Indonesia said yesterday it would probably strengthen anti-terrorism regulations to prevent attacks such as last week's bomb blast at a Jakarta hotel, as the US ambassador warned more attempts at attacks were likely. \nChief security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told reporters the Cabinet would debate the issue tomorrow, but added the world's most populous Muslim nation would not copy draconian security laws used by its neighbors. \nAnti-terrorism regulations were introduced in the wake of last October's Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreigners, but are not as far reaching as laws used in Singapore and Malaysia. \nAuthorities have blamed the Bali and hotel bombings as well as others over the past year on militant Muslims linked to the regional Jemaah Islamiah group and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda. \n"The main idea of the government is to revise the current law. Particularly, we will study whether the current regulation is accommodating enough or not," Yudhoyono told reporters. \nHowever, the government has "no thought" to "plagiarize the ISA [internal security acts] of Singapore and Malaysia." \n"The government is not as stupid as that, because our conditions are different, the substance is different," he said. \nThere have been calls by some officials for Indonesia to follow the Singapore and Malaysian examples of draconian internal security laws since the Aug. 5 bombing at the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, which killed 12 people and wounded up to 150. \nBut civil rights groups and some legislators have responded angrily to suggestions the government might seek to revive laws similar to those used by former autocrat Suharto during his 32 years of iron rule that ended in 1998. \nUS envoy to Jakarta Ralph Boyce said he had warned Americans to expect more attempts at terror attacks. \nIn remarks to reporters who asked him about a meeting of US citizens in the heavily guarded embassy complex earlier, Boyce said a theme of his comments was that "we believe it likely there will be further attempts" by militants at such attacks. \nHe said he also suggested to those at the gathering that if they left the meeting more concerned or even more frightened than when they came they would have got the message. \nThe meeting itself was off the record to the media. \nWashington has already issued several warnings, most recently on August 8, of terrorist threats in Indonesia, and said places where Americans and other foreigners gather or reside are potential targets. \nWhile all but one of those who died in the Aug. 5 Marriott attack were Indonesians, the hotel was viewed as a Western symbol, and had been used by the US embassy for various events. \nAustralia issued a warning yesterday for its citizens to avoid all international hotels in Jakarta after new intelligence found the capital could be under threat of further attacks.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big