASEAN is the region with the fastest internet growth in the world. Therefore, the potential of ASEAN's digital economy is very large. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the digital economy grew and reached US$100 billion in 2020. President Joko Widodo also emphasized that Indonesia supports ASEAN to become a digitally connected community.

In regard to President Joko Widodo's explanation, it is implied that fast and integrated steps must be taken immediately by all ASEAN member countries. This disclosure can be felt as urgency for the regional economy to recover sooner. However, the main requirement is a common vision, common step and cooperative spirit for all ASEAN member countries.


As a country with the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia has the opportunity to become a major player in the global sharia economy and the halal industry. Moreover, developments in the Islamic economic sector have experienced significant growth.

When opening the Commemoration of National Santri Day 2021 and the Launching of the New Logo of the Sharia Economic Community at the State Palace in Jakarta on Friday, (22/10), President Joko Widodo said that from 2018 until late 2020, Indonesia's sharia economy continued to climb in rank,. It was ranked 4th in the  world. However, the President asked people not to be complacent. He also emphasized that there is a need for synergistic efforts among stakeholders so that the sharia economy can grow even faster.

What President Joko Widodo said should be observed and it becomes an important reference for the Islamic economic community. They should become a down-to-earth  sharia economic locomotive, touch the people's economy, and drive an inclusive economy. The Islamic economic community is expected to give birth to many entrepreneurs, mainly from the santris, Islamic boarding school students.

The question is whether there have been any serious efforts made in encouraging micro, small and medium-sized businesses that have been created to go digital.For example, they can enter online stores, marketplaces, e-commerce, and can also enter national and global supply chains. In addition, Indonesian entrepreneurs are expected to become major players in the development of the global halal industry.

The Indonesian government has certainly thought about these things. It is known that the Government has prepared various financing schemes to support the growth of new entrepreneurs, especially from the santris.

Thus, pesantren, the Islamic boarding schools and their students can take advantage of these various financing programs properly so that they can play a greater role in strengthening the people's economy.

Therefore, the entrepreneurs from the students and graduates of Islamic boarding schools must continue to be encouraged to create job opportunities and spread wider benefits, and play a more active role in becoming entrepreneurs with a social spirit.


Afghan new ruler, the Taliban agreed to cooperate with Russia, China and Iran on regional security. This agreement was reached after Russia warned about the resurgence of the Islamic State group and the threat of drug trafficking, following the militant group's takeover of Afghanistan.

As reported by the AFP news agency, Thursday (10/21), during the talks in Moscow, the ten participating countries: Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan that were present also called for "urgent" humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan. They also said that the countries that had recently withdrawn troops from Afghanistan should fund reconstruction efforts.

The meeting in Moscow is the Taliban's latest international appearance since seizing power in Afghanistan.

Although at the meeting, Russia, China and Iran agreed to assist regional security in Afghanistan, official international recognition of the Taliban government has not yet been obtained. The parties who attended the Moscow meeting were indeed present specifically to voice concerns about the activities of the ISIS group. They reaffirmed their willingness to continue to promote security in Afghanistan and contribute to regional stability but did not mention anything about recognizing the Taliban.

The attitude of the Taliban themselves who are willing to appear and cooperate, especially to prevent the rise of ISIS, is considered by many to be a very positive step.

The countries that participate at the meeting should further encourage Afghanistan's current leadership to take further steps, to improve and to form a truly inclusive government, as they declared after taking over Afghanistan. This must reflect the interests of all the major ethno-political forces in the country, including stressing the importance of respecting the rights of ethnic groups, women and children. The Taliban must be able to work with all parties to honor and fulfill their commitments.



President Joko Widodo along with some friend countries' ambassadors and local community planted mangrove in Tana Tidung, North Kalimantan on Tuesday (19/10). That was one of many efforts by the Indonesian government in multiplying and rehabilitating mangrove forest.

As quoted from (19/10), President Joko Widodo explained that there are 180 thousand hectares of mangrove forest in North Kalimantan to be rehabilitated. He targets 600 thousand hectares of mangrove forest that can be rehabilitated in the next three years.

Some ambassadors and World Bank representatives who joined the mangrove planting appreciated the Indonesian government's program. World Bank's Country Director, Satu Kahkonen said that the program has a great meaning both for Indonesia and the whole world. Meanwhile, Swiss Ambassador to Indonesia, Kurt Kunz hopes that the mangrove rehab can be an example and stimulus for communities in Indonesia and the world.

The Mangrove planting programs play a crucial role in supporting carbon pollution reduction. Mangrove forest multiplication and rehab as done by President Joko Widodo is also a move to mitigate climate change.

Based on data from the Maritime and Fishery Ministry, as quoted from (19/8), Indonesian mangrove forest is the biggest in the world, namely 3.2 million hectares or 22.4% of world's mangrove forest. This shows that Indonesia has a quite significant contribution in reducing carbon emission.

