TIME indonesia

Thousands Are Left Stranded Over Eid as Indonesia Closes Three Airports

The closures come as millions of people travel home to celebrate Eid al-Fitr with their families

Eruptions from two volcanoes in Indonesia forced authorities to close three more airports Thursday, including the international terminal in the country’s second largest city Surabaya.

In total, five airports have closed because of ash spewing from Mount Raung on the main Java island and Mount Gamalama in eastern Indonesia, which erupted Thursday morning, reports the BBC.

The closures come as millions of people in the world’s most populous Muslim nation journey home for Eid al-Fitr celebrations, which mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Thousands of people traveling to spend the holiday with their families are now left stranded at the airports.

On Thursday evening, officials closed the airports serving Surabaya and Malang in East Java province, and Ternate in North Maluku province. Two other airports — Banyuwangi and Jember — have remained closed since last week.

Over the past two weeks, an ash cloud spewing from Mount Raung caused serious travel disruption on the holiday island of Bali, forcing multiple airports to close and leaving thousands of tourists and locals stranded. Those airports have since reopened.


TIME indonesia

As Bali Flights Resume, Airlines Are Facing a Huge Backlog of Passengers

Travelers wait as flights are cancelled due to the eruption of Mount Raung in East Java, at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, July 12, 2015.
Associated Press Travelers wait as flights are canceled at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, Indonesia, on July 12, 2015, because of the eruption of Mount Raung in East Java province

It will take up to three days to clear a backlog of almost 900 flights

Bali’s main international airport in Denpasar reopened late Sunday afternoon, allowing airlines to begin the mammoth task of clearing a huge backlog of passengers that had been stranded in recent days due to a volcanic-ash cloud that had grounded hundreds of flights.

Mount Raung on East Java began erupting on July 2, sending a massive ash cloud toward the popular resort island of Bali. Flights have been disrupted since Wednesday, and five airports in the region were forced to close, including Denpasar’s Ngurah Rai international airport, which shut on Friday and again on Sunday.

Officials said the ash cloud was drifting away from Bali on Monday, giving airlines a chance to clear a backlog of almost 900 flights — but that would take up to three days, reports Agence France-Presse.

“We are doing this as quickly as possible as the ash could come back anytime,” airport official Yulfiadi told AFP.

On Monday, Indonesian carrier Garuda Airlines told TIME that domestic and international flights to and from the island resort of Bali were scheduled as usual, although there would be delays.

Jetstar announced Monday that it would resume some services between Bali and Australia in the afternoon, and Malaysia’s AirAsia carrier said Sunday that it was resuming several domestic and international flights.

Virgin Australia said its planes, however, would remain grounded throughout Monday following advice from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center.

Volcanic ash can damage a plane’s engines, and the eruption at Mount Raung has caused travel chaos and left thousands of people stranded in Indonesia and around the region for days. The disruption comes at a particularly busy time in Indonesia as millions of Muslims travel to celebrate ‘Id this week. School holidays during the southern hemisphere winter are also a hugely popular time for Australians to visit Bali.

For residents living in the vicinity of Mount Raung, evacuations have not been deemed necessary, although authorities are urging people to wear face masks, the Associated Press reports. People are also warned not to approach a 2-mile high-danger zone around the volcano.

TIME indonesia

A Volcanic Ash Cloud Has Shut Down Four Indonesian Airports, Stranding Holidaymakers

Ash and smoke are emitted from the volcano Mount Raung seen from the village of Sumber Arum, near Banyuwangi, East Java province, Indonesia on July 4, 2015.
Budi Candra Setya—Antara Photo Agency/Reuters Ash and smoke are emitted from the volcano Mount Raung seen from the village of Sumber Arum, near Banyuwangi, East Java province, Indonesia on July 4, 2015

Mount Raung could continue to erupt for several weeks to come

Plumes of volcanic ash spewing from an active volcano in Indonesia have forced airlines to cancel flights for a third consecutive day to and from the popular island resort of Bali, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reports.

Indonesian authorities also closed Lombok, Jember and Banyuwangi airports, leaving many holidaymakers stranded.

The volcanic Mount Raung lies in East Java province, about 93 miles (150 km) from Bali, and began erupting on July 2. Winds have blown an ash cloud from the volcano close to the airport causing visibility concerns.

