Wed, 09 Mar 2005

PPP members protest in front of HQ

JAKARTA: Some 100 members and supporters of the Untied Development Party (PPP) protested outside the party's headquarters in Jakarta, carrying a coffin to symbolize the death of democracy in the party.

"Democracy dies in PPP," said Azwar Abbas, a member of the party's Jakarta chapter and the leader of the rally on Tuesday.

The protest was staged in response to a decision by the party's national board to suspend five board members who took part in a gathering last month without the consent of PPP leader Hamzah Haz.

The five are deputy PPP chairman Andi Ghalib, Suryadharma Ali, Zarkasih Nur, Lukman Hakim Saefudin and Emron Pangkapi. They have said they will bring their case to the courts. -- Antara

;JP;ANTARA; ANPAa..r.. Scene-waris-prosecution JP/4/SCENE4

Prosecutors want five years for Waris Halid

JAKARTA: Prosecutors asked on Tuesday that Abdul Waris Halid, a top figure at the state-controlled cooperatives agency (Inkud), be jailed for five years for importing some 56,000 tons of sugar with forged document last year.

Prosecutor Susanto told the North Jakarta District Court that the defendant violated Law No. 10/1995 on excise taxes, which carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment. He said the defendant's actions caused financial losses to the state.

Waris Halid, in his capacity as a director of Inkud, allegedly used forged documents to import sugar when local sugarcane farmers were just beginning their harvest.

The defendant, whose brother Nurdin Halid is being prosecuted on similar charges, has been detained since June last year. -- Antara

;JP;ANTARA; ANPAa..r.. Scene-glasses-free JP/4/SCENE4 Tsunami survivors get free glasses

JAKARTA: Hundreds of tsunami survivors in Aceh line up each day to receive free eyeglasses from members of the U.S. naval ship, USNS Mercy.

The patients are examined and given their glasses at Zainoel Abidin Hospital in Banda Aceh.

Patients came from as far away as Sigli, some 112 kilometers from Banda Aceh, on Tuesday. They began lining up early in the morning. One woman said she had been waiting for three days to get a pair of glasses.

A staffer at USNS Mercy, Rob Dobbins, said they were handing out about 180 pairs of free eyeglasses every day.

The U.S. naval craft began its humanitarian relief work in the area on Jan. 26. -- Antara