Research results in 2019, as quoted from, showed that one square meter of mangrove forest can store 50 kg carbon. This carbon storage capacity is important in the climate change effect reduction process.

Therefore, mangrove replanting by the government should be followed by the awareness and involvement of the people living around the mangrove forest. They need to understand the importance of preserving the mangrove ecosystem. 



Efforts to revive the Nuclear agreement between Iran and the European Union still need time due to the failure of the new round of talks between the two parties in Vienna on Monday, October 18, 2021. Both Iran and the European Union still have to take diplomatic approaches to reach an understanding before meeting again in Brussels.

In the talks in Vienna, Iran was represented by the envoy of President Ibrahim Reisi, who the West highlighted as a hard-line figure. The EU and Iran nuclear deal began to run into problems when the United States withdrew from the agreement during the Trump administration. The approach was taken again, when the Joe Biden administration said it would return to the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The deal, which involved the United States, was signed in 2015 with talks led by European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini. In its implementation which began in 2016, the European Union played an important role as a coordinator to carry out transactions.

On the basis of the JCPOA, the European Union also lifted economic and financial sanctions on Iran related to its nuclear program. Apparently, the nuclear deal has paved the way for the renewal and expansion of relations between the European Union and Iran. The European Union is also investing in Iran's nuclear project safety program. Economically, the JCPOA has had a good impact on the value of exports and imports between the European Union and Iran. In the first year the JCPOA was implemented, it was recorded that EU imports from Iran were 5.5 billion Euros. In contrast, EU exports to Iran reached more than 8 billion euros. EU investment in Iran covers several sectors including energy, automotive and transportation. Therefore, the cessation of a comprehensive agreement between the European Union and Iran can be said to have an economic impact on both parties. The JCPOA was again hindered when Ibrahim Reisi, who is said to be a hardliner, was elected President of Iran in June 2021.

Judging from the merits and benefits of implementing the JCPOA, further discussion is certainly needed. The failure of the talks in Vienna does not mean that the efforts of both the European Union and Iran have stopped. That in Vienna Iran has not been able to reach an agreement, it is very possible because President Ibrahim El Eisi and his government still need to consider several crucial things. Regarding the outcome of the upcoming talks in Brussels, of course it is up to both parties whether there will be progress or will it stop.


President Joko Widodo reaffirmed his strong commitment to tackling climate change. This was conveyed by President Joko Widodo when receiving a visit from the Executive Vice President of the European Commission for European Green Policy and Climate, Frans Timmermans at the State Palace in Jakarta Monday (18/10). Quoting the official website of the State Secretariat, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi explained that in the meeting, President Joko Widodo also conveyed the concrete steps that Indonesia has achieved. It is a commitment in dealing with climate change.

In the past year, climate change has indeed become one of the issues, that has been a serious concern for President Joko Widodo. In various occasions and meetings, he said that Indonesia is truly committed to tackling climate change. At the Climate Change Summit last April, President Joko Widodo affirmed three major points related to the issue of climate change. First, Indonesia is very serious in controlling climate change and urging the world to take concrete actions. Second, world leaders must advance green development for a better world. Third, in order to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement and the following shared agenda, global partnerships must be strengthened.

This commitment was also conveyed by President Joko Widodo at the 2021 Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) meeting in mid-September 2021. He remarked that the energy and climate sector emergency situation must be responded to by all countries. This response is realized through joint action on a global scale.

Concrete steps have also been taken by Indonesia. One of them is the rehabilitation of mangrove forests. Several mangrove forests are being rehabilitated, such as in Bengkalis Regency, Riau Province and Bali. Indonesia's target until 2024 is expected to be successful in restoring and rehabilitating 600 thousand hectares of damaged mangrove forests. The initiative is considered very important. At least, that was highlighted by the Special Envoy of the President of the United States (US) for Climate Issues, John Kerry. In a YouTube broadcast by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry on Monday (19/10), John Kerry said that the action is very important and he is looking forward to the success.

Indonesia's commitment to addressing climate change will also be presented at the Conference of Parties (COP 26) in Glasgow, Scotland on October 31 - November 12, 2021. According to the schedule, President Joko Widodo will attend directly and convey Indonesia's commitment to the Net Target Zero Emission 2060 and the opportunity for blue carbon as an emission reduction solution.

Strong commitment and real action must be echoed and carried out by the Indonesian people. Because, Indonesia has an important position to tackle climate change. With more than 17,000 islands owned, the third largest tropical forest in the world and a population of more than 270 million people, tackling climate change must be a priority for the Indonesian people. Real actions taken every day by all Indonesian citizens to care for and protect the environment will contribute significantly to achieving the target of zero carbon emissions by 2060. Changing habits to save water, manage waste and switch to public transportation are little steps every day that Indonesian people can do. Meanwhile, at the government and related stakeholders, there is an allocation in the Regional Revenue and Expenditure Budget for handling climate change. The joint efforts of the Indonesian people to overcome climate change will contribute prominently to the global community.