The ash cloud, which has traveled about 180 miles (300 km) southeast of the volcano and 3 miles (5 km) up into the air, is expected to clear over the next 24 hours as the wind is forecast to turn.

But Mount Raung could continue to erupt for several weeks to come.

“Volcanoes are very hard to predict but the indication at the moment is this activity could continue into the future,” Steph Bond from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre told ABC.


TIME indonesia

Boxing Icon Manny Pacquiao Visits Filipina Death-Row Convict Mary Jane Veloso

Ulet Ifansasti—Getty Images Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, center, and his wife Jinkee meet convicted drug trafficker Mary Jane Veloso of the Philippines during a visit at Wirogunan prison on July 10, 2015, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The boxing legend has lobbied for his compatriot to be set free

Philippine boxer Manny Pacquiao visited Wirogunan prison in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, on Friday morning to show his support for Filipina death-row inmate Mary Jane Veloso.

Pacquiao posted a photo on Instagram of him and his wife Jinkee holding hands and praying with Veloso. “Praying with Mary Jane Veloso. Please keep her in your prayers,” he wrote.

Veloso, who won a last-minute temporary reprieve from execution April 29, following a social-media campaign and a personal plea from Pacquiao, was reportedly in tears during the visit.

Praying with Mary Jane Veloso. Please keep her in your prayers.

A photo posted by Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) on

Veloso was sentenced to death for drug smugging in October 2010, but her family and supporters say the single mother of two was an unwitting victim of human traffickers. Amid a massive social-media campaign launched by migrant-workers’-rights and women’s-rights activists in both countries, Pacquiao made a televised appeal to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to spare the life of Veloso on April 27, two days before the scheduled execution.

Hours after Veloso’s temporary reprieve, the boxing icon promised he would visit her after his “fight of century” against Floyd Mayweather on May 2 in Las Vegas — a promise he has now fulfilled.

Pacquiao and his wife flew to Indonesia on Tuesday to shoot a commercial for a local herbal-medicine company. He and his entourage stayed at Wirogunan prison for about 30 to 60 minutes. Indonesian migrant activists gave him and his wife a handmade batik gift to express their gratitude. “This visit is very important and can give moral support to MJ [Mary Jane],” said the Indonesian Migrant Workers’ Network in a statement.

TIME indonesia

Crashed Plane May Have Suffered Engine Problem, Indonesia Air Force Chief Says

APTOPIX Indonesia Military Plane Crash
Gilbert Manullang—Associated Press Firefighters and military personnel inspect the site where an Air Force cargo plane crashed in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, June 30, 2015

The fact that the plane turned rightward after takeoff suggests an engine failure

(MEDAN, Indonesia) — Indonesia’s air force chief said Thursday the military transport plane that crashed into a residential neighborhood of Medan killing 141 people had a propeller “abnormality” that indicates an engine stalled.

Air Marshal Agus Supriatna told reporters the fact that the plane turned rightward after takeoff and was flying at a lower than normal speed also suggests an engine failure.

Before crashing shortly after takeoff on Tuesday, the C-130 Hercules hit a 35-meter (115-foot) radio antenna, he said. “By hitting the antenna, I imagine it certainly affected the plane,” Supriatna said.

The search for bodies ended Wednesday. The plane was carrying 122 people and the impact also killed people on the ground.

Air force spokesman Dwi Badarmanto said it has grounded other B-type Hercules planes pending the investigation’s outcome. He didn’t say how many planes that involved.

The C-130 was carrying many more passengers than the military first reported. Initially, the air force said there were 12 crew members on the 51-year-old plane and did not mention passengers. It then repeatedly raised the number of people on board, indicating confusion about how many people had boarded and alighted during a journey covering several cities.

TIME indonesia

The Death Toll in the Indonesian Plane Crash Has Risen to 141

Security forces and rescue teams examine the wreckage of an Indonesian military C-130 Hercules transport plane after it crashed into a residential area in the North Sumatra city of Medan, Indonesia
Roni Bintang—Reuters Security forces and rescue teams examine the wreckage of an Indonesian military C-130 Hercules plane after it crashed into a residential area in the North Sumatra city of Medan, Indonesia, on June 30, 2015

Recovery teams continue to search through the rubble for bodies

Officials said early Wednesday that the death toll from Tuesday’s military plane crash on the Indonesian island of Sumatra had risen.

