Thu, 10 Mar 2005

Govt to seek $100m from Newmont

JAKARTA: The government plans to file a civil suit demanding that mining firm PT Newmont Minahasa Raya pay US$100 million in damages for allegedly polluting Buyat Bay in North Sulawesi.

State Minister of the Environment Rachmat Witoelar said on Wednesday the amount had been calculated based on the environmental damage allegedly caused by the firm.

"The calculation includes the cost of rehabilitating the coastline, for example," he said after meeting with Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

The firm is also facing criminal charges over the alleged pollution, but no date has been set for the start of the trial.

Separately, Newmont said that it had not received any official notification or summons from the court regarding the lawsuit. -- JP

;JP;TON; ANPAa..r.. Scene-House-salary Speaker supports pay hike proposal JP/4/scenes

Speaker supports pay hike proposal

JAKARTA: House of Representatives Speaker Agung Laksono defended on Wednesday the proposal to increase the salaries of House members by some Rp 15 million (US$1,612) each, saying the current salary was insufficient to cover their operational expenses.

He said legislators often had to spend their current salary of Rp 16 million each on operational items connected with their job as the people's representatives, including visits to their constituents.

Agung suggested that the government allocate a huge portion of government funds for law enforcement to increase the lawmakers' salaries. -- JP

;JP;EVA; ANPAa..r.. Scene-logging-Papua Police arrest forestry officials JP/4/scene

Police arrest forestry officials

JAKARTA: The National Police have arrested two officials from the West Irian and Papua forestry agencies for their alleged involvement in illegal logging operations.

The two officials, identified only as MLR and MK, were caught during a joint anti-illegal logging operation, code-named Hutan Lestari, which started last Saturday. The two had allegedly issued fake local government permits to logging companies.

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Aryanto Boedihardjo said on Wednesday that the two officials had not been declared suspects yet but were under police investigation.

The police also confiscated 23,169 logs, four barges, one tugboat and 179 units of heavy machinery. Previously, the police arrested four financiers of illegal logging operations in Kalimantan and Papua. -- JP.