“We have received 141 bodies,” a police official named Agustinus Tarigan told Agence France-Presse at a local hospital.

The Indonesian air force, whose C-130 Hercules aircraft crashed in the highly populous city of Medan on Tuesday before exploding, revised the number of people on the plane to 122, 12 of whom were crew members. Authorities had earlier said there were only 113 people on board, and that they do not expect to find any survivors.

The plane hit a massage parlor and a hotel in one of the city’s residential areas, and recovery teams continue to clear debris in search of more bodies. Officials have thus far confirmed only three deaths on the ground.

The Aviation Safety Network, an agency that tracks air disasters worldwide, says this has been the sixth fatal crash involving Indonesia’s air force within the past decade.


TIME indonesia

Indonesian Military Transport Plane Crash Kills Dozens

Indonesia Military Plane Crash
Gilbert Manullang—AP Firefighters and military personnel inspect the site where an Air Force cargo plane crashed in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, June 30, 2015.

The crash occurred just minutes after the plane took off from a Medan airport

(MEDAN, Indonesia)—An Indonesian air force spokesman says the death toll in a military plane crash has risen to 74.

Air force officials say there may have been more than 100 people on the C-130 Hercules plane that crashed Tuesday in a residential area of Medan city in Sumatra.

They do not expect any survivors.


The plane’s manifest showed it was carrying 50 people, according to North Sumatra police chief Eko Hadi Sutedjo, but the actual number might be higher. Air force chief Air Marshall Agus Supriatna said there were 12 crew and more than 100 passengers on the plane before it reached Medan on Sumatra, one of Indonesia’s main islands. It had traveled from the capital, Jakarta, and stopped at two locations before arriving at Medan.

Many passengers were families of military personnel. Hitching rides on military planes to reach remote destinations is common in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago that spans three time zones.

Indonesia has a patchy aviation safety record. Between 2007 and 2009, the European Union barred Indonesian airlines from flying to Europe because of safety concerns. The country’s most recent civilian airline disaster was in December, when an AirAsia jet with 162 people on board crashed into the Java Sea en route from Surabaya to Singapore. There have been five fatal crashes involving air force planes since 2008, according to the Aviation Safety Network, which tracks aviation disasters.

The crash of the transport plane, which had been in service since 1964, occurred just two minutes after it took off from Soewondo air force base.

Supriatna, the air force chief, said the pilot told the control tower that the plane needed to turn back because of engine trouble.

“The plane crashed while it was turning right to return to the airport,” he said.

Medan resident Fahmi Sembiring said he saw the gray Hercules flying very low as he was driving.

“Flames and black smoke were coming from the plane in the air,” he said.

Sembiring said he stopped not far from the crash site and saw several people rescued by police, security guards and bystanders.

Another man, Janson Halomoan Sinagam, said several of his relatives were on the plane when it left Medan headed for the remote Natuna island chain.

“We just want to know their fate,” he told MetroTV, weeping. “But we have not yet received any information from the hospital.”

The C-130 accident is the second time in 10 years that an airplane has crashed into a Medan neighborhood. In September 2005, a Mandala Airlines Boeing 737 crashed into a crowded residential community shortly after takeoff from Medan’s Polonia airport, killing 143 people including 30 on the ground.

Medan, with about 3.4 million people, is the third most populous city in Indonesia after Jakarta and Surabaya.

TIME World

These 8 World Leaders Are Taking Major Steps Towards Gender Equality

From closing the pay gap to implementing board quotas to requiring all soldiers to take violence prevention courses, here's how 8 world leaders are embracing HeforShe

UN Women’s “He for She” initiative is in full swing, and on Thursday nine world leaders announced major steps they are taking to bring their countries to full gender equality. Each has pledged to champion HeForShe in their individual nations, and has outlined specific actions they’ll take towards ensuring equal opportunities for women.

The announcements are part of UN Women’s IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative, where 10 heads of state, 10 CEOs, and 10 university presidents commit to taking tangible steps to achieve gender equality, as part of the HeForShe movement that actress Emma Watson announced at the UN last year.

Here are some of the main commitments from 8 heads of state from around the world– the final two leaders will be announced at a later date.

Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland, has vowed to decrease violence against women by 5% over the next five years, partly by requiring all soldiers in the Finnish Defense Forces to learn about aggression control and violence prevention. Since Finland has universal male conscription, that means that almost all young men in Finland will be required to complete an education program on violence against women.

Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, Prime Minister of Iceland, has committed to eliminating the gender pay gap in Iceland by 2022: currently, women are paid 6-18% less than men. The government will achieve this by conducting major audits of all companies in Iceland, to ensure that women are being paid fairly. Gunnlaugsson’s administration will also sponsor major reports on the status of women in media in Iceland, in order to achieve parity by 2020, and has pledged to make 1 in 5 Icelandic men commit to supporting HeforShe principals by 2016.

Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia, is pushing a to make the Indonesian parliament 30% female (up from 17%.) The government plans to promote more women to senior leadership positions, mandate gender training for all government institutions, and study trends in female voting and women who run for political office. Widodo also pledges to extend national health insurance coverage to reproductive and maternal health care, and improve sexual health services around the country. He also wants to fight violence against women, by launching a nationwide survey in 2016 that could help the government make targeted interventions to help the 3-4 million Indonesian women who face violence ever year. And, providing women migrant workers with financial literacy training is just one way they help give them more independence.

Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, is unrolling major reforms to support more women in the workforce. Abe is proposing a bill that would require all public sector institutions and companies with more than 301 employees to demonstrate concrete action plans to increase the representation of women. He’s also increasing nursery school capacity, and enhancing family leave policies. Japan is also leveraging $3 billion in international aid to enhance peace and security and ending sexual violence abroad.

Arthur Peter Mutharika, President of Malawi, is committing to fully ending child marriage in Malawi. Currently, about half of girls in Malawi are married before they turn 18– the government just passed a new law to address this problem, and Mutharika commits to fully implementing this law by creating new local marriage courts and improving marriage registration. Malawi is also making major steps towards economic empowerment of women, by requiring all commercial banks to develop lending options just for women by 2016, in order to increase the number of women accessing credit by 30%.

Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania, is launching a new nationwide analysis of violence against women, to make sure agencies and public institutions have the data they need to inform policy that could protect victims. Based on the data they find, Iohannis plans to create emergency shelters in every region of the country. Romania is also creating two entirely new professions — Expert in Gender Equality and Gender Equality Technician — to implement gender equality strategies, and 70% of Romanian public institutions are required to employ one by 2020.

Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, is pledging to make sure women have equal access to technology and increase girls’ enrollment in tech fields. Currently, women represent only 20% of employees in the tech sector, and only 35% of women own mobile phones (compared to almost half of men.) Kagame also wants to get more girls enrolled in technical and vocational training programs by launching a national mentorship and career guidance program to encourage girls to take science and technology courses, aiming at 50% of eligible girls enrolled by 2020. Currently, only about 18% of eligible girls are enrolled. Rwanda is also rolling out an initiative to end gender-based violence, by building One Stop Centers all over the country to provide medical, legal, and psychological support to victims, part of what they call a “zero tolerance policy” towards sexual violence.

Stefan Löfvén, Prime Minister of Sweden, says Sweden already has a feminist government, but that more men need to stand up for gender equality. He promises to get more women into the workforce (64% of Swedish women are employed full time, compared to 69% of Swedish men) and close the wage gap– currently, Swedish women make only 87 cents for every dollar a man makes. Sweden has achieved a remarkable level of gender equality in government, but women are still under-represented in business and academia. The government has set a target that boards of top Swedish companies must be 40% female by 2017– if that goal isn’t met, the government will start implementing a quota.

Read more: Twitter, Vodafone and Georgetown University All Commit to Gender Equality

TIME indonesia

This Indonesian Volcano Could Be About to Blow

Authorities fear a major eruption at Mount Sinabung

Hundreds of villagers living near Mount Sinabung, one of Indonesia’s 130 active volcanoes, have been forced to evacuate as authorities fear a major eruption.

Dormant for more than 400 years, the volcano woke up on August 29, 2010, and has since erupted on six occasions. The latest activity has vulcanologists worried, the Associated Press reports, prompting authorities to raise the alert status to its highest level.

Government vulcanologist Gede Suantika told AP that at least 28 hot ash avalanches occurred Monday, with indications that the crater’s lava dome continues to grow in size. On June 2, it was estimated to measure estimated 3 million cubic meters (106 million cubic feet).


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